Photo © Michele Crosera

Recently we have been invited to see Cavalleria Rusticana at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice. This opera opened the autumn season of this famous theater. 

The new staging, has been directed by the great Italo Nunziata, with Donato Renzetti that conducted the orchestra and the choir. Bruno Antonetti, the set designer and Anna Poletto, the costume designer, are winners of the Atelier Teatro La Fenice 2023 competition, set design students at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice that directed the realization of the set and costumes of the opera.

From what has been said by the set designer, the concept of the set was born by several references, from the photographs of Mario Giacomelli and Ferdinando Scianna to Canaletto's “capriccio” of the 1700s, then moving on to the cinema with the film Senso by Luchino Visconti up to the nineteenth century painting by Antonio Ciseri: Il trasporto di Cristo al Sepolcro (which the director Italo Nunziata wanted to bring back to the stage in the form of a tableau vivant). 

Photo © Michele Crosera

Italo Nunziata said that he started from the desire to remove the idea of ​​a sunny and happy Sicily that almost makes it an oleographic picture. As if what happens were something that has been handed down for centuries. We are not in 19th century Sicily but in the 1950s. It is a Sicily not only of the countryside, it is made up of houses, small red-hot walls, places where the sun gives you no chance of escape. As he said, he tried to give this whole tragedy a more epic form.

What I imagined is a poor country but clean, tidy, attentive to its own way of being and representing itself. Where the rituality of some gestures leads to endurance and acceptance of that kind of life. I am referring, for example, to the festive dressing for Easter, or to the preparation for the funeral and the mourning of the dead. The procession. They are rites that serve to that small world to be able to continue living with an almost courageous resignation.” I.N

The scenography was a small Sicilian village made up of alleys, streets and views that change continuously, an effect obtained from the movements of three architectural elements present on stage. It is a Sicily made of red-hot walls, of places where the sun gives you no chance of escape. The set was connected by the moral of Nunziata's reinterpretation of the opera that underlined female emancipation. 

“I'm talking about behaviors that are never out in the open, always carried out in secret, which are accepted and in any case kept secret but which then end up exploding. These are things that still exist today. The murders and feminicides we read about every day arise from situations like these, even if obviously the contexts can be the most varied and the most diverse. Especially in small communities, where everyone knows everything about everyone.” I.N

The use of light was crucial to increase the feelings of the characters and to underline the steps of the story and its different levels of reading. A beautiful opera with an interesting reinterpretation of it, set in a magical frame, this venetian historical theater.

Photo © Michele Crosera

Photo © Michele Crosera

Photo © Michele Crosera

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