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Music and the Senses of the Soul
A lyrical Monologue with Kieran White
World Premier Saturday 24th June 2023 - Monteverdi Festival 2023, Teatro Ponchielli, Cremona, Italy
Kieran White: Haute-Contre
Marcio da Silva: stage and music direction
Francesco Vitali: set, costumes, lights
Alec Boreham: set collaboration - assistant
GIARDINO2 ARTLAB MILANO
video-projection and cameras
Edmund Taylor: violin
Kirsty Main: violin
Ana Torbica: viola, viola da braccio
Christopher McClain: viola
Nathan Giorgietti: gamba
Pablo Tejedor-Gutiérrez: cello
Paul Jenkins: recorder
Céline Pasche: recorder / harp
Cédric Meyer: archlute
Stephanie Gurga: harpsichord / organ
Marcio da Silva: harpsichord / baroque guitar, percussion
Created and developed by
Marcio da Silva
A new co-production by teatro Ponchielli Foundation and Ensemble OrQuesta
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, Disillusion, 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 is 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 emotions 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 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 linked with the sky. A 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 the 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 17th 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 us insidiously added, here the representative man begins his journey symbolically fully clothed, with regrets and memories, and, as he explores emotions with 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.
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