Operetta in Black
a music dramedy

text | music | video | direction
Andrea Liberovici

with
Helga Davis
Federico Vanni
Vito Saccinto

voice of narrator
Robert Wilson

recorded cello improvisations.
Jeffrey Zeigler

set designer Lucia Goj
light designer Sandro Sussi

production by Teatro Stabile di Genova 2011

“I am part of that force that always wills evil and always produces good” (Mephistopheles in Goethe’s Faust).

Is this synthesis of two opposites truly possible? As Liberovici observes, Operetta in Black is also an attempt to answer this question.
Two characters in an exploded world unwittingly find themselves seeking shelter on a ramshackle old stage in ruins. Opposites are thus forced to coexist: the elderly Minister of Communication and War, and a young boy inured to a technology that has separated him from himself, in a constant flow of the present. He is a boy without historical consciousness. In the main place of confrontation, the stage, they engage in a battle that is unexpected for two characters like them, a dialectical battle. It is a war of words, memories and differences, giving rise to fast-paced tragic and grotesque dialogues. A spectral character lives on this stage, the singer Helga Davis — called Shadow — who is the memory and “chorus” of their lives and of vanished modernity. Shadow sings eight songs on eight different subjects (such as love, sex and war) inspired by the eight letters forming the word Mephisto.
The Narrator — Robert Wilson’s voice emerging from the darkness — allows words to fall into the void like drops of water that continue to trickle onto the stage, generating themes and reasons for the characters to engage with each other. The Narrator is the voice and echo of that space of knowledge represented by the stage, and the empty words of the characters populating it now (the words of propaganda and the compulsive ones of so-called “communication”) finally rediscover their meaning on this dramaturgical path.
In the final scene, the two characters arrive at a common recognition of their own humanity, something that unexpectedly goes beyond all differences to unite them.

ANDREA LIBEROVICI
He studied composition, violin and viola at the Venice and Turin conservatories, acting at Teatro Stabile in Genoa and singing with Cathy Berberian.
In 1996, thanks to his crucial encounter with the great Italian poet Edoardo Sanguineti (librettist of Luciano Berio), he established the Teatro del Suono. Through his research into sound, he thus developed an original viewpoint that is unique on the theatrical and music scene. Because of his exceptionality and research, critics have described Liberovici as a global composer, a definition that is unquestionably challenging but that fully summarizes his work. He starts from the assumption that everything in “motion” (cinema, words, gestures, and so on) is based on the principles of music: rhythm, timbre, melody, harmony. Indeed, Liberovici is the author of the sounds, music, images and texts for his projects, and also directs them, thus giving his multimedia works the theatrical/stylistic uniformity that similar projects involving several people tend to lack.
Over the last decade Liberovici created more than 35 projects which explore the relationship between music, poetry, theatre and technology in collaboration with such renowned artists as Claudia Cardinale, Peter Greenaway, Edoardo Sanguineti, Judith Malina, Vittorio Gassman, Ivry Gitlis, Regina Carter. Most recently, his music has been performed by Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Montreal), Toscanini Orchestra, Teatro Carlo Felice Orchestra and others. This works have also been presented and produced by the landmark cultural institutions such as Teatro di Roma, Apollo Theater in New York, La Fenice in Venice and Salle Olivier Messiaen in Paris. He has also worked in residence at INA-GRM and France Culture in Paris, Steim Center for research and development in Amsterdam, GMEM National Centre of Musical Creation in Marseille.

liberovici.it | teatrodelsuono.it | info@liberovici.it | info@teatrodelsuono.it |

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