Compass of AGO Puccini, Ai Weiwei and conductor

I Weiwei operated for Turandot in Rome

Talent moments in I Weiwei’s contemporary next direction for Turandat on stage at Rome’s Tetro del’Opera

– That’s it Turandot Of Ai Weiui?

– Mixed feelings, I have to admit. You said well, however: “of” Ai Weiwei. With his first (and, according to him, last) instruction in an opera, he undoubtedly signed what might be considered his original work, a huge installation in situ, made in an authentic opera house. Something like he did with his film in the competition in Venice in 2017, “Human Flow”. And like him, even this “direction” of his is a powerful political manifesto.

– At Puchini’s expense?

– Given and considered by many other professional managers, the combined disasters have been widely praised as “brilliant re-readers” of intellectual products that are clearly not considered capable of standing on their own as evidence of a distant and buried past. In Turandot, Ai Weiwei has preserved a fairytale setting and elsewhere includes the archaeological past of the external, present globalized world, its problematic present and its predictive-answer, even the technology-responsible future. . Its Beijing is a kind of archeological site where there are very elegant and allusively dimly lit ruins like a Roman forum on a full moon evening. Ordinary people fall prey to the cruelty and whims of the beautiful and ice princess, the guardians and ministers of her empire, children, beggars and the downtrodden, wandering there like night owls dressed in extravagant styles (lots of plastic, synthetic materials, tulle, chanel) and imaginative. : Headdresses and other accessories, such as soldiers’ swords and halberds, inside-illuminated paper balloons, masks, vests and shoes, are reminiscent of traditional Chinese iconography at first glance, but on closer inspection, they gradually catch the eye where they are accustomed to the still darkness. Immersed in the work from beginning to end, they refer directly to the contemporary dictionary of computerized signage and emoji. Ping, Pang and Pong have caps on their heads that refer to Chinese prints before the Maoist Cultural Revolution, but in reality they are shaped like an atomic bomb, a CCTV camera or a thumb. Ice Turandt is identical to Lady Gaga in her most hilarious videos In keeping with Chinoiseri, Prince Calaf is covered, but only in the first act, with a giant stuffed frog (Chinese symbol, it seems, recovering from the disease), which makes him look like a ninja in a children’s cartoon: another night at the premiere, at the opera house. In the foyer it was a mutual question what the hell meant. The funniest answer was given to me by Sir Tony Pappano, a group of friends around him and a curious admirer of his opinion: “This is a Chinese gastronomic specialty” …

I Weiwei operated for Turandot in Rome
I Weiwei operated for Turandot in Rome

– Didn’t he unbutton something else? Last week, Pappano conducted and recorded the same opera (comedy coincidence) at Santa Cecilia with Jonas Kaufmann and the Academia Orchestra …

– So as a gentleman he chose not to reveal himself, I think, especially when the show is not over yet.

– But in short, what does this blessed “political message” consist of?

– The whole stage space I was going to was invested in by the ever-increasing speculation that the three-hour-long televised news pours a snowstorm of video reports covering contemporary Chinese landscapes, chaotic cities with bird’s eye view, police complaints against Hong Kong protesters, packed boat fleet. With refugees and immigrants, the hospital wards and ambulances in the most complex stages of the Emergency Kovid Emergency, periodically with old-fashioned computer-style animations – Century Graphic: Thousands of Fragments of Nuclear Weapons An encyclopedic compilation of all evils. Now, the combination of the arrogance of the Chinese regime (you know how complicated the relationship between the dissident Ai Weiwei and her country’s government is) with the selfish and humorous excessive power of the Princess of Frost, who decides life and the death of her subjects , It is very difficult to understand the connection between the assumptions of the singers and the singers who are relentlessly flocking to the body and face. libretto and score. The sense of an exaggerated pronunciation of a director’s “self” emerges to the detriment of the author’s intent in the work in question. Too bad, however, because with a low penetration of illustrated contributions, that particular magical eloquence that overwhelms everything and overflows into a glossy score of modernist and hallucinated romanticism, Ai Wei hit the spot. Despite the fact that the movements of actors and lyricists (and dancers and mimes) do not shine for their insightful genius. Conversely, opera houses in the provinces of the world need to record the usual assortment of minimum terms of accurate and smooth direction, if any. How can those who failed to concentrate on the excitement of the three mysteries of Liu’s Suta or Turandot be blamed for being distracted by flashing lights, bullets, riots, Pindarik flights and clashes? Yet within two moments I felt the poetic ecstasy of contemporaneity, and for these two moments I will always cherish in my heart, one of the brightest memories of this aspect, the magic of theater. One: When Ping, Pang and Pong, excited to manage Turandot’s mood and cruelty, dreamed of returning to their quiet country home “surrounded by all bamboo” near the blue lake, I saw images of cities. During the 2020 lockdown, the world was deserted, the Grand Canal, the Empire State Building, the Obelisk and the Twin Churches of Piazza del Popolo, the Eiffel Tower with the word “stay at home”, and I was excited to see how we, like the three masks of Opera The secret power prevented us from going where we wanted. Two: When a distant choir in the role of “Nesun Dorma” chants “No sleep in Beijing tonight”, while they are all trying to find someone who can reveal the name of the foreign Calf and appease the wrath of the Historical Ice Lady. , I saw nocturnal images filmed with Beijing street drones in the background and crowds of students and protesters in favor of Hong Kong branding flames and color cards. There I said to myself: Chapeu, ai weiui.

I Weiwei operated for Turandot in Rome
I Weiwei operated for Turandot in Rome

– And what about Ukrainian conductors? I know you’re against women on the Symphony Orchestra stage.

– They are actually one of the biggest opponents of the notion that a woman can handle music in the 19th and early 20th centuries, certainly not out of misogyny or patriarchal tactics, but I believe that because (of course, you say, my …) At least reflective. The other evening, under the direction of Oksana Liniv, I tracked the very modest orchestra of the Tetro del’Apere de Roma, most of the time. , With Guttierez or Mariottti (to name three of those who have had credible performances) I did not encounter him. My speech is valid for the sweet, lyrical, intimate moments of Turandot, where the very fine orchestral writing of a Puccini is more explicit, interested in what has been happening in European twentieth century since those twenty years, and a little more than his own. Good luck living there. In these moments, I admit without hesitation, Lenov revealed to me aspects that I could also define a score as “unpublished” which I have seen and heard for over forty years: a lateral algorithm, a particle texture “concrete”. Closer to a notion of music, which combines Pekingese suffering and Liu’s suicidal devotion with amazement, the inevitability of glass. On the other hand, those moments (and there are several in Turandot) where Lenov’s stick proved to be inadequate and inadequate, including the features of Titanic and Monumental Drama, were quite another matter. So I say that all music, from Beethoven to “Russian” Stravinsky, orchestral concerto bartok or more self-propelled and barbaric Hindmeth, contains characters of titanism and heroic heroism. It is impossible to comprehend and recover from a woman’s physical gestures. Not because of “weakness” or “physical inferiority”; But for the difference that always, in nature, and in the face of fluidity and in the very new imagination about sex, goes between a woman and a man. An orchestra conductor doesn’t “touch” the music (like instrumentalists who play their instruments with their own hands: it’s not that dozens of great pianists, violinists, cellists, etc. are exactly the same artistic height here. To their male counterparts) but its own tone. And it “communicates” with the person who has to play it, regardless of the intensity and authority of the way. The aura and charisma emanating from the female body, even in the case of masculine women, is foreign to the “body” of Beethoven, Brahms, Brookner, Wagner, Mahler, Tchaikovsky’s music. Not to mention Verdi and Puccini. It is enough to observe what is going on in the air to see a male model and a female model walking on the catwalk. It would be like making a male dancer a solo dancer in any classical ballet duet for a female protagonist. Or ask Leonora to sing “De Coel Pira” instead of Manrico … Unfortunately, I rarely find myself discussing these issues with someone who really knows what I’m talking about, and even half my qualifications and my perseverance in singing and Listen …

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