The Creatures of Prometheus/The Creatures of Capucci – World premiere at the Spoleto Festival

di Fabiola Di Blasi

Prometheus – Beethoven – Capucci


The Creatures of Prometheus / The Creatures of Capucci – World premiere at the Festival of the Two Worlds, Spoleto (Italy), 28 August 2020

Beethoven and haute couture, who’d have thought?

Le Creature di Prometeo / Le creature di Capucci celebrates this extraordinary pairing. The Teatro Carlo Felice Foundation and the Festival dei Due Mondi are co-producers of this concert in scenic form that will get its world premiere at the Festival of the Two Worlds, Spoleto (Italy) on August 28th, 2020 (Piazza del Duomo, 8:30 pm). A preview took place on August 1st at the Nervi International Festival of Music and Ballet in Genoa.

The great Italian open-air festivals have been spearheading theatre revival in Europe this summer – in social distancing mode, therefore mainly with streamlined, essential works. However, this show, curated by Daniele Cipriani, stands out for its magnificence. It could not have been otherwise, since Le Creature di Prometeo/Le creature di Capucci showcases the thrilling combination of the creativity of two geniuses: a score by Ludwig van Beethoven, in the year marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of the “titan” of symphonic music, and the living sculptures of haute couture “titan” Roberto Capucci. Simona Bucci’s “choreographic movements” (sic) for the Daniele Cipriani Company enhance the rare complete performance of the German composer’s sole ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus, by the Teatro Carlo Felice Orchestra of Genoa conducted by Andrea Battistoni.

Claudio Orazi, Intendant of the Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, explains that “the idea of this new production, Le creature di Prometeo – Le creature di Capucci, stems from a desire to propose new artistic formats capable of fostering interaction between music and contemporary creativity. Three geniuses – the great Italian choreographer Viganò, a composer like Beethoven who is the emblem of European culture, and an artist and creator like Roberto Capucci who has been instrumental in establishing the Italian style all over the world, come together in an original and exciting evening. A concert in scenic form,” continues Orazi, “conceived to be performed in sites of historical/artistic/environmental interest in Italy and the world, starting with the wonderful Nervi Park and the iconic Piazza del Duomo, Spoleto”.

Composed by Beethoven in 1801 for a ballet by Italian choreographer Salvatore Viganò, Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, Op. 43 was populated by Gods of Mount Olympus and Muses of Mount Parnassus, its libretto inspired by the myth of Prometheus, the titan who steals fire from the Gods to give it to his “creatures”, the men and women of the earth. And fire is precisely the thread that leads from the “Creatures of Prometheus” to the “Creatures of Capucci”; because if we consider fire not only as an element generating heat, but as a symbol of intelligence and talent, and if we consider Prometheus as a (good) bearer of light whereby – thanks to the spark of the Self – human beings can free themselves from the tyranny of the Gods, then it is from this very same fire that the genius of Capucci emerges and his boundless imagination can be expressed in absolute freedom.

And while the creatures of Beethoven’s Prometheus are beings made of flesh and blood, a shining, Apollonian humanity in the making, destined to civilization and progress thanks to the divine gifts of love, beauty and – above all – freedom, Capucci’s creatures are dreamlike, bizarre, Dionysian beings with raptors’ claws and sinuous serpentine coils (“images of madness”, according to Capucci himself). Their costumes have been exceptionally and sartorially tailored, under the couturier’s personal supervision, from 15 original sketches. Of these, 3 were exhibited in 2018 at Palazzo Pitti in Florence (“Capucci Dionisiaco”) and Palazzo Scarpetta in Naples (“Oneiric show. Drawings for the theatre”); the other 12 have been specially-designed.

Although always fascinated by the art of dance, Capucci approached it only very recently when Daniele Cipriani asked him to create two costumes for the Les Étoiles gala in Rome (January 2020). The successful experience, greeted by acclaim by both critics and public, has led to this new collaboration with Cipriani and to costumes that are reminiscent of the spectacular courtly masques of the Renaissance.

With entirely unique artistic processes, music and fashion come together in a double and original tribute to the creative genius and imaginative power of art. Thanks to Simona Bucci’s choreographic movements, conceived for the athletic and agile bodies of an uninhibited all-male cast, Capucci’s metamorphic characters appear as a procession of “otherworldly” creatures; like vaporous visions, they appear from all over the square (even from above) and then vanish, gathering together on stage only in the finale where social distancing is ensured by the puffs, pinwheels, ribbons, feathers, masks and carapaces of these phantasmagorical costumes.

In parallel to the potency inspired by the mythological characters, and in correspondence with the music, choreographer Bucci transforms the characters of Beethoven/Viganò into representations of the archetypes that shape the human psyche – and she does so with light brushstrokes and a stylised elegance of movement that intertwine with the exuberance of costumes and the magnificence of music.

Dancers of the Daniele Cipriani Company are joined by artists of various stripe, including dancers Riccardo Battaglia from the Alvin Ailey Company, Damiano Ottavio Bigi of the Tanztheater Wupperthal and others from Compagnia Simona Bucci, as well by mime artist Hal Yamanouchi whose enigmatic presence makes him a mysterious master of ceremonies of this visionary parade. Le Creature di Prometeo/Le creature di Capucci features video projections by Maxim Derevianko and lighting designs by Luciano Novelli.

A concert in scenic form, the backbone of Le Creature di Prometeo/Le creature di Capucci is obviously the Teatro Carlo Felice Orchestra of Genoa, under the inspired baton of Maestro Battistoni. The history of this prestigious orchestra is linked to the birth of the most important theatre in Genoa which was inaugurated in 1828; in more recent times it has been conducted by some of the world’s greatest conductors.

Photo: Raffaele Iorio by Marcello Orselli

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