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At the Petruzzelli Theater in Bari “The Fiery Angel” by Prokofiev directed by Emma Dante, on the podium Jordi Bernàcer
A rare and fascinating title, proposed in the installation created in 2019 for the Rome Opera, with the addition of some new features
Tickets on vivaticket.com. Last minute tickets: last-minute sales start one hour before the show. For the Opera and Ballet season there is a discount of 50%.

Petruzzelli Opera Symphonic Foundation and Bari Theaters Presenta

“Opera and Ballet Season 2024”
With The angel of fire of Sergej Prokofiev, the Petruzzelli Theater in Bari brings a fascinating rarity of 20th century musical theater to the stage: on the bill from 17 to 23 April 2024, the visionary work of the Russian composer is presented in the installation created by Emma Dante in 2019 for the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

On the podium, at the helm of theOrchestra and Choir of the Petruzzelli Theater the Spanish master climbs Jordi Bernàcer. The filming of the direction is entrusted to Federico Gagliardi, the scenes are from Carmine Maringola, the costumes of Vanessa Sannino, the lighting design of Christian Zucaro, the choreography by Manuela Lo Sicco; Master of Arms is Sandro Maria Countryside, Choir Master, Roberta Peroni.

They are protagonists on stage Ángeles Blanca Gulín in the role of Renata, Dimitris Tiliakos in that of Ruprecht (parts played respectively by Madina Karbeli is Ramaz Chikviladze in the performance of April 18), Byung Gil Kim like The Inquisitor, Mert Süngü, Mephistopheles, Natalia Gavrilan, The fortune teller, Sava Vemić, Johann Faust, Nino Surguladze, Landlady of the inn, Tigran Melkonyan, Agrippa von Nettesheim, Chiara Mogini, The Mother Superior, Gregory Bonfatti, Jacob Glock,  Mariano Orozco, Mathias Wissman; complete the cast Murat Can Guvem (Doctor), Francesco Leone (Servant), Stephen Marchisio (Innkeeper), Stella Hu (First novice), Aoxue Zhu (Second novice).

The angel of fire, an opera in five acts and 7 scenes with a libretto by the same Prokofiev, is based on the historical novel of the same name published in installments between 1907 and 1908 by the Russian Symbolist poet and writer Valery Bryusov (1873-1924). Prokofiev worked for a long time on the score, which began in 1920 and was finally completed only in 1927, an unusually long period of time for the composer, who was generally quick to complete his works.

Visionary and complex work, The angel of fire is considered today among the highest achievements of Prokofiev's entire theatrical production, but the author never managed to see it on stage: the troubled drafting of the score, the symbolist and decadent aspects of the plot derived from Bryusov's novel, to which counterbalances the hallucinated vehemence of the music, are among the circumstances that led to a first performance not only late, about thirty years after completion, but even posthumously, two years after the composer's death. After a concert performance limited to the second act in 1928, the work was not spoken of again until 1952, when the score was found at Prokofiev's Parisian publisher. The idea of presenting it was born, but the composer died on 5 March 1953 - The posthumous rediscovery ofFire angel it first saw a performance in concert form in November 1954 in Paris for Radio France, and finally in 1955 the first stage performance, at the opening of the XVIII International Festival of Venice, where it was presented in the Italian version, conducted by Nino Sonzogno and directed by Giorgio Strehler; since then the work has entered the international repertoire.

A dark and shocked world burns in the notes of The angel of fire by Prokofiev, set in the dark and disturbing Germany of the 16th century, among esotericism, witchcraft and duels; a devout nun, a hysterical witch, Faust and Mephistopheles, an inquisitor, appear. The story is that of a tragic obsession that unfolds between mysticism, eros and madness: the protagonist is Renata, a young girl guided since she was a child by her guardian angel Madiel' (who turns out to be a devil) to lead her towards a chaste and holiness life ; when she becomes an adult she falls in love with him, and the furious angel transforms into a pillar of fire, leaving Renata prey to an unquenchable desire. The protagonist's story progresses in a whirlwind of duels, esoteric practices, magical creatures and hysteria, to land in a convent, where amid solitudes and demonic visions she will be sentenced to the stake by the Inquisition for having carnally connived with the Devil.

In the vision of Emma Dante, the story is set in a timeless dimension, in a space that resembles a crypt and that evokes the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, a womb of the earth, dotted with skeletons. The fire angel is a break dancer who dances on his hands, upside down, his legs are his wings, the ground is his sky. “A choreography of hypocrisy” defines it as the director who admits: “Prokofiev's masterpiece involved me to the core, to the point of enchantment, giving me a creative energy that is in a certain sense almost equal, if I think about it well, to the vigor, to the strength of the figure of Renata, the protagonist who summarizes in herself the dense tones and dark colors, but also the energy of accents of all The Fiery Angel, a lyrical tragedy that for me develops incessantly, sensationally and wildly around a woman. Besieged by an angel who is the devil, by suggestions of arcane stimuli, by strange and magical creatures. But Renata is still a woman, who in a fantastic beginning is possessed, possessed, then faces physically stormy moments"

~

(Photocredit © Yasuko Kageyama – Teatro dell'Opera di Roma)
At the Petruzzelli Theater in Bari “The Fiery Angel” by Prokofiev directed by Emma Dante, on the podium Jordi Bernàcer

Other information of interest

The plot

Act One

The attic of an inn in Germany in the 16th century.
The knight Ruprecht, returning from a long trip to America, has taken lodgings in an inn. But his arrival is disturbed by the desperate cries of a woman coming from the adjoining room. After knocking down the door, he meets the young Renata who, in a vain attempt to repel an invisible attacker, throws herself in anguish into his arms. When the infernal vision fades, Renata tells the knight her story. During her childhood, the young woman was constantly visited by the angel Madiel, who implored her to keep herself pure because one day she would face martyrdom. However, Renata, who had become a woman over time, felt an ardent passion for that supernatural being and begged him to unite with her carnally. However, the angel, indignant at this proposal, disappeared. He later announced to her that he would show himself to her again in the guise of a simple mortal. The young woman, in desperation, then thought she recognized him in Count Heinrich, with whom she spent two years of intense happiness before being abandoned by him. Since that day, Renata wanders haunted by infernal visions in search of the Count under whose guise she believes her beloved Madiel hides. The story is interrupted by the arrival of the landlady of the inn. The woman warns Ruprecht that Renata is a lost female: she has bewitched Count Heinrich, has tormented the people of the village and therefore will now have to abandon her lodgings. The knight, increasingly fascinated by the mysterious young woman, after having tried in vain to seduce her, witnesses the visit of a fortune teller who predicts a violent death for Renata. But Ruprecht, now in love with her, drags the young woman with him ready to be her companion in her wanderings.

Second act

First picture. A room in Cologne.
While Renata consults a book on magic, Ruprecht complains about the continuous and fruitless searches aimed at finding Count Heinrich. But the young woman does not care about him and after receiving some sheets containing magical formulas from the bookseller Jacob Glock, she evokes demonic spirits in the presence of Ruprecht in the hope of discovering the whereabouts of her beloved. But this expedient fails. On Glock's advice, the knight then decides to consult the wise magician and scientist Agrippa of Nettesheim.

Second picture. Agrippa's laboratory.
Ruprecht finally meets Agrippa, who however refuses to help him, declaring himself against the practice of occult sciences. From a corner of the laboratory, three human skeletons deny the magician's claims.

Act Three

First picture. In front of Count Heinrich's house.
Renata has finally found Count Heinrich, but he has chased her away, accusing her of being possessed. The young woman then asks Ruprecht to kill him: in fact she no longer recognizes the Count as the celestial Madiel, but as a vile seducer. After an initial hesitation, Ruprecht accepts his beloved's request. However, while he challenges the Count to a duel, Renata believes she sees the appearance of the angel in Heinrich again. Shocked by this vision, the young woman begs Ruprecht not to fight the angelic creature: but unfortunately the duel is established and the knight walks away, determined to kill his rival.

Second picture. A steep bank of the Rhine.
Ruprecht, who was seriously injured during the duel with Count Heinrich, is comforted by the words of Renata, who only then realizes that she loves him and openly declares it to the knight. An invisible choir ironically comments on the young woman's offers of love while in the meantime, in the company of Mathias Wissman, a university student friend of Ruprecht who has agreed to act as his second, a doctor arrives who is preparing to save the life of the sick knight .

Act Four

A square in Cologne.
Renata, wracked with remorse for her reckless actions, has decided to abandon the now convalescent Ruprecht to retreat to a monastery. During the heated discussion that arises between the two lovers, Johann Faust and Mephistopheles arrive and, after having terrified the owner of the tavern with diabolical miracles at the expense of a poor boy, invites Ruprecht to be their guide around the city on the day following.

Act Five

In the basement of a convent.
A powerful Inquisitor, summoned by the Mother Superior, is preparing to interrogate Renata who has become a novice: from the day the young woman entered the convent, peace seems to have disappeared and the nuns are troubled by sinister visions. In vain the Inquisitor tries to banish the devil from Renata's soul: the young woman, however, feeling unjustly accused, rails against him, accusing him of being an instrument of the devil himself, while the possessed nuns dance frantically around her. Mephistopheles, who has arrived in the company of Faust and Ruprecht, observes what is happening unseen. Ruprecht would like to help Renata but is stopped by Mephistopheles: after a long ritual to which the nuns respond with disordered reactions and a growing paroxysm, the Inquisitor accuses Renata of witchcraft and condemns her to the stake

Interpreters

director Jordi Bernàcer
direction Emma Dante

directed by Federico Gagliardi
scenes Carmine Maringola
costumes Vanessa Sannino
light design Christian Zucaro
choreography Manuela Lo Sicco
master of arms Sandro Maria Campagna
choir master Roberta Peroni

Main interpreters
Renata Ángeles Blancas Gulín  /
Madina Karbeli (18 Apr)
The Inquisitor Byung Gil Kim
Mephistopheles Mert Süngü
The fortune teller Natalia Gavrilan
Johann Faust Sava Vemić
Ruprecht Dimitris Tiliakos /
Ramaz Chikviladze (18 Apr)

Orchestra and Choir of the Petruzzelli Theater

Production | Rome Opera House

Program

The angel of fire
Music by Sergej Prokofiev

Opera in five acts and seven scenes
Libretto by the composer from a novel by Valery Bryusov

First performance in concert form
Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 25 November 1954

Replicas

17 April 2024 at 8.30pm 'before'
performances 18 and 18 April at 8.30pm
21st and 23rd April at 6.00pm

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