Saturady June 24 – 8.30pm at Ponchielli Theatre Cremona
For me, the essential inspiration for this production was the vibrant music of Monteverdi, and the extraordinary ability that he and his contemporaries had to convey the vivid tapestry of human emotions through their music.
By selecting a pasticcio of 12 arias and ritornelli, I have endeavoured to use Monteverdi’s musical world to narrate the abstract life journey of a symbolic or representative man, with each musical interlude representing a different emotion (Playfulness, Joy, Lust, Love, Courage, Disillusiom, Addiction, Fear, Anger, Despair, Sadness and Isolation). The physicality of those emotions is explored through both vocal expression and movement.
Within the abstract narration, each emotion relates to a specific moment in the man’s life journey. As the set suggests, there is a closed loop – or circle of life – so the end is connected to the beginning, but the emotions are not portrayed chronologically. The arias selected are unrelated and have been positioned within the framework of the production in a manner that removes that aspect of time which so often dominates human experience – simple narrative causality. This is designed to challenge our perception of the impact of emotions on our psyche – our understanding of the relationship between emotion and experience.
The number 12 was chosen because of its significance in life and history, most especially in the measurement of time; 12 as a dimension of space and time; 12 hours; 12 months; 12 stations of the moon and the sun; 12 zodiac signs; 12 chromatic notes; 12 apostles; 12 Olympians. This number contributes to the sense of universality – it connects our past to our future and connects us across cultures.
Through Kieran White’s insightful musicality and dramatic ability, we hope to create a unique bridge between Monteverdi’s powerfully beautiful music and our audience.
Marcio da Silva – Music and Stage Director
The action for this piece takes place in a luminous circle – like a clock that marks time. Here, however, there is no direction of time: rather, the circle represents divine strength and its link with the sky. Our character, like Leonardo’s Vitruvian man, is inside his own universe, inside the womb of mother earth. This represents the insignificance and fragility of his own existence.
The essence of our character’s existence is portrayed through the music of Monteverdi, Cavalli and Carissimi, which creates a unique and interchangeable musical world. In their music, one experiences great flexibility, energy, and balance. The purity of their music represents true human feelings, facilitating a strong connection between performer and audience.
The costume design, created in shades of black, fosters an awareness of an inverse timeline, encouraging us to explore and deconstruct the full impact of life experiences. Sometimes it takes us back to the seventeenth century, sometimes refers us to a contemporary world close to us and more recognizable almost like a punk rock star. Whereas in life layers of emotional detritus are insidiously added, here the representative man begins his journey symbolically fully clothed, with regrets and memories, and, as he explores emotions through the music, he sheds accumulated elements. He ends naked – all the emotions have been laid bare. The addition of the bright red cloth serves as a versatile element, representing variously blood, love, fear, heat, and protection.
Francesco Vitali – Set, lights and costume designer