The OPERA, February 2014


By David Annachini


After more than 30 years Fiorentino Nabucco  sees himself at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale, in a setting so intense and evocative as it is simple.

(...) Here, as in the recent Venetian  Africaine, Leo Muscato confirmed the rare quality of being able to combine the simplicity of staging the intensity of the representation, always in deep respect for music. His path has been like a Nebuchadnezzar of atmospheres, where the light is a protagonist, creating enchanting mixture and poetic with essential effects as decisive, signed by Alessandro Verazzi. Also the color of the scenes of Tiziano Santi amalgamated with that of costumes by Silvia Aymonino created a visual mix of great beauty, but almost minimalist in the essentiality of the system, providing prominence to action and to the strength of the Verdi writing. Predictably at this point the success by a very warm audience, which seemed finally shake apathy that characterized certain Florentine productions of recent times.



WWW.TEATRO.ORG, 24/01/2014


By Francesco Rapaccioni

Leo Muscato is a director who is from prose and it is always compared with the lyric so deeply sensitive and intelligent: one side shows great respect for the music and the libretto, the other highlight aspects of content by placing them under the magnifying glass with attention and dedication that turns singers actors in enhancing the singing and the score. In this case the key of interpretation is already in the set design by Tiziano Santi. High stone walls of warm orange paths  as corroded by woodworm holes, cracks that let in light and allow you to look beyond: life calls us to terrible and decisive  trials but still allows us to verify that an elsewhere is not only possible but is at hand, over the wall, a very short distance. It is enough just to  want it. So emanates maximum strength of "Va 'pensiero" which combines the power of faith and the search for a better future that is, it should be remembered, next. The scenic box  assumes different connotations depending on the place: a bunker for the Jews, lit by the fire as a sign of the presence of the divine; an extension that denotes a richness not glitzy but essential to the Babylonians. Effective and meaningful the appearance of Nabucco: the back wall is split in half and reveals a retro-space immense and empty, where there is only with Nabucco behind a curtain of flickering fire, the first sign of the admixture of political  power and religious power, the king who is believed Almighty, the King who is god. The costumes by Silvia Aymonino maintain the historical setting and to identify chromatic masses the ethno-religious groups: white-brown for Jews, red-orange for the Babylonians. The weapons are bows and arrows to indicate that the words and decisions kill more than the traditional tools of offense. The strings wrap around the wrists of the prisoners, and they cling to each other in a human chain of suffering.  Particularly essential and stand  are the lights of Alessandro Verazzi that help to make the representation realistic and, at the same time, cloaked in symbolism, as a paradigmatic story. In the desert is tinged with orange dusty, at other times they pass by dazzling comfortable  white to yellow, he never forgets to emphasize the solos or to wrap up  choir and extras. The direction cleverly  moves the choir and for the protagonist the direction confronts itself with the singles individuality : a perfect start, with the mass traversed by tremors and non-aligned movement to demonstrate an inner turmoil that flows in the group coded and determines the overall behavior. Muscato starts from the inside to get out. Identified as the stylistic apparatus scenic artist, it follows that the theme that the director enucleates is Faith: the loss, the research, the conquest of Fedem also declined so as secular ideals of the Risorgimento which Verdi claimed and which are inseparable from his music era. Perfect and exciting Va 'pensiero: the back wall is raised and the people come in, stopping in the proscenium with a composition wave, not static, not dynamic, the motion is interior and, in this scene, if it perceives a pale reflection outwardly. So a director to be put "on the throne" for clarity and emotion that gives viewers both in detecting meanings in the clarity of the system (such as the baptism of Fenena, who stands out as a relief of classical plasticity).



THE REPUBLIC, 30.09.2012


By  Guido Barbieri.

(...) If a wall was a body cracks would be his wounds. For this the immense stone wall that looms constantly on Nabucco by Verdi staged by the Cagliari Opera is crossed by cuts, tears, cracks. A black prison, into which penetrate only violent beams of white light, which becomes, objectively, the explicit metaphor of the Israeli people: wounded, prisoners,  excluded from the light of God. Inside this powerful stage box, imagined by Leo Muscato (...)



UNIONE SARDA, 29.09.2012


Maria Paola Masala

(...) A Leo Muscato, director and playwright, the task of reducing the essence of a story irraccontabile for its complexity; on the one hand the invaders, the other reservoirs. The god of one or the other. And in the midst of the weaknesses of men. Suffering for love, as Fenena and Ishmael. Who are damned to emerge, such as Nabucco and Abigaille. The power is the key to everything. The struggle to affirm. As always made of prevarication, the contrast between the reality that this charade n are accommodated in a box, separate but side by side. To give a flavor of eternal contemporaneity are the characters. And the director's ability to return to each of them a composite personality, never sketchy. So, is the winning choice to support a child in which Abigaille revise herself, her expectations, her childhood dreams. Or to mark clearly with a semi paralysis body of Nabucco, reached by the arrows of Jehovha. (...) Muscato, who in his direction seeks to implement a project to re-write to create a quality of relationship between the work and his contemporaries, creates a sort of colossal from the fifties. Where the weapons that could have been bombs and Kalashnikovs are still arrows, swords and armor, where each has a role, and dominated a big caveat: the lust for power wears down and destroys. And only those who accept the fragility of the human condition becomes really master of himself and free, if you want to choose a God who lands and resurrects, that breathless and comforting. On stage, to collect the final applause, all the protagonists. And throughout the theater. With the choristers who beat their Assyrian helmets on the boards. Like the miners of Carbosulcis , as the works  of Alcoa .





By Gabriel Ballo

(...) Behind the choices of  Muscato, there is a definite aesthetic awareness, which occurs regardless of the practical possibilities available. As he says, "We started from the inside to get outside. We have analyzed human behavior and we have transformed first into action and then into image. " For this reason, the historical setting is deliberately evoked in a  spartan and basic way, through that process of abstraction that only art can take full advantage of, and that allows you to bring out a certain dramatic "realism". Set design by Tiziano Santi, supported by the excellent lights  of Alessandro Verazzi, make clever use of stage equipment: a few tricks to recreate a granite and monumental antiquity, where spaces dominate the man with cuts almost cinematic, suggesting "shots" halfway between long shot and the mean field. Geometries massive, rectangular, whose sum is probably enclosed in an oblong monolith (Kubrick's memory) that comes down on the throne of Nabucco.

(...) The same Chorus of the Teatro Lirico - that gives a valid executive performance - becomes the opening opera scenography alive. With the simplicity of the costumes designed by Silvia Aymonino, the choristers, immersed in "smoky"darkness, lit from just some light, become one with the scene, they themselves  are the scene occupying the whole "first floor "(...)





Anna Brotzu


(...) Muscato identifies the nodes of the plot, focusing on (as well as Verdi) atmospheres without sacrificing multiple interpretations. Relying on the music the director "paints" thanks to the refined modulations of the lights by Alessandro Verazzi and synthesis together symbolic and monumental set design by Tiziano Santi, with sophisticated and effective simplicity of costumes Silvia Aymonino like living pictures in various moments of history, giving prominence to the actual character that is the multifaceted choir - the ranks of the Jews but also the team of loyalists of the Assyrian king. Antique clothing closely resembling modern - is fought with knives and arrows instead of machine guns and rifles but that archaic sign, like the warrior poses, does not diminish but rather accentuates the sense of threat and violence of weapons  aimed at the prisoners - along with pictorial  glimpses make a show of great formal elegance, almost "classic" in return the solemnity of the vast throne room and representations of power and the shadow of secrecy and fear of being persecuted, chromatic lines to define the differences between the two peoples emphasizing the element of war and the stretch more spiritual, almost mirror-human conditions, in the antithesis between the silence of prayer and  a rigor of military. A fascinating stage writing in which the influences of history make up the background and if you want the warp on which embroider instead the private passions, forbidden and dangerous  love of Fenena, younger daughter of Nabucco and the jew Ishmael, which lights also the mind and the heart of her sister (step) Abigail; the aims of the latter, ambitious and cruel; and the royal authority and the father of the Assyrian king, folded and again high for the divine will (...)





Enrico Pau

(...) The whole staging of Leo Muscato played on a great balance between the parties that make up the melodrama of Verdi, individual characters, and the great symbolic character, the choir, the people. Muscato and with him the costume designer Silvia Aymonino, the lighting director Alessandro Verazzi  and production designer Tiziano Santi, even with limited means, unfortunately, take it all in a shade of light warm, enveloping in saturated elegant  colors, in actions that occasionally are fixed in an almost painterly in a successful attempt to create a great epic fresco. The singers, heated by this comfortable  matter, seem at ease in this great sound painting, simple in their movements, parts of a whole complex that, for the implicit chorus of Verdi's opera, gives a central role to the masses. And by the masses who always come out the singers for their intertwining vocal and expressive in parts two, three, five. Balance and simplicity despite the poverty of means not hidden. Smart choice of the director to show that the streets of melodrama are endless and that our Opera needs to look to the future with more courage and making clear choices, courageous and visionary (...)






By Cinzia Crobu

(...) The greatest merit of Muscato was therefore to have kept intact the energy and vitality, following the dictates of the composer, or by making (and I believe it has not been easy for a director of prose), that no suit, light, found scenic, bodily gesture or whatever proves invasive and limited the wide space intended to proceedings music and singing, recognized as the only means allowed for ensuring the stylistic differentiation of characters who use language - aided by the libretto by Solera - deliberately 'generic'. (...) Some happy insights of Leo Muscato, among all to appear on the scene a little girl, dressed in red, that does not say a word but serves Abigaille to revise herself during growth; still, remarkable and made more effective by the skilful use of lights by Alessandro Verazzi, some scenes seemingly static but congenial to the staging, I would say of the scenes (see the baptism of Fenena with Ishmael looking smug from afar in silence and water use in the scene). Another point in favor of this Nabucco are the sets of Tiziano Santi, elegant and carefully detailed (I mentioned the cuts of light filtered from a box stage before poor and scratched, then dripping gold when used as an Assyrian  residence), the use of smoke in the room and the fire in metal cups suspended behind the royal throne, supported by a disproportionate  back, rectangular monolithic, which gives further impetus, almost defiant toward the Most High, offended during the delirium of omnipotence of the sovereign or pagan usurper Abigaille. All built with really small  funds. Do not overlook the costumes by Silvia Aymonino, realized by tailoring the Lirico in Cagliari: very extensive and studied in detail (the result of research and analysis of the material culture of the past and of the present Israeli-Palestinian territories) without neglecting the sobriety and  the chromatic homogeneity; you pass by shades of gray for the Jews, to red, ocher, purple and mustard to the Assyrians, also equipped with boots and weapons.

Among the weapons supplied there are helmets that automatically makes me call headgear: and are beaten time on the boards of the stage, in the wake of the thunderous applause earned by this production, with clear reference and with laudable intent of laudable intent of solidarity towards the Sulcis workers of Alcoa and Carbosulcis that are still fighting today to safeguard their jobs (...)