Following an international call launched on 25th November 2015, which received submissions from 6 different countries (Italy, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Sweden, and Czech Republic), four projects were selected for the composition of short micro-budget chamber operas on a comical, parodic or surreal theme, to be produced as part of the Biennale College – Music programme in 2016.
The projects, as the rules of the College required, were each presented by a team consisting in a composer, librettist, director and set designer, that will participate in the different phases of the Biennale College starting March 7th, in Venice. When finished, the four works will be presented in the course of two evenings, October 9th and October 16th, at the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, as part of the 60th International Festival of Contemporary Music (7 > 16 October 2016) directed by Ivan Fedele and organized by the Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta.
The four projects, selected at the end of the international call, are:
· Funeral Play – Caterina Di Cecca (music), Sara Cavosi (libretto), Valentina Rosati (director and set designer): Aika is a 20-year-old Japanese girl who decides to organize and take part in her own funeral. The girl is not dying, though, in fact she just wants to enjoy the party. Inspired by a true story.
· Il flauto tragico – Roberto Vetrano (music), Stefano Simone Pintor (libretto and direction), Gregorio Zurla (set designer): the story of a production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute – in a derelict theatre, with the musicians squabbling in the orchestra pit, rival singers boycotting one another, bad tempos and missed cues, sets crashing to the ground – becomes a sort of tragic farce, bordering on slapstick opera.
· Troposfera – Francesco Ciurlo (music), Tobia Rossi (libretto), Maria Concetta Gravagno (director), Andrea Colombo (set design): this is a family tale, both dark and celestial at the same time, that tells the story of a farewell to the world. One day the young hero Isi, for no apparent reason, becomes weightless and begins to fly, leaving the ground and defying gravity.
· Trascrizione di un errore – Alexander Chernyshkov (music), Isabelle Kranabetter (libretto), Wolfgang Nagele (director and set designer): this is a meta-theatre project, in which the libretto is a description of the opera and the singers and musicians are actors playing themselves. The opera is presented as “the musical transcription of reality, which is another transcription of reality… In theatre, reality is an error. The transcription of an error” (A. Chernyshkov).
The four selected teams will be assisted in developing, perfecting and producing their projects in a series of training, tutoring and production workshops that will take place in Venice as follows:
Phase 1 – March 7th to 12th 2016 will consist in workshops with artists and masters in which the focus will be on more general themes in traditional and contemporary musical theatre, in particular concerning the relationship between text and music;
Phase 2 – May 2nd to 7th 2016 will be the deadline for the submission of half of the score, the project for the set design, and the libretto. The workshops in this phase will build on the work done to date;
Phase 3 – July 4th to 9th 2016 will feature a third session with the team of tutors. In this phase, the complete score must be submitted and the teams will have to programme the production of the works, including: the selection of the singers, a review and final draft of the budget, a production plan including a schedule of stage and musical rehearsals;
Phase 4 – starting October 2nd will feature the stage and musical rehearsals that will lead to the final production of the works to be performed at the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale on October 9th and 16th.
The tutors who will be assisting the 4 selected teams in their work are: the directors Nicholas Hunat and Franco Ripa di Meana, the dramaturgists Sergio Casesi and Giuliano Corti, the composers Luca Mosca and Salvatore Sciarrino.
Biennale College is an innovative experience, common to all the sectors of the Biennale di Venezia, that encourages young talents by offering them the opportunity to work side by side with the masters to develop creations.
The third edition once again focuses on musical theatre, an essential theme in contemporary music, with 4 chamber operas on a comical, parodic or surreal theme, to be presented as part of the 60th International Festival of Contemporary Music 2016.
The activities of the Music Sector of the Biennale di Venezia enjoy the support of the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities – General Direction for the Performing Arts – and of the Regione del Veneto.