Beatiato emotion! The maestro’s original music on the images of the 1908 Messina earthquake


By John

Retying the threads of the past and delivering them to the present between vision and music. It is with emotion that Ninni Panzera introduces the premiere of the “Audiovisual score for a landscape of rubble”, an anthology of images of the Messina earthquake with music by Franco Battiato.

It was Panzera itself who in 1998 proposed to Battiato to set to music those images that some intrepid people shot to document the catastrophe and hand it over to posterity. And Franco, with his love for our land and his passion for experimentation, welcomed the invitation generously and selflessly. He got to work with Angelo Privitera (present at the premiere yesterday) on the keyboards and together they played music live while they watched the images from the videotape. It is the voice of Manlio Sgalambro who warns at the beginning on the «necessary ethics of catastrophe, on the moral task of explaining to people that they must be afraid to find solidarity and mutual compassion».

Then, together with the flickering frames of horror, the exceptional sounds of Battiato flow which simulate the sinister sounds of destruction, roars, screeches, and hisses, howls, cries of death, and in conclusion, in the form of a prayer, fragments of Genesis, the Battiato’s first opera.
A very high moment to conclude the Messina Film-Cinema&Opera Festival, created by Ninni Panzera from Messina who has always lived with the beauty and memory of art, since the golden years of his “creature” Tao-Arte. Many stories to tell, from 1 to 8 December, spread across the Sala Laudamo, the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele, the Lux Cineforum Orione cinema, the Palazzo della Cultura, an event that united cinephiles and music lovers and a large audience in the unique sign of beauty.

«An exhilarating adventure – tells us Panzera, now director of the “La Zattera dell’Arte” Association, drawing the conclusions of the long-awaited appointment at the end of the screening – reborn twenty-two years after the last edition, an ideal connection both with old Messina Film Festival, both with the Milani Association, and which I hope to put on the plate of the city institutions so that Messina can recognize itself in it. A potentially unique festival, because – remember – there are many film festivals but not one in which the work is linked to cinema».

Every day a rich program, due to Panzera’s philological research in Italian and foreign film archives and archives and to his care of events: from the inauguration of the beautiful exhibition “Bellini al cinema” which refers to the volume of the same name “Bellini al Cinema” (Edizioni “La Zattera dell’Arte”), a journey into the multifaceted world of the Catania “swan”, to the retrospective of films on Vincenzo Bellini (with the rediscovery of the silent film “La Norma”, 1911, and the discovery by Panzera of “ La sonnambula” (1942, given up as lost); from Maria Callas day for her hundredth birthday with trailers, films and opera commercials on the great soprano, to the afternoon entirely dedicated to the films of Marco Bellocchio, with the most famous arias in music opera as a soundtrack; from the Short Film Competition with the participation of many young people to the performance of the Ensemble of the Corelli Conservatory with “La Norma” and “Tosca”. Then, before lowering the curtain, the concert on the great themes of classical music at the cinema with the orchestra of the Vittorio Emanuele theater conducted by Matthias Fletzberger.