Bomarzo's nightmare


About two hours drive north of Rome, It is the charming little medieval town of Viterbo, in the region of Lazio. On the outskirts of Viterbo, Bomarzo en, if levanta and Castello Orsini. Belonging to the Orsini, one of the most ancient and illustrious families in medieval Italy. Pier Francesco Orsini, hijo de Giovanni Corrado Orsini y Clarice Anguillara, managed to inherit the duchy years after his father's death. In 1550, after the death of his wife, Giulia Farnesio, Duke Orsini retired to live in Bomarzo surrounded by artists and literati, and was dedicated to the construction of the so-called Parco dei Mostri or Sacro Bosco, the garden of Bomarzo. A space in which the enigmatic and tortured sculptures that are hidden in the lush vegetation stand out. The opera Bomarzo chronicles the delusions of this extravagant duke, hunched to deformity and haunted by immortality. His dreams show the life of lust and corruption of the noble families of one of the most attractive times in history, el 500 Italian.

This garden of monsters was the inspiration of Manuel Mújica Láinez for his literary work Bomarzo and the libretto for the opera of the same name, to which Alberto Ginastera put music.

It is not easy to enter this production without having the keys that the reading of the work provides. The first thing that surprises is the absence of baroque style in Láinez's book. This creates a huge chasm that does not allow to fully connect with history. This Bomarzo by Pierre Audi appears naked before the public from the first scene. A large black hole dominates the entire scenario in which the different ages of the Duke of Orsini wander between dreams and nightmares. While, Jon Rafman's videos are shown showing sculptures from the garden of monsters and an approach to his dream world.

The scenography perfectly translates the oppressive and claustrophobic character that the protagonist suffers, but the literary ornaments that best connect with the time it relates are absent from it.. The result is haunting and Ginastera's score, master at describing the lowest instincts through music, it does nothing but enhance that concern. If it was about getting this effect, is fully achieved.

The musical version offered by David Afkham was brilliant. Millimeter precision for percussion that fills the score. How successful was the intervention of the vocal cast, very adjusted each one to his character. Too bad for an opera sung in Spanish, hardly anybody understood.

The choir performance, located in the pit next to one of the JORCAM members, offered some of the highlights of the performance. Especially the young Patricia Redondo in the song of the shepherd boy. Magnificent direction by Andrés Máspero and Ana González.

This Bomarzo is more theatrical than operatic. For this, we only have to highlight the good performance of John Daszak playing Pier Francesco Orsini. His character does not rest throughout the work and he managed to convey the true torment of Orsini through his dramatization and his heartbreaking voice. Despite being british, his diction was better than that of some nationals.

The young baritone Germán Olvera was a perfect Girolamo, frivolous and contemptuous. He had no problem singing completely naked on a platform. Courage is not lacking.

Alto Hilary Summers played Diana Orsini. The peculiarity of her voice gave the protagonist's role of grandmother a lot of character. A voice that notices the passage of time and that was very appropriate to the character.

The soprano Nicola Beller Carbone, as Julia Farnese, He fulfilled his role very well with a more than pleasant voice.

Interesting and powerful was also the voice and interpretation of the baritone Thomas Oliemans as Silvio de Nardi.

Milijana Nicolic is the mezzo-soprano who gave life to Pantasiela, one of the longest roles in the play that he defended with ease, both in the vocal and in the interpretation.

Contradictory feeling that Bomarzo leaves that was, Nonetheless, essential in the programming of a Royal Theater that this season is paying off some historical debts with the programming of certain works and authors.

Text: Paloma Sanz
pictures: Javier del Real
Video: Teatro Real

Music by Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)
Opera in two acts, Libreto by Manuel Mújica Lainez, based on his homonymous novel
Premiered at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington D. C. he 16 May 1967
New production of Teatro Real, in co-production with De Nationale Opera de Amsterdam
D. musical: David Afkham
D. scene: Pierre Audi
Stage designer and illuminator: Urs Schönebaum
Costume designer: Wojciech Dziedzic
Playwright: Klaus Bertisch
Video-Maker: Jon Rafman
D. choir: Andrés Máspero
D. Little Singers choir: Ana González
Distribution: John Daszak, Germán Olvera, Damian del Castillo, James Creswell, Hilary Summers,
Milijana Nikolic, Nicola Beller Carbone, Thomas Oliemans, Albert Casals, Francis Tójar