La Mama ETC & Istituto Italiano di Cultura di New York
~ I FIORETTI IN MUSICA ~ OPERA IN DANZA ~
I Fioretti in Musica is an original Opera in Danza based on the 14th century book of poems in vulgar Italian I Fioretti (Little Flowers- The miracles of Saint Francis of Assisi) with libretto and visual concept that explore the importance of St. Francis’ teachings, such as peace & tolerance, in contemporary society.
I Fioretti in Musica - libretto, concept & direction by Gian Marco Lo Forte - has an original score by composer Sasha Zamler Cahart - that contrasts polyphonic composition called mottetti (polyphonic voice compositions) with layers of electro-acoustic live voice processing composed by avant-garde composer Ryan Carter. It runs 75 minutes, sung in Italian with English subtitles, and includes 5 singers, a sound designer who mixes different inputs live, and a chorus of 12 dancers/actors who in 4 scenes recreate rituals enacted in the towns of Umbria, Central Italy inspired by St. Francis.
Presented by La Compagnia Teatrale I Pionieri dell’Est, Italian Company in residence at La Mama ETC since 2005 and inspired by Commedia Harmonica Italiana - a typical Italian stage form of the late 15th Century where the singers perform in concerto and the dancers are the visual interpreters of the music throughout the stage - I FIORETTI IN MUSICA creates a distinctive and genuine theatrical vernacular inspired by medieval folk and religious festivals such as Le Infiorate in Spelloand La Corsa dei Ceri di Gubbio, spectacles of Ancient origin which can be still experienced in Umbria, Italy, today.
The contemporary setting will include projections of drawings & paintings by visual artist Mark Tambella and utilize everyday materials such as plastic, glass, and newspaper to create 2D and 3D sculptural elements. The setting brings the audience in close proximity to the performers’ action, generating an intimate opera experience.
The visual world is created in collaboration with Angela Wendt & Gabriel Berry (costume Design), Cathy Shaw & Abby Felder (puppet & mask design), Jiji Francesca Chang (lighting design), choreographer Philip Montana and George Drance (assistant director).
I Fioretti in Musica is a selection of four chapters from I Fioretti and each scene is an important event in the life of Assisi: assuming a life of simplicity, preaching to the birds, welcoming thieves to the monastery, taming the wolf. These chapters of I Fioretti are an exquisite expression of the religious life of the Middle Ages. That perhaps which gives these legends such a peculiar charm, is what may be called their atmosphere; they breathe all the delicious fragrance of the early Franciscan spirit. Nowhere can there be found a more childlike faith, a livelier sense of the supernatural, or a simpler literalness in the following Christ than in these pages of I Fioretti, which more than any other work transport us to the scenes amid which St. Francis and his first followers live, and enable us to see them as they saw themselves. These four legends bear precious witness to the vitality and enthusiasm with which the memory of the life and teaching of the Poverello was preserved.