by Olivier Messiaen
from 24 | 06 to 02 | 07 | 2023
concept, direction, stage, costumes design Silvia Costa
collaboration to set design Michele Taborelli
lighting design Marco Giusti
assistant director Josephine Kirch
soprano Katrien Baerts
piano Costanza Principe
Silvia Costa is among the foremost young directors in Italy and all of Europe. An artistic collaborator in most of Romeo Castellucci’s opera productions since 2006, her performances infuse a personal conception of visual and poetic theatre nourished by deep research into the role of the image and its power over the spectator.
In this world premiere at the 66th edition of the Festival dei Due Mondi, Silvia Costa provides a new staging of Harawi, the extraordinary lieder cycle by Olivier Messiaen, in the impressive space of the former church of San Simone. Belgian soprano Katrien Baerts is accompanied by pianist Costanza Principe, one of Italy’s most refined Italian musicians today. Silvia Costa has designed the costumes herself in collaboration with Michele Taborelli, as well as the lighting with Marco Giusti.
Inspired by the love songs of the Quechua people of the South American Andes, from which the work borrows traditional words and melodies, Messiaen’s song cycle is permeated with notions of love and death, just like its great ancestor in the history of Western music: the Tristan legend.
“To listen to these songs,” explains Silvia Costa, “one needs to abandon oneself, to suspend comprehension in order to be surprised by the work’s strangeness, the almost playful immediacy of its verses, its maddening repetitions. They are the delirium of loneliness, enigmas of a pained soul, prayers and magic spells to bring one’s love back to life. The theatrical dimension follows this navigation in the dark sea of sorrow, extrapolating from the music elements for an amorous funeral rite, made up of memories, skin-deep sensations, dances and blood, smells, nocturnal passions and dreams. Because love finds eternity in death: it achieves its truest form not in life, but in a bodiless and timeless afterlife.”
Costa, who developed and will present the work as an artist-in-residence at the Mahler & LeWitt Foundation, will also deliver an open studio, in which she will show the drawings, sketches and notes she produced during the gestation of Harawi.
“Drawing has always accompanied my work for the stage. It is a daily practice, like a ritual, often done in the silence of night when I can descend into my thoughts and let the sensations I gather from the daytime world settle. I have recently started to share this practice with the public. I want to explore the possibilities of this kind of diaristic creation, as a way of opening my reflections to the world in a way that adds layers of insight to the stage work.”