Carla Moreni, 15.12.2013

A safe bet, even for this new inauguration of the Phoenix. (...)

Weighted and measured, the direction by Leo Muscato has the rare advantage of  redeeming the heart of this theatrical opera by Meyerbeer.

(...)The dances are reduced. And some turn up their noses, as you know,  the choreographic moment is the characteristic ingredient of Polettone. But the time of crisis, the substantial portion expunged is amply justified. And then, with a dramatic structure marked by so much prose as this invented by Muscato, essential, linear, heir to the best school Italian, insert any dance - even contemporary - he would come into friction.

(...)In terms of contemporary direction, to Muscato it is proof that you can do theater digging into the fabric of the story that the opera recounts. Without necessarily (too easy) to recount another. Here in Africa was evoked in this short video, the introduction of any act,  by Fabio Massimo and Luca IaquoneAttilii. Touching  but quick, without rhetoric. The beautiful lights of Alexander Verazzi were stolen from the Venetian painting.





By Paolo Isotta, 27/11/2013

Directed by Leo Muscato, of scenes by Massimo Checchetto and costumes by Carlos Tieppo, is smart, fast, economical.





Francesco Rapaccioni, 29/11/13

(...) In the face of a so complex  score and a bundled story the director could simplify or objectify. Leo Muscato, sensitive and intelligent, takes the second road making it of  fairytale aestheticism but without forgetting the first: the story with objectivity in order to make it understandable and especially

grasp the hooks with the contemporary. Meyerbeer wrote the work as an act of denunciation of colonialism and slavery: the knowledge of new lands is the excuse to conquer them and strip them for the benefit of the economic power of the European kingdoms. From here Muscato, who shares the thesis and discounts: just think of the importance it gives to duet Selika-Nélusko in prison in the background of the mistreatment of prisoners and at the insisted obscurantism reigning in the libretto by Scribe: fear of the unknown, pain tolerance for knowledge, the condemnation of all fanaticism, mali vintage but still ubiquitous. Especially the director makes visible the story told in the book with a great sense of theater, attentive and charming management of the masses, calibrated and measured gestures of the protagonists always full of meaning and evocative of the character and intentions.

Accomplices essential for the success of the exhibition are the stagecraft devices. The simple but meaningful and effective scene Massimo Checchetto uses a tilted platform coming out of the black square, rigidly marked, the proscenium. In the first two acts, covered with red and with walnut furniture, the platform becomes sumptuous Portuguese  interiors; in the third act, bare tables and arranged like the deck of a ship, breathe the open sea; in the last two acts, covered in light blue, it assumes an exotic place, spanning to India but not only there. The beautiful costumes by Carlos Tieppo decline a baroque initial almost monochromatic in the early acts and a colorful Rajasthan for the rest, respectful of historical fact but, for obvious theatrical reasons , instead  with fake corsages for the  Indians introduced in the English era. The cheerful costumes of Indian women contrast with the white dress of Selika in the finale, biased above the sea: a sati hair cut that she has sacrificed for love, although not on the funeral pyre of her husband which has allowed her to leave with the man she loves. If this is not love, then what is love? Fundamental to the success of the show the perfect lights Alessandro Verazzi: the greater environmental suggestion the viewer proof thanks to total black, mysterious, eerie, absorbing surrounding the scene and that makes it stand out as never before because it contains; rays falling from above with a material consistency like thick brush strokes of color, mainly red and yellow. Not to mention the striking effect of the candles in the four lumiere of the scene with the Inquisitor in which the tones turn a yellowish white for moments of reflection.

Fundamental in the economy of the show even videos of Fabio Massimo Iaquone and Luca Attili, screened in the prevailing black and white images just mentioned who not only want merely banal and “modernize " the work but rather to demonstrate the contemporary themes , suggesting comparisons and closeness and keeping alive the attention of the viewer . At first the work speaks of conquest and then here are the new colonialisms.





By Mario Messinis, 11/24/2013

Appropriately director Leo Muscato has avoided the usual discounting (except for some action video not necessary): The africaine done today is a work of unknown that is useful to represent, like last night, so acutely historicized. The cut and exotic Renaissance is well evidenced by the costumes of Carlos Tieppo, while the essential scene setting (wisely economical) is designed with beautiful slimness by Massimo Checchetto. Overall a remarkable production for a work that deserves to be given attention.





By David Annachini, 03/12/2013

Leo Muscato, probably having to make a virtue of necessity in an era just indicated to stage a Grand-Opera, has succeeded in general minimalist architecture (except for the act of the ship, rebuilt properly) to

pack a performance of a certain suggestion, very respectful of the music - that in a recovery like this is even more character than usual - and well resolved even in the most complex paintings, thanks to the functional scenes of Massimo Checchetto, the beautiful costumes by Carlos Tieppo and lights determinant by Alexander Verazzi.





By Henry Bettinello, 24/10/2013

Leo Muscato moves the action on a simple inclined plane that becomes a prison (with an atrocious executions in the background), the bridge of the ship attacked by savages, stylized beach or sea where it juts out the promontory on which tingles and dies the unfortunate Queen Selika (a good Veronica Simeoni). Simple and effective.





Giuseppe Pennisi, 24/10/2013

The dramaturgy of Leo Muscato shows that, under the historical events of the sentimental fifties films, there are two fundamental themes, unusual for the era 1840-1865 in which the work is conceived: feminism and anti-racism. The two female protagonists (the Portuguese Inès, Jessica Pratt, and the Indian Selika, Veronica Simeoni), while rivals in love with the same man (Vasco de Gama, Gregory Kunde) annihilate the male lead and defeated both the Great Council of Lisbon both the court Brahmin. Racism and colonialism are then reported without any hesitation (although it had at the time of the Bismarckian-European Empires). The scenes of Massimo Cecchetto and videos of Fabio Massimo Iaquone and Luca Attilii use a footrest; props and a lot of technology (archive also the Wars of Africa in 1911 and 1936 and projections of colonialism to this day). The special effects are created by film spectacular. 





By Cesare Galla, 24.10.2013

COURAGE. It is customary to say, in these cases, that bringing back such a work is an act of courage. In fact, it is a choice of real culture, the implementation of one of the main "business objectives" of Foundations lyrics: the preservation and revival of the culture called Opera. The courage, if anything, lies in how the africaine was proposed. Courage only right, because it goes in the direction of the absolute necessity to optimize resources. And then, in the blockbuster directed by Leo Muscato becomes a non-blockbuster and plays the card of essentiality. In scene enough a platform tilted and few objects almost symbolic (production designer Massimo Cecchetto); costumes (Carlos Tieppo) tell the time and the idea of ​​the exotic typical nineteenth century. There are also videos in steps of action, on the instrumental preludes, where Muscato introduced his idea "policy "Africaine as indictment of colonialism and slavery. The images of the great explorations over the centuries soon gave way to the visual documents of the North as the world oppresses the South, then and now. On stage the masses are sparse, the focus on the lyrical and sentimental side of the plot, you work to bring to light the core sentimental and erotic, the one in which most Meyerbeer settles his paw, much to foreshadow decadent atmosphere with thirty years in advance.





Alessandro Cammarano 24/10/2013

Leo Muscato decides to narrate, to expose the facts, for they are confused, with great simplicity and elegance. It is not a museum operation,  "tradition" does not always necessarily correspond  to a calligraphic vision who winks to lexical cloying elements. Muscato choose naturalism, states the facts, leaving the audience to imagine the rest; the movements of the masses are fluid, the gestures of the protagonists eloquent and measured at the same time, the by-play well researched. In full agreement with the idea of ​​directing the beautiful scenes by Massimo Checchetto, made of a few well-chosen elements that explode with life thanks to the effective design of lights by Alessandro Verazzi. Elegant costumes by Carlos Tieppo, which shows well the dichotomy between two worlds by choosing neutral colors for the Portuguese and bright shades for the Indians.




William Fratti, 26/11/2013

(...) An excellent and meticulous direction made on each of the interpreters, by the actors in supporting roles, from singers to mimes and extras. Everyone has an action to be performed, a gesture to produce, with a look that conveys an emotion or intention. And so Muscato proves that he can do his job very well, because it all makes sense, even in what goes on behind the scenes or next solo, for the duration of the five acts of the story.

The scenic skill of Massimo Checchetto is being noticed in the grandeur of the third act, when the stern of a late fifteenth ship literally fills the stage. Beautiful is the final storm, in which undulate, the fall and rise of the performers - stride - really leaves you to understand the sudden movements of the ship at the mercy of the typhoon. The other parts of the work are almost totally devoid of scenes, with little tooling required, but highly evocative effect, because nothing ever seems to be missing.

Completing the success of the show the beautiful costumes of Carlos Tieppo rightly measured, never too flash, but with every necessary detail to characterize the characters. The same applies to the lights of Alexander Verazzi, suggestive and skillful in giving prominence to action (...)





By Giosetta Guerra, 01.12.2013

Concreteness and exoticism in crowd scenes from grand opera and paintings poetic intimacy and solitude.

(...) The director Leo Muscato and production designer Massimo Checchetto create both realistic environments that are of fictional setting, enhanced by the beautiful costumes of Carlos Tieppo and completed by the evocative lights of Alessandro Verazzi (which also uses the bull's eye focused on the protagonists) and the video of Fabio Massimo Iaquone and Luca Attilii projected at the beginning of each act to retrace the history of colonialism and discoveries up to the landing on the moon.