music Henry Purcell
text John Dryden
directed by Daniela Nicolò and Enrico Casagrande / Motus
dramaturgy and translations Luca Scarlini
project consulting Alessandro Taverna
Glen Çaçi ( King Arthur )
Silvia Calderoni ( Emmeline )
Enrico Casagrande, Damiano Bagli, Ian and Era Çaçi
soprano Laura Catrani
soprano Yuliya Poleshchuk
counter tenor Carlo Vistoli
ensemble Sezione Aurea
musical direction and violin Luca Giardini
violin Ayako Matsunaga
oboe Michele Antonello
oboe Aviad Gershoni
viola Teresa Ceccato
viola da gamba Rosita Ippolito
violone Riccardo Coelati
theorbo Giangiacomo Pinardi
harpsichord Filippo Pantieri
set design Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolò
in collaboration with Damiano Bagli and Silvia Calderoni
lighting design Alessio Spirli and Marie-Sol Kym
sound design Fabio Vignaroli
video shooting and editing END&DNA
cameramen in live Andrea Gallo
clothes Antonio Marras
in video by RRUNA
assistant directors Silvia Albanese, Ilenia Caleo
musical ensemble organization Elena Bernardi
organization Valentina Zangari
production Elisa Bartolucci in collaboration with Cronopios
communication Silvia Albanese, Sandra Angelini
foreign distribution Lisa Gilardino
new production Motus, Sagra Musicale Malatestiana 2014
in collaboration with Romaeuropa Festival, Amat/Comune di Pesaro
thanks to Rossini Opera Festival for the friendly collaboration
Opening: Sagra Musicale Malatestiana, Rimini – 16th and 17th September 2014
Re-staging: Argentina Theatre, Romaeuropa Festival, Rome – 18th and 19th October 2014
King Arthur is an absolutely original meeting between music and words.
Sounds are the tools of a metamorphosis that reveals an ambiguous potential: singing belongs to supernatural presences, spirits or mythological figures that have no right to spoken words, whereas the characters of the drama haven’t any musical capacity. From such a dialectic – rare in this form in the history of Western theatre – derive the hybrid character of the work, called “semi-opera”, and its fascinating and unique anomaly.
The ambivalence and tension between lyrics and singing, between earthly struggles and supernatural forces, was a natural attraction for us. The same goes for the infinite possibilities of refraction – and modernization – that this dramatic opera brings straight into the definition of a magical territory that lives together with the scene of politics.
The characters of this text, written in 1684 by poet John Dryden, a master of analytic remakings, comment their own actions in a very modern manner and push themselves in lethal reflections on theatre and its making, on the relationship between critics and audience. In 1690, after the change of the political regime in which the work had been commissioned and the decline of the playwright in the new court, Dryden asked Purcell to write the music for it. King Arthur first went on stage in 1691 at the Dorset Garden Theatre in London and reached a hundred runs in a few seasons.
Arthur for the Bretons and Oswald for the Saxons, (in a version quite different from the Disney one that remains the reference in the collective imaginary, or as told in the epic work of art by Thomas Malory, and brought to big screen with Excalibur by John Boorman) are reflected in Merlin and Osmond,and again in their magical servants Philidel and Grimbald, perfect equivalents of Ariel and Caliban of The Tempest, in a vertigo of doubles… The plot works a little like what historians call as the magic history of the Second World War, when Churchill and Hitler had their respective wizards that sent warrior spells over the waves. Still today, fortune-tellers, wizards and enchanters stay in the service of governments, that pretend to the world an excess of rationality, only to hide deeper and darker fluxes of divination.
Power, love and hate: everything in King Arthur is deeply compromised by a universe of illusory images and mirages, of burning glasses and optical illusion mirrors...
We will insist precisely on the transient and the evanescent aspects of forms. Like in Boccaccio's Decameron, the development of the passion between Arthur, often victim of doubts and quite disgusted by his profession as violent conqueror, and Emmeline, enchantment of wonder in a sensorial world that cannot be reduced to the everyday experience, has in the background the deafening noise of conflict.
We choose a feminine point of view, fought over Princess Emmeline's, who, as blind as love in ancient mythology, is a fragile, silent and meaningful presence, hostage to mean...