Verdi’s Traviata at the Greek Theater in Syracuse: a cultural and social revolution


By John

A Greek theater packed in every order of seat has decreed, a Syracusean unprecedented success: La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi in an innovative and modern setting, but respectful of tradition; But that is not all.

Continuous standing ovations from the very large audience, the interpretations incessantly interrupted by applause on the stage, the 15 minutes of applause paid to all the artists at the end of the performance, the quality of the performers on stage, the mise en espacewhich was transformed into a very elegant and current direction, but the most extraordinary thing of the evening were the nearly one hundred deaf people who asked to take part in the performance.

The exclusive – and inclusive – project of opera in sign language started with enormous success from the Greek Theater of Syracuse, for a project that has no precedents: in fact, never before has an interpretation in LIS of a opera performance.

A cultural and social revolution

The Festival has brought about a real cultural and social revolution, as for the first time live, even deaf people have been able to enjoy a cornerstone of Italian melodrama through an unprecedented project that arises from the collaboration between the Sicilian opera choir, creator and producer of the event, and the “Sicily, tourism for all” Association of Syracuse, in the person of Bernadette Lo Bianco.

The masterpiece of the Cigno di Busseto was created in a complete and innovative way with a particular mise en espace signed by the directorial talent of Salvo Dolce (assistant Dario Castro), with effects that gave the spectators a real intimate involvement in the three-act drama inspired by “La Dame aux camelias” by Alexandre Dumas fils. All embellished by the magnificent lights of Gabriele Circo, who was able to create a perfect setting almost exclusively through a skilful lighting design. The splendid hairstyles and make-up by Alfredo Danese also deserve a mention, which contributed to making the event even more “glamorous”.

Absolute protagonists are two of the most important ensembles, the Sicilian Opera Choir and the Calabria Philharmonic Orchestra, excellently directed by Filippo Arlia, who has succeeded in a truly prodigious undertaking: directing the choir and soloists having the stage behind him, as the direction provided that the orchestra was on the stage behind the scene, which instead took place in the area where the orchestra usually is in normal theatres.

The Coro Lirico Siciliano seems to have absolutely not suffered from this “new” condition, having provided a perfect interpretation of the melodrama of the “Cigno di Busseto” with the usual changes of dynamics and agogics and a vocal and stage presence such as to make one understand the excellent work carried out by the Choir Master, Francesco Costa. But this is now a happy habit.

The festive and carefree air of the opera is enriched by the overwhelming rhythms and the evocative power of Andalusian dance thanks to the original Flamenco Ballet of Murcia (Spain) directed by Matilde Rubio who received numerous ovations and enchanted the audience through the body, the gaze, the rhythm of the hands, feet, castanuelasSpain’s original castanets.

An internationally renowned cast did the rest: an absolute triumph for the Italian-French soprano Chrystelle Di Marco, endowed with a torrential voice full of pathos, which the talented artist was able to bend to all the nuances of piano and pianissimo foreseen by the score by the master from Busseto, as well as a truly heartfelt interpretation.

The tenor Giulio Pelligra, a Sicilian artist established in international opera houses, was a heartfelt Alfredo Germont, with a penetrating voice and an afflicted, dejected and, on the contrary, at the height of happiness interpretation, based on the mood of the character , while the baritone Mario Cassi moved, and also received numerous applauses, with the paternal interpretation of Giorgio Germont. Cassi restored the beautiful lyrical baritone voice in the sweetest moments, as well as in those in which he asserted his authority.

To complete an excellent cast, a group of young and valid opera artists who have distinguished themselves as excellent supporting actors: Licia Toscano (Flora Bervoix); Simona Di Capua (Annina); Davide Benigno (Gastone); Gianni Giuga (Baron Douphol); Marco Tinnirello (Marquis d’Obigny); Riccardo Bosco (Doctor Grenvil); Pietro Di Paola (Joseph); Sezer Akkaya (Commissionary); Sergio Rao (Domain of Flora).

After its debut in Syracuse, La Traviata will be repeated in August on the 12th at the Greek Theater of Tindari and on the 24th at the Ancient Theater of Taormina. By popular demand, the experimental project of the work also in LIS, which for this year was initially supposed to stop in Syracuse, will instead be replicated also in the other representations of Tindari and Taormina, as the institution has received numerous requests and did not want disappoint the right expectations of people with hearing disabilities.

Once again, a 2-month-long festival that produces over 40 evenings of entertainment in the main archaeological parks, in the most famous ancient and Greek theaters but also in lesser-known areas, which possess priceless jewels waiting to be known and valued , with a view to the tireless work of cultural decentralization that has distinguished the activity of the Sicilian body since its establishment.