Posts Tagged ‘Sonia Arienta column’

Historic and terrestrial coordinates III, by Sonia Arienta

In regard to the sets placed abroad, Great Britain, land of political and religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, is an important landmark in the operas of Thirties and Forties of the XIX century. When Mazzini’s and Gioberti’s writings promise improbable perspectives of national freedom achieved by pope or by god faith. Spain identified with the country of religious fanaticism, was employed in a continuos line from Donizetti’s Dom Sébastien roy du Portugal to Verdi’s Don Carlos, Franchetti’s Cristoforo Colombo until Dallapiccola’s Il Prigioniero, by that time, late in XX century.
XVIII century curiosity towards Middle-Eastern culture is recognisable in Rossini’s operas both composed before Congress of Wien (l’Italiana in Algeri il Turco in Italia, Ciro in Babilonia, Aureliano in Palmira) and after it (Armida, Moise, Semiramide, Ricciardo e Zoraide). Surely his interest and curiosity stop with Greece war (1821), with the death of Anna Erisso in Maometto II (1820, then Siège de Corinthe – 1826).
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Historic and terrestrial coordinates II, by Sonia Arienta

In XIX century first years, the italian peninsula counted up five important cities: Milan, Naples, Venice, Bologna, Florence and an urban texture made with more little ones. Tuscany, Lombardy, Venetian region, and Piedmont had a system of trading towns and administrative centres serving the surrounding lands. Close relations between country and urban areas originate the first industrial wave in Piedmont and Lombardy subalpine strips. In these zones, connective tissue between two realities, the urban and the rural one, is very thick. It is not contemplate a rigid distinction, but relations of mutual exchange.

In XIX century italian opera repertoire, urban locations attract the preferences among musicians and librettists, last trace of Enlightenment culture. In fact, cities are the place where had formed and grown bourgeoisie; whereas country is connected with Ancien Régime context…

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Historic and terrestrial coordinates, by Sonia Arienta

In an opera libretto space-time coordinates appear among the first indications, near by the names of the characters, and typify the plot, its historic and geographic locations. “Where” and “when” in the opera are the outcomes of an aware choice made by composer and librettist. Beyond of and notwithstanding the constraints of censor (in the age where it is active in an explicit way), the second (and third) hand origin of librettos, extracted from dramas and novels, and the antinaturalistic essence of a gender which uses stylisation as guarantee of a manner to create a “distance” effect in the audience.

In XIX century italian melodrama, the action set in our country are in a more little number compared with the one set abroad. A consequence of interest towards european literature products, at the origin of the plot, but, also the result of the cultural curiosity, of the desire in exploring what is “different”….

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Filters and Catalysers, by Sonia Arienta

An opera-house, from the foyer to the stalls and the stage is a close texture of relations catalyser; a labyrintic play of mirrors between reality and fiction, between singers and audience, between audience and characters, characters and space, orchestra and voices, music and gestual expressiveness.

The connection between space and sound embraces different fields: acoustic and architecture, theory of perception and psychology of spaces, musical and visual interpretation (with direction, set, dress and light design). The world of the performance is something more than an inoffensive microcosm where are moving characters: thanks to the authors mediation it reflects their expectations and their lecture of the world, the organisation of real macrocosm inhabited by individuals…

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The crown jewels, by Sonia Arienta

The plot of Rigoletto and La Traviata no longer belongs to the knowledge of italian citizen majority. But the fault is not so much imputable to an audience of little curiosity and culture, annihilated and passive by the bidimensionality of tv, computers, screens, deceiving the ears with stereophonic tridimensionalities and dazing the eyes with a carnival of images too much often devoid of contents.

The core of the problem stays, rather, in the collusions between media sectors, ministries of education and the most trash exigences of entertainment business majors. Then, in substance, it stays in the short-sightedness of cultural politics, managed with ignorance and bad faith, in particular towards music.

Not teaching citizens about the best products of their nation is an irresponsible, foolish and self-injuring act, as to forget and to lay crown jewels to the sticky embrace of dust and cobwebs in a dark side of a cellar. So, they risk to lay unused, until at least somebody gives them a suitable display and diffusion. Fortunately, operas, like diamonds, do not decay even they are forgotten for a long time.

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Similitudes, by Sonia Arienta

Opera has been for a long time contempted and valued a second place gender by a certain old current of musicologists, because of supposed incapacity, or lack of elegance, of taste and skilfulness in orchestration of its composers. Whereas, it was instead the short-sightedness of the academics too much academic, very theoretical and too little practical which neglected and ignored the performance’s needs, which judged librettos nonsensical blotters. As if the last ones should be used and considered like plays self-sufficient, or destined to silent reading like a novel, instead of be esteemed only in order to their unavoidable relation with the music composed for a theatrical performance.
On the other hand, the users exclusively patronising popular music judge opera, or classical music, something of particularly reactionary, old fashioned and boring, persuaded that the encouragement to the novelty and to the rebellion is a prerogative of their favourite gender…
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Characters and audience – II, by Sonia Arienta

In an opera construction, the importance of the choice of the subject, of characters is an unavoidable element in understanding the message and the world vision proposed by the composer to his audience. But in too many examples, it takes second place in the thoughts, either by “simple” spectators, or specialists. Notwithstanding the different reasons. Melodic lines, harmonic and rhythmic structures, orchestration, beyond the considerations of poetics and aesthetic values, are functional to performance a story, a “sung” tale. With effects and consequences that the last one has at emotional and intellectual level for audience. All essential elements to invite spectators to make themselves questions not only about the opera, the poetic and aesthetic preferences of composer, but about his lecture of the world. Especially in order to the contemporary interpretation of repertoire melodramas it is always necessary to consider the coexistence of two levels: the reactions searched and obtained by composer towards audience contemporary to him; the ones shown to the nowadays audience…
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Characters and audience – I

Plot and characters behaviours choices, pointed out by te music of operists endowed of a critical mind, open neverendig cues about the effects towards the contemporary and the past audience, fundamental to understand relations between artistic productions and their utilizations. If listening Ernani, Il Trovatore, or La Forza del Destino, makes impossible to cultivate sloth, or to feel servants, the Il Barbiere di Siviglia happy end is doubly satisfying because the Conte di Almaviva and Rosina engagement is flanked by the old, very mean Dr. Bartolo humiliation, caused by the lost of his ward’s dowry. In Don Pasquale, Norina and Ernesto triumph over the old uncle tortured and derided, but as a matter of fact, they seem to be avoided of generous gestures. Ernesto is a-good-for-nothing, Norina shows herself more as interfering than in loved girl. The punishment of the obese protagonist in Verdi’s Falstaff executed by the merry wives bunch of Windsor provokes a regret and trouble in the spectator, prompted until this moment to see the old Sir with mercy and pity, if not with benevolence.
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Questions, by Sonia Arienta

In the order of cultural politics concerning theatre and, especially the operatic one, it seems interesting to ask ourselves what are the choices taken by the institutions at national and local level. What are the ideas, the concepts, the peculiar leading lines of certain historic age and a certain political contexts. What kind of consequences they involve in a long period perspective. What kind of interferences, impulses, obstacles, supports, difficulties spring out between cultural operators and institutions. What may indicate the negligence and the general indifference shown towards vital sector for the intellectual development of a Country and in the individual ones. In the social relations, in the evolution and in the improvement of every citizen. It should be suitable that everyone thinks about the offers of cultural products available in the area and in the Country where he lives.
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Limenmusic’s columns go on holiday…

Limenmusic’s columns: “Intersections”, by Alfonso Alberti, and “Collateral effects”, by Sonia Arienta, go on holiday until September 1st

Do you want to read all the articles?

INTERSECTIONS
english version
italian version

COLLATERAL EFFECTS
english version
italian version

See you in September with new interesting articles!!!!

Do you want to collaborate with Limenmusic, writing a new column??
Write your proposal at info@limenmusic.com

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