The reasons of the angels, but those here on earth. In Catania applause concert for S. Agata


By John

At a certain point I called them, and they arrived there, with me. My father and my mother, and other deaths of mine that I won’t tell you. When the cuntu Of Gaspare Balsamo reached its peak, and after the ferocious uproar of martyrdom he released all the light, the voice, the grace of the “angels on the earth”, and among them of Saint Agatha, and he asked us – who was both a cuntist and officiant, instrument and master concertmaster – to close our eyes and think of them, think of them intensely, our “angels ‘n’ earth”, each his own or his own, and feel them as in that moment we felt the music and the words, and their way magnificent, intimate and collective, to fill the space of Massimo Bellini Theater in Cataniaand spread, in mysterious ways, throughout the city, which is entering its oldest and most shared celebration, in the name of the Patroness.
It was an act of the celebration, a necessary prologue for music, voice and soul, or rather souls, all those of those who had the fortune and privilege of attending the concert on Thursday evening – or rather “Musical scene for actor, orchestra and choir” signed by the brilliant and refined Etna composer Emanuele Casalewith texts by the cuntist Gaspare Balsamo – “The reasons of the angels”, a production dedicated by the Theatre, as has been the case for some years now, thanks to the commitment of the superintendent Giovanni Cultreraat the feast of the Patron Saint.
A production that brings together Catania and Sicilian excellence and is offered (even at a very popular and inclusive price) to citizens, because the first and last meaning of cultural institutions is precisely this: to create community. The theatre, on the other hand, was packed and vibrant: we could feel it as it was gradually filling up, and the musicians of the Orchestra were taking their seats and tuning their instruments, and the sounds were also filling the vault of the hall, and we were all getting ready to that strange ritual, that beauty experiment.
The cuntua powerful and ancient form, had one of its best followers and teachers, the Erice but Catanese by adoption (and pan-Sicilian in culture and inspiration) Gaspare Balsamo, who transformed Agata’s story into a universal story, capable of echoing, today, in every martyrdom chosen for integrity and freedom, in every suffering that sheds light on everyone: with its percussive force and its primordial and very human dialect (but which managed to translate, make clear, indeed joyful, even the «credo quia absurdum» by Tertullian) told us about Agatha the girl who discovers, inside, an irrepressible strength, and passing through the violence of the executioners and the horror of injustice and torture becomes “angel ‘n’ earth” («which sounds like lights and no lights») and then flies towards the eternal, it becomes light. Very human, the “angels ‘n’ earth”, invisible, modest and yet powerful: they would have been recalled, immediately after the end of the concert, by the brief speech of the Archbishop of Catania, Monsignor Luigi Rennawhich he received from the hands of the mayor and president of Enrico Trantino Theatre the award named after Luigi Mainaby the worthy Sant’Agathae Foundation, chaired by Rosario Scandurra. The archbishop, citing Pope Francis and the encyclical “Fratelli tutti” several times, wanted to dedicate the award to the many operators for inclusion and against school dropouts, to the world of volunteering: all “angels on earth” invisible, all intent on creating and defending that magnificent thing, the sense of community.
And those words resonated all the more in the souls touched and happy, in the souls disconcerted by the concert for music, voices, notes and story, punctuated by the actress’s “melologue”. Alessandra Lombardo: Latin words taken from ancient texts (St. Augustine and other anonymous ones), but somehow luminous, absolute and timeless. «Lux», «pax», «vox»: as many seals to the emotion of Casale’s music, micro-overtures and seven movements in which they merged – in the wise direction of Claudia Patanèanother absolute excellence from Catania, young but with proven talent, with an impressive curriculum – classical and “post-classical”, in an intense, profound and engaging dialogue between tradition and avant-garde, admirably interpreted by the Orchestra and Choir of the Theater, directed by the Master Luigi Petrozziello.
The melody, the cunto, the music (also in a dense internal dialogue of forms and solutions) of the orchestra, the voices of the choir: a strong and truly unforgettable experience. We emerged touched by that light which, together with silence, was the most difficult thing to do, to represent with sounds: that «absurdum» became a joyful cry – «And stop this nonsense» – recalls in the etymology the «dissonare», a dissonance that becomes creative and revolutionary, like the story of the Saint. Among “angels ‘n’ earth” there are undoubtedly artists too, and we are grateful to them.