Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pergolesi - San Guglielmo - 2011

Li prodigi della divina grazia nella conversione e morte di San Guglielmo, Duca d'Aquitania is the earliest opera by Pergolesi. He was just twenty-one when he composed it in 1731 and, in my opinion, it is his masterpiece. The music is beautiful (three pieces were later recycled in L'olimpiade) and combines opera seria and opera buffa, in order to match the extraordinary libretto by Ignazio Maria Mancini—a unique blend of subtle Catholic theology and popular entertainment—with violence and tenderness, comedy and tragedy mixed in a truly Neapolitan way. The heretic Guglielmo and his comic counterpart Capitan Cuòsemo progress from hubris into the abyss of repentance, while the Angel and the Devil disguise themselves in every possible way and fight "like cat and dog" (as Cuòsemo says) for their souls.
When we decided to stage it, we were not surprised to discover that there is no modern edition of this score. Such is the dedication of Italians to preserving their cultural heritage! 
In order to recreate in some way the conditions of the first performance in the Chiostro di Sant'Agnello in Naples, we chose to perform the opera in the courtyard of the San Rocco Monastery in Carpi.
The wonderful modern-baroque costumes were designed and made by Evelyna Schubert and Heike Neubauer-Antoci of Metta-Nest (Dresden). 

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi - Li prodigi della divina grazia nella conversione e morte di San Guglielmo, Duca d'Aquitania 
(Carpi, Cortile di San Rocco, 14 July 2011)

Brigitte Canins (San Guglielmo), Anna Rita Pili (San Bernardo), Vittoria Giacobazzi (Angelo), Lorenzo Malagola (Demonio), Erica Rompianesi (Arsenio), Paolo V. Montanari (Capitan Cuòsemo), Anne Juds, Alessia Franchini (dancers), Accademia degli Impossibili, Mario Sollazzo (harpsichord & conductor), Anne Juds (choreographer), Metta-Nest (costumes), Fabio Antoci (light designer).

Full photo album

The Angel (disguised as a shepherd) is tormenting the Devil (disguised as a hermit) with a voodoo doll

The Angel is tormenting the Devil again

The death of the Angel leads Guglielmo to repent

The Angel (disguised as valet Albinio), Guglielmo and the Devil (disguised as a nobleman)

Capitan Cuòsemo

San Bernardo

The Angel and the Devil

The torture and death of the Angel

The Devil tempts Cuosemo to commit suicide

The Devil appears to Guglielmo disguised as his father's ghost 

Guglielmo, who has blinded himself, is torn between hope and despair
The Angel restores the sight to Guglielmo

The Devil tempts Cuosemo (now a friar) to go back to his former life

The death of Guglielmo

Canonization of San Guglielmo

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