At 12:22:55 on July 19, 1985, about 180,000 m³ of whitish mud violently swept away the village of Stava at a speed of 90 km per hour, wiping out everything in just 7 minutes: trees, houses, people, hotels, streets. A catastrophe without salvation that almost 35 years later is still unrepresentable.
Filippo Andreatta, founder of OHT, already author of the show "Curon/Graun", inspired by the story of the submerged village in Val Venosta, looks at Stava as an epiphanic moment of the ambiguous relationship between mankind and the mountain landscape and faces it as an "Alpine tragedy".
On stage, emptied of any attempt of material representation, the only chronicle of the event reconstructs the story of the tragedy moment by moment and paints a delicate and exciting fresco of the destroyed valley. The evocative power of the music performed live by the Ensemble Vocale Continuum directed by Maestro Luigi Azzolini fills the space. As in the ancient tragedy in which the choir represented the voice of the community, in the modern "Alpine tragedy" by OHT the choristers accompany the narration of events with their singing and become an emotional ghost of the population of Stava. The protagonist "in absentia" is the power of nature against which man has sinned, and continues to sin, of arrogance and superficiality. The work comes a year after the Vaia storm that devastated the woods of Trentino, making us reflecting once again on the presumption of man who tries to dominate the mountain and the destructive force of nature that rebels and, at the same time, to offer an opportunity for purification and redemption to those peaks defining our horizon.
[text by Chiara Marsilli]

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Catastrophe is a word related to the Greek tragedy. It indicates the reversal of the story, the event that dissolves the plot and leads to catharsis. In 19 JULY 1985 there is no catharsis because the catastrophe is literal. It is the reversal of the whitish mud from the decantation basins: "the metaphor is not a rhetorical figure, but a substitute image that presents itself concretely, instead of a concept" to use Nietzsche's words again. The concreteness of this image is the emptiness left by the avalanche that has swept away everything. In front of this void, this catastrophe, the only possibility is to use the chorus because since the Greek tragedy the appearance of the chorus corresponds to a declaration of war to naturalism in art.
A radical aesthetic choice that materialises in a collective and therefore political presence of art: the choir confesses the inamissibility of this catastrophe, the unrepresentability of this tragedy. In the empty stage remains the spectre of the tragic chorus singing Lux Aeterna, whose musical canons are modulated in dissonant rhythms and times. The voices become a very dense mass of sound without a precise direction, just like the mud flow that swept away the Stava Valley: very dense and without a precise direction. Dissonant and unnatural screams in a requiem that makes the Western theatre plunging into its birth: the Attic tragedy. But if in Greek tragedy human arrogance declines in relation to the divine, in 19 JULY 1985 the human hýbris is accomplished in relation to the Alpine landscape.
[text by Filippo Andreatta]

György Sándor Ligeti 
Born on 28.V.1923 in Transylvania, he died on 12.VI.2006 in Vienna. He was a fundamental composer in avant-garde music for the development of tonal color and mass movement of sound. Most of Ligeti's music after the end of the 1950s involves radically new approaches to music composition. Intervals, rhythms and musical harmonies are often indistinguishable but act together in a multiplicity of sound events creating music that can communicate serenity as well as a dynamic and distressing movement. Examples of these effects can be found in Atmosphères (1961) for orchestra; Requiem (1963-65) for soprano, mezzo-soprano, two choirs and orchestra; and Lux Aeterna (1966) for choir. Ligeti has received numerous awards, including the Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis (1990), the Praemium Imperiale award for music from the Japan Art Association (1991) and the Theodor W. Adorno Prize from the city of Frankfurt for outstanding musical achievements (2003).

Val di Stava Disaster
It was a mudflood that occurred at 12:22:55 on July 19, 1985 in Val di Stava in Trentino (IT). The avalanche was caused by the collapse of the banks of the sedimentation basins of the Prestavel mine, which caused the leakage of about 180,000 m³ of mud that violently overwhelmed the village of Stava at a speed of about 90Km/h for a journey of almost 4.2Km. Hundreds of trees, 03 hotels, 53 houses, 06 sheds and 08 bridges were destroyed. 268 people died, 28 of whom were children under 10 years of age, 31 were kids under 18 years of age, 120 were women and 89 were men. In more than 20 years of activity prior to the catastrophe, the landfills were never subjected to serious stability checks by the concessionary companies or to controls by the public offices of the Autonomous Province of Trento, which had the obligation of control. The Ministerial Commission of Inquiry ascertained that "the entire sedimentation plant constituted a continuous threat looming over the valley. The plant collapsed essentially because it was designed, built and managed in such a way as not to offer those safety margins that civil society expects from works that could jeopardise the existence of entire human communities.”



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Alpine tragedy


19 JULY 1985
an Alpine tragedy

> performance by OHT | Office for a Human Theatre

> “Lux Aeterna” by György Sándor Ligeti
> “Again – after ecclesiastes” by David Lang
> “ndormenzete popin” Mountain chant
> chorus / Ensemble Vocale Continuum
master of chorus Luigi Azzolini

> directing, set-design and text Filippo Andreatta
> dramaturgy Marco Bernardi
> coripheus, music and sound Davide Tomat
> set-design and construction Alberto Favretto
> light-design William Trentini
> stage-manager Viviana Rella
> best-girl Letizia Paternieri
> assistent director Veronica Franchi
> video Armin Ferrari
> producer and administrator Laura Marinelli
> promotion and curating Laura Artoni
> expert gardener Cleto Matteotti
> sound technician Claudio Tortorici
 electronic development and automation Enrico Wiltch
> animal spirit the Deer

> production OHT
> co-production Romaeuropa Festival, Centro Santa Chiara Trento
> artistic residency Centrale Fies art work space
> supported by Fondazione Caritro, Provincia Autonoma di Trento
> under the patronage of Fondazione Stava 1985

> thanks to Bruno Ballardini, Michele Longo, Matthias Losek, Susanna Sara Mandice, Sandro Piovesana, Virginia Sommadossi, Chiara Zanoni and the woodman

production history

07.XI.2019 Trento, Teatro Sociale premiere
08-09-10.XI.2019 > Trento, Teatro Sociale
12.IX.20 > Cividale del Friuli, Mittelfest

26-27.IX.2020 Roma, Romaeuropa Festival

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