There are substantial differences between a musical action and an opera. Operas are buttressed by narratives of the “Aristotelian” sort, which tend to overshadow the musical development. Musical actions, on the other hand, focus on the musical process, which in turn guides the “story”.
Thus, Luciano Berio defines the specificity of his musical actions. In absence of a shared horizon of expectations towards which dramaturgy and music can converge, these works are naturally and spontaneously realized within the poetics of compositionality, juxtaposed to any logical outlay or interpretation. The relationship between music and words is central, and is pushed to the limits.
In celebration of the 95th anniversary of the birth of Luciano Berio, we take pleasure in recalling two of his later masterpieces, Outis (1996) and Cronaca del Luogo (1999).
In Outis, which premiered at La Scala, and was performed three years later in Paris, the refusal of a rectilinear narration morphs into a cyclicity in which ancient mythical archetypes collide with the contemporary world around Ulysses.
In Cronaca del Luogo, the “memory book” is the Old Testament. Indeed, Luogo, or “location”, is a traditional Hebrew synonym for the unutterable word God. Thus, Cronaca del Luogo is also a chronicle of God, or to be more specific, an interrogation regarding the presence of God, the search for tranquility and breath. A wall to block out human idiosyncrasy.
Azione musicale in due parti (1996)
Testo di Dario Del Corno e Luciano Berio
Characters: Emily soprano, Outis baritono, Ada mezzosoprano, Steve tenore, Marina soprano, Olga soprano leggero, Samantha soprano leggero, Guglielmo controtenore, Pedro basso baritono, Regista baritono, Prete/Reduce tenore, Doppio di Outis baritono, Doppio di Emily soprano, Suggeritore attore, Isaac mimo, Rudy mimo, Gruppo vocale (2 S., 2 A., 2 T., 2 B.), Coro
Instrumentation: 3 Fl. (III anche Ott.) Fl. in Sol Ob. C.i. Cl. picc. in Mib 3 Cl. in Sib Cl.b. Fg. Cfg. Sxf.s. Sxf.c. Sxf.t. Sxf.br. / 126.96.36.199. / 3 Perc. A. Pf. Cel. Ac. Tast. (Sampler) / Archi - elaborazione elettronica
World premiere: Milan, Teatro alla Scala, 2. October 1996
Duration: 2 hrs
Cronaca del Luogo
Azione musicale (1999)
Testo di Talia Pecker Berio
Characters: R soprano, Orvid mezzosoprano, Phanuel tenore, Nino attore-cantante, Generale baritono, Uomo senza età baritono, Bambini, Una Donna mezzosoprano, Sindaco baritono, 2 Addetti ai lavori attori, 3 Costruttori tenori (Coro B), Violino e Clarinetto sulla scena (+ Accordéon), Sapir tromba, Abulafia trombone, 6 Voci registrate, Coro A (12 S., 12 A., 12 T., 12 B.), Coro B (6 S., 6 A., 6 T., 6 B.)
Instrumentation: 2 Ott. 3 Fl. Fl. in Sol Ob. 2 Cl. picc. in Mib 3 Cl. in Sib 2 Cl.b. in Sib Fg. Sxf.s. Sxf.c. Sxf.t. Sxf.br. 4 Cor. in Fa 4 Trb. in Do 3 Trbn. 2 Tb.b. 2 Perc. Tast. Midi 3 Vl. 3 Vle 3 Vc. Cb.
World premiere: Salzburger Festspiele, 24. July 1999
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins