Vibing with Verdi
12 9 2021
Vibing with Verdi

Musical performances and opera theory meet at the Teatro Bibiena

In the event co-produced by Festivaletteratura and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the author Marcello Fois was joined on the stage of the Teatro Bibiena by the Solisti della Fenice orchestra that assisted him in his effort: explaining how to understand the plot of operas. Fois' talk revolved around a few key concepts: opera as a “typically Italian creature”, impossible love as a central theme, a specific characterization of roles (tenors are good, baritones are bad, sopranos die), the importance of reading the novel or theatre piece on which the opera is based.

Fois’ explanations were alternated with live performances of musical extracts from Verdi’s La Traviata, Rossini’s William Tell, Monteverdi’s Orfeo and other well-known opera works. This experiential level added depth and engagement to the event, making it much more than just a theoretical talk on opera. This, combined with the setting, really ended up creating something of a “tasting experience” for a narrative form that we have become less and less used to.

The difference between opera and the contemporary approach to storytelling was the focus of the last part of the event. Fois pointed out how today’s audiences are used to endings that bring closure to the events, resolving conflicts in an univocal way. On the contrary, opera often ends right when the complication of story reaches its peak, with the curtains acting as a guillotine that leaves the spectator lingering on the melodrama, but free to autonomously reflect on the possible future developments of the events.