Auditive reflection in three scenes
Music Sara Caneva
Libretto Stefano Simone Pintor
Plot Sara Caneva and Stefano Simone Pintor, based on a personal experience of the composer and freely drawn from the same theatrical play by Stefano Simone Pintor
Conductor Sara Caneva
Stage director Luca Bargagna
Set designer Giada Abiendi
Costume designer Chicca Ruocco
Lighting designer Marco Alba
Production Teatro dell’Opera, Roma
Clea Valentina Varriale
Prof. Fraud Timofei Baranov (singing role) – Matteo Cecchi (playing role)
Ondina Erika Beretti
Eustachio Flavio Francucci
Guests of La Casa di Risuono Recorded treble voice Choir
Orchestra Youth Orchestra of the Teatro dell'Opera, Rome
The production was staged at the Teatro Nazionale, Rome in November 2017
Produced as final work of the biennial residency project “Fabbrica” Young Artist Program - First Edition 2016/2017 of the Teatro dell'Opera, Rome
The subject of this work is a reflection upon the problem of the loss of our senses at an old age. Once lost, all our interpersonal relationships change, some normal activities become heroic deeds. Of course, among the many aspects of life that slow down in speed and change in meaning, there is, clearly, our capability of hearing. Nevertheless, this inability to communicate on a real level, can open us the doors to another level of communication with the universe of our sensitive, our imagination, our unconscious.
The elderly Signora Clea (soprano) is welcomed by the director of the Casa di Risuono, prof. Fraud (actor): he describes her and praises the benefits of his "Ear & Now" rehabilitation program, able to restore hearing over all frequencies and solve countless other physical problems of patients over the years. This is possible through the Reartronic, which is installed to the guests' ears. Fraud explains, among other things, that all Reartronic are registered and connected to each other and that they can only be removed from the ear for five minutes a day. The speech continues until Clea, bored, extinguishes her old hearing aid in order not to hear and is distracted in her "Off" world of imaginary memories and melodies, picking up pieces of Fraud's words from time to time.
The hour of the daily activity for the guests of the house is reached: in the salon a string trio performs Mozart. With the occasion the prof. Fraud also invites Clea to attend the concert, and she gladly accepts. During the performance, however, her listening gradually becomes more disturbed and difficult; thus, she finally convinces herself to try Fraud's treatment. At the end of the concert, in fact, she gives him half of her belongings and he immediately proceeds to install the Reartronic, greedily congratulating his new guest and introducing her to the other guests in the dining room.
The refectory is crowded with elders (choir), who celebrate the arrival of the attendants and the desired dishes with nursery rhymes. Clea finally finds a place to sit at the table of the lame Ondina (mezzosoprano), which makes abundant grievances about it. Ondina collects objects that she places in calculated places and has a real mania for balance: she is convinced that the weights and the distribution of matter affect her health. The two ladies begin to talk about this and that, the past record of others, the strange hearing noise that Clea noticed in the Reartronic... In the repetitive mumble of the refectory, the prof. Fraud starts another dissertation, which unleashes the wrath of Eustachio (bass-baritone), former trumpet player now completely deaf, marginalized and full of resentment for the lack of progress of his impairment. His case is so serious that it has made him regress even in the use of language. Someone else joins the dissent, and Clea, without understanding withdraws; then everyone leaves the room, except Eustachio.
Night fell and Eustachio is alone with his toy trumpet. Clea, sleepless, wanders around the house and, seeing Eustachio, approaches him. Struck by his story, that Ondina had mentioned, she is interested in him and decides that she wants to communicate with him at all costs, by means of the touch, sound vibrations and the sight. In doing so, she uses a few objects of Ondina. The two seems to be capable to establish a connection. Eustachio slowly becomes more friendly and both end up removing the Reartronic.
Before the five minutes of free time expire, Ondina goes to reorder for breakfast her weighed objects, which sees all out of place; she also realizes the abandoned Reartronic and taking them in her hand, recklessly makes them fall and shatter. Suddenly an alarm sounds in everyone's Reartronic, the chorus comes stunned by the deafening noise: in the general fury everyone tries to deactivate the Reartronic and to stop the voice of Fraud booming everywhere giving instructions. Clea and Eustachio also find themselves involved in this upheaval, which, once extinguished and destroyed all the devices, culminates in a deafening silence. It becomes clear to all the elderly, the futility of the electronic ear and the need to accept a different state of listening, more intimate, but no less beautiful just because imperfect. Eustachio, in particular, comforted by the new collective condition, after years of mortification reconciles with his instrument, allowing himself to play it once again.