Battistelli: 7 Minuti  -  Workers’ Voices

Battistelli: 7 Minuti - Workers’ Voices

Giorgio Battistelli’s new opera, 7 minuti. Consiglio di fabbrica (7 Minutes – Collective Bargaining), with book based on a story by Stefano Massini, makes its world premiere on February 1 at the Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy, France. Repeat performances: February 3, 5, 7 and 8.

Based on actual events that took place in a French lingerie manufacturer in 2012, 7 minuti. Consiglio di fabbrica focuses on one of today’s most crucial issues: the precarious situation faced by workers everywhere. Faced with the prospects of restructuring, the staff at a famed local textile plant enter into negotiations with the factory’s new owner, a multinational corporation. No layoffs are planned, as long as workers agree to a 7-minute reduction in their lunchbreak. Management’s proposal is voiced through a union representative, sparking a heated debate among the firm’s eleven employees. They gather inside the plant’s cafeteria to discuss the proposal and decide whether or not to sign the new contract. 

Battistelli 7 minuti poster (partial)

The 3-act, 31-scene opera shines a light on the debate – which at times waxes embittered and even violent – among the firm’s eleven employees, all of them women, each of whom exhibits her own point of view, revealing an array of different personalities and takes on the situation. Battistelli exploits and brings to life these nuances through clearly defined coloration and vocal textures. Arias, duets and concertatos make use of upbeat, lively rhythms to set free each character’s own personal energy. Voice parts are accompanied by classic orchestration that give sway to low-pitched string arrangements, making for a dark, dense atmosphere. A small, background choir recalls those anxiously awaiting the decision of the eleven factory workers engaged in the debate. 
Francesco Lanzillotta conducts the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy along with the Chœur de l’Opéra National de Lorraine. Directed by Michel Didym.
7 Minuti. Consiglio di fabbrica was commissioned by the Opéra national de Lorraine.

7 Minuti. Consiglio di fabbrica
Book  by the composer (based on a story by Stefano Massini) 
One Prologue and 3 Acts for 11 female singers (7S, 3MS, C), chorus and orchestra / / timp perc (= 2 perf) ac piano harp / strings

Images: ©C2images pour l’Opéra national de Lorraine; poster (partial part) © SO2Design, Genève