Il Combattimento

5, 6, 7, 9, 10 Mei/Mai/May 20:30

Duur/Durée/Duration: +/- 1:30

Simultaanvertaling/Traduction simultanée/Simultaneous translation: Nl & Fr

During the KunstenFESTIVALdesArts 1998, Romeo Castellucci staged Giulio Cesare, a version of the play that demonstrated the incandescent essence of Shakespeare. Now he is directing his first piece of work for theatre to contain classical music, with talented musical director Roberto Gini. Castellucci has been delving into Monteverdi's madrigals of war and love in the manner of someone foundering in the painful shock of love and death. At its core is Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda in which Tancred the crusader unwittingly runs his sword through Clorinda the Saracen, his great love. At the heart of the drama is this uterine conflict of opposites which unfolds like a sensual ecstasy - an ecstasy that is liquefied by the contemporary music of Scott Gibbons. The acting and images portrayed are theatrical explosions. "Monteverdi is from sufficiently long ago to belong to the future", says Romeo, the director of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio.

Claudio Monteverdi, Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi, libro VIII
Scott Gibbons, Il Combattimento in liquido

Regie, scenografie, kostuums/Mise en scène, scénographie, costumes/Direction, scenography, costumes: Romeo Castellucci
Dramaturgie en dramatisch ritme/Dramaturgie et rythme dramatique/Dramaturgy and dramatic rhythm: Chiara Guidi
Choreografie/Chorégraphie/Choreography: Claudia Castellucci

Muzikale leiding/Direction musicale/Musical direction: Roberto Gini

Zangers/Chanteurs/Singers: Lavinia Bertotti (Soprano), Mario Cecchetti (Tenore), Vincenzo Di Donato (Tenore), Salvo Vitale (Basso)

Acteurs/Actors: Claudio Borghi, Gregory Petitqueux, Silvano Voltolina, Claudia Zannoni

Ensemble Concerto
Massimo Percivaldi (Violino), Stephanie Eros (Violino), Stefano Marcocchi (Viola), Caterina Dell'Agnello (Violoncello), Sabina Colonna Preti (Violone), Maurizio Martelli (Chitarrone), Gabriele Palomba (Tiorba), Marina Bonetti (Arpa doppia), Roberto Gini (Clavicembalo)
Muzikale assistentie/Assistance musicale/Musical Assistance: Promomusic Marcello Corvino

Regieassistent/Assistant à la mise en scène/Assistant to the director: Silvano Voltolina
Plastische kunsten/Art plastique/Plastic art: Istvan Zimmermann, Giovanna Amoroso
Statica en dynamica/Statique et dynamique/Statics and dynamics: Stephan Duve, Flavio Urbinati
Film van gezichten/Film des visages/Filmed faces: Christiano Carloni, Stefano Franceschetti

Technische directeurs/Directeurs techniques/Technical directors: Pierre Houben
Technische directeur productie/Directeur techique production/Technical director production: Riccardo Gargiulo
Raadgever klank/Consultant son/Sound consultancy: Marco Olivieri

Klanktechnieker/Technicien Son/Sound technician: Francesco La Camera
Licht/Eclairage/Lighting: Luciano Trebbi
Machinisten/Machinistes/Stage-hands: Riccardo Maccheroni, Mirko Pacini

Chemische composities/Composés chimiques/Chemical compositions: Flavio Urbinati
Technische assistenten/Assistants techniques/Technical assistants: Giuseppe Amoroso, Alberto Giorgetti, Fabio Sajiz, Sonia Brunelli

Administratie/Administration: Michela Medri, Elisa Bruno
Productieassistent/Assistant de production/Production assistant: Claudio Casavecchia
Organisatie/Organisation: Gilda Biasini, Cosetta Nicolini
Administratie tounee/Administration tournée/Tour manager: Alessandra Vinanti

Medewerkers aan de scengrafie/Collaborateurs à la scénographie/Collaborators to the scenography: Pierluigi Alessandrini, Simonetta Baldini, Cecile Boiteux, Roberta Busato, Tuia Cherici, Rossano De Angelis, Marco Galafassi, Veronique Galland, Sybille Jagfeld, Joanne Milanese, Elena Palermo, Stefania Pierantozzi, Mariarita Spaziani, Georgia Tribuiani

Met dank aan/Remerciements/Acknowledgments:
Franca Farabegoli, Giorgio Gregori, the Health Direction of Bufalini Hospital, Cesena

Productie/Production: Socìetas Rafaello Sanzio (Cesena), KunstenFESTIVALdesArts
Coproductie/Coproduction: Wiener Festwochen, Holland Festival (Amsterdam), La Biennale di Venezia - Settore Teatro, Le-Maillon Théâtre de Strasbourg
Met de steun van/Avec le soutien de/Supported by: Teatro Bonci (Cesena),
In samenwerking met/En collaboration avec/In collaboration with: Bruxelles/Brussel 2000,
Fondazione Teatro La Fenice di Venezia
Presentatie/Présentation/Presentation: Kaaitheater, KunstenFESTIVALdesArts

Klankuitrusting/Equipement sonore/Audio equipement: SONUS snc ROMA

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In 1988 the KunstenFESTIVALdesArts began a cycle of work by Monteverdi, inviting contemporary choreographer Trisha Brown and visual artist William Kentridge to interpret L'Orfeo and Il Ritorno d'Ulisse respectively. In 1998, Italian director Romeo Castellucci and his theatre group Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio performed Giulio Cesare at the Festival, demonstrating Shakespeare's incandescent essence. In 2000, as part of the Monteverdi cycle, Romeo is preparing his first musical work, together with talented musical director Roberto Gini. He has thrown himself into Monteverdi's madrigals of war and love like someone foundering in the painful shock of love and death. This encounter with the world of music is not entirely without precedent - in his theatrical work he has always considered sound to be a river that transports forms.

For Romeo Castellucci, the stage has never been a place where theatrical literature is sacrosanct. Respecting nevertheless what has been written, he terrifies the words into their true essence. For him the text is a body, beneath whose skin an intense life circulates. Castellucci hits the audience's senses head-on, taking them to the other side of the mirror. Here, representation of feeling disappears to make way for a release of emotions, "where words begin to lose their narrative weight and can do nothing faced with the dread of something we cannot understand". He is interested only in theatre's aesthetics, in the etymological sense of the word - the science of what is felt. "Beauty is violent and unstoppable, like a bolt of lightning or being shaken. It has no argument. It is not fair, just true to itself. It is neither edifying, nor conciliating nor positive."

Composing his madrigals in the middle of the Baroque century, Claudio Monteverdi asked himself the question: "The fact that it is necessary to imitate is obvious, but how should it be done, and above all what should be imitated?" The poem awaits interpretation. Music will do the job. The word is the object to imitate: it conceals psychological states, affections of the soul. Music must liberate their quivering. The audience is then subjected to them like lightning. Moving on in his madrigal composition, Monteverdi progressively stopped thinking of the text as his only source. He freed himself from language but not from meaning. Music draws meaning in the air, according to the rhythmic, harmonic and vocal processes for which the composer constructs a new emotional syntax. The dissonances ripple in it, the melodic lines intertwine. The word becomes the trigger from which musical figures flow. In his Eighth Book of Madrigals, Monteverdi turned to the poet Torquato Tasso, author of Gerusalemme liberata, whose naturalness he admired - in it war and love cross swords.

Roberto Gini, a skilful conductor of the Baroque repertoire, is also in search of something. He chose the madrigals with Romeo Castellucci. They have placed Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (Tasso) at the heart of their suite. Before it come Ogni Amante è guerrier (Ottavio Rinuccini) and Gira il nemico (Giulio Strozzi). After it come Lamento della Ninfa (Rinuccini) and Ohimé ch'io cado. The way they are linked will draw out a vocal path, from the strongly sexual male voice (bass in Ogni Amante) to the female voice (soprano) whose disconcerting discovery, initially erotic, becomes spiritual. "Tancred the crusader is unaware that the person dressed as a Saracen warrior he has been fighting and has killed is the women he loves. By the time he realises what he has done, it is too late. In a musical mirror of this, the audience, like Tancred, realise it is a female body by the sensual element of the song. With Clorinda dead, her song no longer has a body. From the beyond, her pure voice takes pity on the theatre of humans. Her Jerusalem is heavenly, her Tancred's sorrow belongs to the world of mortals."

In these madrigals, Romeo wants to put a sparkle into the swords of the two opposing forces: love and war. Roberto Gini on harpsichord and singers and musicians from his Ensemble Concerto will chisel out the musical flashing blades. He acts as a counterpoint to Castellucci to enhance even further the dazzle of Monteverdi. Scott Gibbons, the director's musical partner in Genesi: From The Museum of Sleep, works wonders with the computer, spearheading the creative exploration of electronic music. Following the principle of a chemical experiment, Gibbons' music acts as verification of the madrigals' astounding characteristics. Romeo wants to provide an alternative way of listening to Baroque. In between performances by Roberto Gini, the same madrigals will be ‘liquefied' by Gibbons - the same emotions, the same melodies, but as if heard by a foetus in the womb. "Monteverdi's music talks of life's battles. Confronting the original with its own estrangement in limbo and with no previous cultural memory helps realise the value of these amazing quiverings."

How should this be echoed visually on stage? Unlike opera where there is a great temptation to illustrate, the madrigal with its less rigid structure and more reduced format gives Romeo the freedom to delve into the past. "Monteverdi is from sufficiently long ago to belong to the future!" Plunged into a dynamic of opposites running through the madrigals of war and love, Romeo evokes the pride of war with the other side to it - being wounded. Why does the red cross flying above field hospitals today bear such a close resemblance to the one worn on crusaders' tunics so long ago?

Here the theatre of war is a pharmacy. Is nursing a soldier a cure to human frailty? The battles of life magnified by Monteverdi inhale this pharmacopoeia from the other side of the mirror. The compounds' chemistry mixes up the alchemy of feelings. Castellucci makes a departure from the story of the libretti, entering their tumultuous flow like a biologist revealing their organic movements. Does he view the violent assault of reproductive cells on the egg of life as a crusade? Does he see the single reduction of a cell, suddenly deprived of half its chromosomes, this meiosis, as Tancred's suffering?

It is said that in Monteverdi's day a Dionysian wave crossed creation, thus freeing it from innovative intuition and impetus. Galileo proved that the earth revolved around the sun like any other planet. Man lost the privilege of sitting at the centre of the universe. Monteverdi had already led the music of the Middle Ages towards the Renaissance - now he will be taking it towards the freedoms of the Baroque for good.

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