Beethoven and haute couture – not the first pairing that comes to mind.
Le Creature di Prometeo/Le creature di Capucci (The Creatures of Prometheus/The Creatures of Capucci) celebrates this surprising coupling. Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa and the Festival of Two Worlds are co-producers of this semi-staged concert which receives its world premiere at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto on 28 August 2020 with a preview on 1 August at the Nervi International Festival of Music and Ballet near Genoa.
The great Italian open-air festivals are kicking off the theatre revival in Europe this summer – in social distancing mode, therefore with streamlined performances. This show, curated by Daniele Cipriani, combines a score by Ludwig van Beethoven, in the year marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of the ‘titan' of symphonic music, and the living sculptures of haute couture by a contemporary ‘titan' Roberto Capucci. Simona Bucci's ‘choreographic movements' for the Daniele Cipriani Company enhance a rare complete performance of the German composer's only ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus, which will be performed by the Teatro Carlo Felice Orchestra of Genoa conducted by Andrea Battistoni. The dancers of the Daniele Cipriani Company are joined by Damiano Ottavio Bigi of the Tanztheater Wupperthal, dancers from the Compagnia Simona Bucci, as well as mime artist Hal Yamanouchi who becomes a sort of master of ceremonies.
Claudio Orazi, Intendant of the Teatro Carlo Felice, says,
The idea of this new production, Le creature di Prometeo/Le creature di Capucci, stems from a desire to propose new artistic formats capable of fostering interaction between music and contemporary creativity. Three geniuses – the great Italian choreographer Viganò, a composer like Beethoven who is the emblem of European culture, and an artist and creator like Roberto Capucci, who has been instrumental in establishing the Italian style all over the world – come together in an original and exciting evening, conceived to be performed in sites of historical, artistic and environmental interest in Italy and the world, starting with the wonderful Nervi Park and the iconic Piazza del Duomo in Spoleto.
The work was composed by Beethoven in 1801 with choreography by the celebrated Italian Salvatore Viganò. Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, Op. 43, was populated by Gods of Mount Olympus and Muses of Mount Parnassus with a libretto inspired by the myth of Prometheus, the titan who steals fire from the Gods to give it to his “creatures”, the men and women of the earth.
Capucci's creatures are 15 dreamlike, Dionysian beings, with claws of bizarre raptors and sinuous serpentine coils (“images of madness”, says Capucci). The costumes have been made under the couturier's supervision, from his 15 original sketches.
Although always fascinated by dance, Capucci approached it only very recently when Daniele Cipriani asked him to create two costumes for the Les Étoiles gala in Rome in January 2020. The success of this collaboration led to this new project with costumes that are reminiscent of the spectacular courtly masques of the Renaissance.
Simona Bucci's choreographic movements have been conceived for an all-male cast, and these otherworldly creatures, appear and vanish like visions, coming together on stage only during the finale where social distancing is ensured by the ruffs, feathers, masks of these phantasmagorical costumes.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.