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For the first time, OHT deals with music theatre by taking inspiration from Arvo Pärt’s music and from an ambiguous relationship between man and nature. The story of the village of Curon / Graun in Alto Adige, completely submerged in water in 1950, is told according to different modalities, each of which corresponds to one version of Fratres; a composition without fixed instrumentation. Text and filmed images combined with live performance, involve the audience in an epiphanic and hypnotic event, where the bell tower of the church of the submerged village of Curon becomes the only protagonist on stage, by playing – for alliteration – the role of the bell in the piece Cantus in memoriam Benjam Britten. In line with the political implications of the last OHT’s plays, this new theatre production depicts a drowned village, where the invisible forces of the alpine landscape can emerge vehemently through the sound of the bell – typical of Arvo Pärt’s tintinnabuli style.

Curon / Graun introduces the audience to a space without actors. The basis of the work is the sound of the bells and their spiritual strength due to the reconstruction of the submerged bell tower and by making the stage a literal metaphor for Arvo Pärt’s tintinnabuli style. The scene opens with the silence as point of no return of the Estonian composer, who thanks to six years of solitary contemplation could reach the essence of his music and what resounds deeply in people through art.

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The show starts with the ghost tolls of the bell tower of the church in order to link the spectator to a renewed narrative structure of music theatre. A slow narration, whose guidelines are not familiar and are part of the sacred things which the Estonian composer has already included in his works and which invite the audience to adopt new criteria compared to those generally accepted and known. In this way, the forced evacuation of the little town of Curon in 1950, becomes the literary device to resort to text and images as the only scene elements in the attempt to rediscover one of the most authentic features of theatre, i.e. the ability to communicate through immobility and silence.

Arvo Pärt
Arvo Pärt in an Estonian composer known for his sacred music. He was born on 11 September 1935 in Paide. Having initially studied dodecaphonic music, in 1971 Arvo Pärt entered a period of contemplative silence, during which he exclusively focused on the study of sacred music and Gregorian chant, in particularly the medieval and Renaissance period. After six years, in 1977 he broke the silence with a music genre that distinguishes him; the tintinnabuli, that is a sound similar to that of a bell. The most important works of these years are Tabula rasa, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, Spiegel im Spiegel and Fratres. Since that moment, Arvo Pärt has been regarded as one of the pioneers of the minimalism and holy minimalism, even though he never defined himself as minimalist, and his compositions fascinate the whole world. Several honours have been conferred on him, for example in December 2011 he was appointed a Member of the Pontifical Council for Culture by Pope Benedict XVI; in 2006, the University of Oxford elected him as Honorary Doctor of Music.

Curon / Graun
In 1950, the construction of a big dam jointed Lake Resia and Lake di Mezzo. As a result, 523 hectares of farmed land and 163 houses of the ancient village of Curon in Val Venosta were flooded. The company Montecatini, winner of the national announcement, created the biggest lake in Alto-Adige, 6 km long and 1 km wide, at the point of maximum width. The town’s residents protested against the dam construction, in a period of growing tension between local terrorists and the Italian government. A delegation from Sudtirol went unsuccessfully to Pope XII in order to prevent the creation of the work. The construction was inevitably and involved thousands of workers who dug 35 km of underground tunnels, used 1.500.000 quintal of cement, 10.000 tons of iron, 800 tons of explosives and for the fist time in Italy’s history, nitro-glycerine was used to blast the centre of Curon and partially that of Resia which were rebuilt in higher positions.

year

2018

running time

0:50:00.0

genre

music theatre

credits

by OHT | Office for a Human Theatre

> Haydn Orchestre of Bolzano and Trento
> music Arvo Pärt
> “Fratres” for string quartet
> “Fratres” for string and percussion
> “Fratres” for violin, string and percussion
> “Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten”
> idea Filippo Andreatta and Paola Villani
> music conductor Stefano Ferrario
> directing Filippo Andreatta
> set-design Paola Villani
> light-design William Trentini
> video Armin Ferrari
> stage manager Massimiliano Rassu
> producer Laura Marinelli
> graphic consultant Letizia Tempesta Filisetti
> decor Nadia Simeonkova, Silvano Brugnara
> production Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento | Haydn Orchester von Bozen und Trient
> co-production OHT, Centrale Fies
> winner of OPER.A 20.21 FRINGE
> edition Universal Edition AG, for Italy Casa Ricordi, Milano

production history

23.II.2018 Trento, Teatro Sociale 
12.VI.2018 Dro, Drodesera festival – Centrale Fies 
17.XI.2018 Roma, Roma Europa Festival

number of replica

3