Swiss Premiere of Luigi Nono’s AL GRAN SOLE CARICO D’AMORE

Theater Basel, Switzerland

As its opening production for the 2019/20 season Theater Basel is planning the Swiss premiere of Luigi Nono’s scenic action Al gran sole carico d’amore. The production, which premiered in Milan in 1975, is intended to trigger intense public debate on the political, humanist dimension of the work. Luigi Nono’s declared aim was not only to challenge listeners of his works as recipients of music and to “awaken the ear”, but also to motivate them to intellectual empathy and political participation. At times he deliberately moved away from the circles of New Music, which were perceived by some members of the public as elitist, in order to present his works, amongst other things, to the working class in factories. Even though Nono saw himself as a communist, he never let himself be appropriated for party ideology. His humanitarian approach was comprehensive: “All my works always emanate from a human incentive: an event, an experience, a text of our life touches on my instinct and my conscience and wants me to bear witness as a musician as well as a human being”.

In his scenic action Al gran sole carico d’amore, Luigi Nono focuses on figures who fought against injustice at various points in history – and failed in the process. In his libretto he links the most diverse literary sources, such as eyewitness accounts, historical commentaries and literary debates – and thus spans a wide arc that stretches from the Paris Commune to the Vietnam War and which, in its historical-geographical dimension, seems to go beyond space and time. In particular, Nono created a monument to the women who played a key role in the revolutionary struggles. He wrote these women and the other revolutionaries a kind of requiem, also aimed at reminding us of the need to never give up the fight against injustice. Especially today, when the moral compass of our society seems to be subject to recalibration in many places, Theater Basel views a topical examination of Al gran sole carico d’amore as urgent – with all the necessary critical distance to the work that was sometimes misunderstood in the past as communist “confessional theatre”.

With Al gran sole carico d’amore, Nono draws on the possibilities of a large orchestra and stage apparatus, a challenge that Theater Basel accepts. Direction comes care of Sebastian Baumgarten, who is linked to the work by a strong spiritual affiliation. Due to the close interlocking of musical form and political concerns in Nono’s œuvre, the two cannot be considered separately. Therefore, an extensive accompanying program is planned as part of the Basel performances in order to make the work and its context accessible to the general public in the Here and Now.

September14, 20, 22, 28 and 29, 2019
Große Bühne, Theater Basel, Switzerland

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