Music Theatre | 2010

Lezioni di tenebra

new production: 30.1.2014
other performances: 31.1-2.2-7.2-9.2
27.6- 29.6.2014
Festival Infektion, Staatsoper, Berlin
"Toccar con gl’occhi e rimirar col tatto" (feeling with one's eyes and seeing by touch) is a line from one of the most celebrated arias of the original opera: it tells of the passionate desires of Jason, who is in love with Medea without ever having seen her, since their only encounter took place in the dark.
The voluntary blindness of the couple and the progressive darkness of their destiny form the subject of the remake.
The work is conceived as an analytical adaptation of Francesco Cavalli’s Giasone, intentionally emphasising the dramatic tensions and complexity of the plot created by Giacinto Andrea Cicognini, quoting fragments from Cavalli’s score, elaborating the continuo and introducing new musical parts, making connections and dramaturgical links between the original and the adaptation, and stressing the sightlessness of the basic situation.
The principal characters of the opera are identified by Cavalli with the help of distinctive vocal styles, a different timing of communication and emotional expression, and a different organisation of harmonic sequences. The result is a very rich theatre of timbre patterns, a ferment of various and distinct compositional ideas, where the organisation of sounds clarifies the dramatic action and the plot.
For each character Cavalli constructed such a well-defined and unique musical sculpture, so vivid and unmistakable, that the character is always identifiable, despite the fact that the same voice interprets several roles, and even when the complexity of the labyrinthine plot gives rise to doubts and potential mistakes.
All the main characters will be interpreted by the two singers, with the countertenor impersonating the delicate and fragile figures and the soprano representing the more agitated and violent characters.
The reduction of the entire cast to two vocal timbres, in the darkness and resultant blindness of the scenic situation, heightens the dramatic play of non-communication, misunderstanding and doubtful enquiry conveyed by the different voices: an entire galaxy of events absorbed and concentrated within the tension of a chamber duo.
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Riduzione dal Giasone di Francesco Cavalli
for female voice, male voice, vocal quartet and instrumental ensemble (2010)
S.M.T.B.; violin, viola, cello, contrabass, 2 percussion and piano
Text based on Giacinto Andrea Cicognini

Commission: Konzerthaus Berlin
Co-production: Konzerthaus Berlin/Festival Contemporanea Roma/
KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen Hannover/Salzburg Biennale 2010

Staatsoper unter den Linden, Berlin, 2014

First performance: Konzerthaus Berlin, 25 February 2011
Katia Guedes (soprano), Daniel Gloger (countertenor)
Vocalconsort Berlin, PMCE Ensemble
Tonino Battista (conductor)
Arno Lücker (dramaturgy), Mirella Weingarten (set)
Sabine Hilscher (costumes), Matthias Rebstock (director)

Publisher: Edizioni musicali Rai Trade
Duration: ca. 1 h 15 m
Recording: CD Parco della Musica Records (2011)