WORLD PREMIERE OF THE OPERA “TRAIANO IN TRACIA”
The idea for the opera Traiano in Tracia was born during a conversation between the composer André Catelli and the conductor Anthony Armore, in March 2018: an opera composed for the city of Stara Zagora and for the Bulgarian people, specially made to be produced in the Antique Forum, which is both the Theatrical Scenery and the actual setting of the plot, whose background is the Dacian Wars. Today’s ruins are, in the opera, a building under construction. It is the irony that underlies the final vows of the choir, that “shell Pax Romana be eternal”. It is the prophecy of the priest of Sabazio, who criticizes the construction of “what will soon be only ruins.”
Catelli quickly wrote the story and libretto, unpretentiously, with elements and conflicts consecrated in the world of the opera. The romance between a Roman Soldier and the Christian neophyte whose father is a pagan priest who abhors Roman domination – there is an allegory here to the emergence of nationalism, nowadays, as a reaction to the European Union. In the opera wins the union, the common destiny, the Thracian vocation to be the bastion of the Europeanism against the Eastern threat, but also the valorization of the local, the particular, the national. As did the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in Central Europe.
Dispersed throughout the text, original in essence, are Latin expressions, lines of Voltaire (beginning of the soldiers choir), Petrarca (What do I feel if this is not love?…), Homer (in the Trajan’s description of the Elysium) , and very subtle references to Otello, Aida, Macbeth, Rigoletto, Nabucco, Tosca, Turandot, Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Giovanni and La Clemenza di Tito.
In the agile and vigorous, colorful music, there is a myriad of diluted influences from Berlioz, Gluck, Verdi, the Russian ballet, the Viennese Waltz, the Madrigals of Monteverdi, Carlos Gomes, Baroque counterpoint, Bruckner and Wagner – bold harmony and adoption of the leitmotiv. There are fugitive musical quotations, from Mozart’s Coronation Mass (Meda says that there is only one God), the National Anthem of Bulgaria (Meda says goodbye to her motherland), Cherubini’s Medea Overture (a foreigner in Corinth), the theme of Trajan – an excerpt from the fugato of the Battle near the Birman Forest, in the last act of Verdi’s Macbeth. The opera has the same duration as Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana: approximately 75 minutes.
This is an opera composed by someone distant in space – Brazil – and in time – XXI century, where all these heterogeneous influences, of times and places so disparate, could come together, naturally. Thus, this opera, essentially European and nineteenth century, could only be composed in the New World, and in the New Millennium.
The present performance was possible due to the involvement of professionals from Brazil, Italy, Bulgaria, Austria, USA, Denmark, Russia, Mexico, and several other countries. Remote but extremely agile communication, through electronic applications, the use of advanced music notation software and the possibility of file sharing are also characteristics of this new time of composing and producing music.