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activities - workshop / meeting/ contests - the "40 years in 2000" competition - gattomachia


13-15 Dicember 2002

L'Aquila, Teatro S. Filippo
December 13-14-15

realization of the winning work in the III edition of the
"Quarant'anni nel 2000" Competition
in the context of "Corpi del suono 2002"


"Gatti da suonare"
Music by Maria Cristina de Amicis and Michelangelo Lupone
Francesca Angeli ideation
Helene Franck, Anna Clementi, Paola Campanini voices on tape


composition in one act for actor/actress-singers, flutes, percussion instruments, group of children, tape and live electronics (2002)
on texts freely adapted from Lope de Vega's "Gatomachia" (1634)
Music by Roberta Vacca

Anna Clementi soprano
Bruno Zeni actor
Birgit Nolte flute
Alessandro Tomassetti percussion
Paola Campanini costumes, designs and puppets
Allegra Amici special effects
Pablo Montagne live electronics
Corrado Rea light design
Dino Iovannetti lights operator
Vanessa Gasbarri production assistant
Carlo Volpe sound production
Francesca Angeli video inserts and production
Istituto Gramma, L'Aquila electronic production

Produced by: Istituto GRAMMA - Federazione CEMAT - l'Uovo/Teatro Stabile di Innovazione
with the support of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage & Activities - General Directorate of Live Entertainment

GATTOMACHIA is a tale of amorous betrayals and ambushes in a society of cats at any moment of time.
Intended for an audience of from 5 to 105 years' old, the work is animated, illustrated, recounted, commented and set to music with acoustic and electronic instruments. The decision to combine different expressive levels is linked to the need for constructing, through fantasy, a dynamic and global experience of the senses: an artistic experience balanced between image, action, words and sounds.
The text is adapted from Lope de Vega's "Gatomachia" (1634), a poem dedicated by the author to his son. In this mock-heroic ballade lurks a law of duplicity and circumspection, typical of cat society (and not only that!) which assumes a dimension that touches chords more secret than human ones and sets the feline world vibrating. A singular and strange modernity of an "Epos of the Cat" is revealed in the scenes of jealousy and brawling between cats, in the whimsicality of the clothes and  ornaments, in the aura overflowing with the indulgent and amiable superiority that evokes (even too much) "human" falling in love, rivalry and coquetry. The characters in this gallery of cats (Marramaquiz - the Roman cat, Micifuf - the pander cat, Zapachilda - the very beautiful cat) boast the feats of hectic hunters for food over the roofs, in the larders and kitchens and of irresistible seducers, although for the most part they are indomitable thieves, famished and homeless. The sound  environment endeavours, also through original citations (Rossini, Duetto dei Gatti), to impersonate the cats first as human beings and then as what they actually are in all the facets of their "pussycat" nature, characterized by that tender irony which conveys fascination, almost an ideal reference (thanks also to the borrowed piece) to a sort of feline genetic code.

The function of the electronics is on two levels: that in real time (live electronics) and that in deferred time (tape); the tape is used for the setting, narration and comments on the events; the live electronics for multiplication of the "voices" of the characters on stage so as to demonstrate their polyhedric personality. It is the percussion instruments which amalgamate the continually changing characters/environments/ psychologies, with sound material that is linked to the places where the story unfolds, together with the flute which is frequently used with an almost hypnotic, bewitching function to re-establish "order" in the different temperamental feline situations. The result is a sonorous discourse, similar at times to the miaowing, at times to the wailing, at times to the hum of the characters taking part in the events.
The elements on the tape (the result of work on samples of the voices of the participants in addition to the instruments) are the dialectical alter ego of the live performers; in this way a theatricality is generated that is entirely based on language. The structure of the work follows the strophic structure of the text, often also through repetition of the sections, alternating narration and comment with a refrain that recalls the figure of the troubadour.



VichingoMaramachizZapachildaZapachilda's fatherMicifufZapachilda at the mirrorZapachildaMichifufdvd cover