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Ginastera's Beatrix Cenci staged in Buenos Aires

(May 2016)

GinasteraBeatrixCenciReview.jpg A new production of Alberto Ginastera's Beatrix Cenci opened at the Teatro Colón in March, launching centenary celebrations in the composer's home city of Buenos Aires.

Centenary celebrations for Alberto Ginastera were launched in his native city of Buenos Aires in March with a new production of his third and final opera Beatrix Cenci at the Teatro Colón. Based on Shelley’s play about the abused daughter of a Renaissance count, the opera is in the tradition of Artaud’s ‘Theatre of Cruelty’, relating Beatrix’s rape by her father, the arranging of her tormentor’s murder, and her sentencing to death by the authorities, despite the pity and sympathy of the Roman populace.

First staged in Washington in 1971 for the opening season at the new Kennedy Center, the opera was not heard in Buenos Aires until 1992. This second production at the Teatro Colón, in a staging by Alejandro Tantanian, probed the Freudian undercurrents of the dysfunctional Cenci family. Ginastera’s music delves deep into the extreme psychology of the characters with a style blending lyricism and expressionism, complete with orchestral clusters, clouds and constellations.

"The intense and effective production succeeded in realising the oppressive and dramatic character of the work… The opera takes place in a single stage space, the interior of the Cenci’s Tribunali Palace, guarded by real dogs, whose barks and howls summoned a sense of foreboding… The nightmarish atmosphere was also achieved thanks to a construction of mirrored prisms occupying centre-stage which amplified the psychological breakdown of the family and its fragmented grasp of reality."

"Outstanding music and savage drama… The staging makes a series of reflections not only on the lawlessness and violence between humans but also in relation to power and the word… This production does not unfold in the Renaissance of Beatrix Cenci but, as in Pasolini’s Salò, during Fascism such as the Republic that Mussolini founded on the shores of Lake Garda…. Powerful parents give their daughters to promiscuity, violations, crimes and excessive corruption… bringing out the political and social degradation of an era."
La Nacion

The Teatro Colón has also played host to a ten-concert Ginastera series by the Buenos Aires Philharmonic conducted by Enrique Diemecke and next month sees Daniel Barenboim returning to his native city to conduct performances of the Violin Concerto with his son Michael Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

Music from Ginastera’s first opera Don Rodrigo can be heard on a new centenary disc of the composer’s vocal music from Warner Classics, featuring Placido Domingo who created the title role at the work’s premiere in 1964. The 2016/17 season at the Teatro Real in Madrid includes a new staging of Ginastera’s Bomarzo by Pierre Audi, travelling on to Dutch National Opera in a future season. The Cantata Bomarzo, drawn by the composer from the opera, was performed in New York in April within a series of 15 Ginastera works presented by Trinity Wall Street.

July brings Ginastera’s music to Paris, with New York City Ballet touring Christopher Wheeldon’s Estancia to the Théâtre du Châtelet.

>  Further information on Work: Beatrix Cenci

Photo: Máximo Parpagnoli

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