Premiere to Spoleto "Tucidide. Atene contro Melo" with text and direction by Alessandro Baricco

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Premiere to Spoleto "Tucidide. Atene contro Melo" with text and direction by Alessandro Baricco

Spoleto, June 27, 2023 - There is great anticipation for the debut of. Tucidide. Atene contro Melo, the new play with text and direction by Alessandro Baricco on stage at Piazza Duomo tomorrow Thursday, June 29, at at 21. Gabriele Vacis joins the cast as narrator alongside to Stefania Rocca and to Valeria Solarino, for the new production that also features on stage the 100 Cellos, the prodigious ensemble of one hundred cellists founded from Giovanni Sollima. One of the most relevant musicians on the contemporary scene, Sollima, a cellist and composer, is also the author of the original music as well as a performer. Musical direction is also provided by to Enrico Melozzi.

"For health reasons, I will not be able to be myself on stage," Alessandro Baricco made known. "I wished and asked to Gabriele Vacis to interpret it, it is a perfect text for him and this allows me to concentrate on directing. I will be to Spoleto to direct it and bring it to the stage."

The event recounted in the play happened during the Peloponnesian War, which for more than 30 years saw the Athenians and Spartans clash in a deadlocked conflict. The episode Baricco focuses on, and which he reflects on from several years now, is the one in which a delegation of Athenian ambassadors showed up on the island of Melos, until to that moment an ally of Athens, but guilty of wanting to slip out of the conflict and become neutral. The negotiations between the two sides are reported from Thucydides in an almost dramaturgical manner, making the reader relive all the tension of the ultimatum in the debate between Melii and Athenians before the siege and destruction of the island.

The choice between subjecting oneself to the rule of the stronger by giving up one's freedom or fighting while knowing one's freedom to be destroyed therefore becomes a reflection on Justice and Law, and today's audience cannot help but think to about what is happening in Europe, even though the play originated long before today's war began. In the words of the ambassadors of 416 to.C. there is a fundamental legacy in Western culture, and our minds are no different from than those of the men of that time in the exercise of politics and warfare facing to an aggressor and an aggressed, to a strong against a weak, to a victor and a vanquished.

If there is any hope, it lies in the last episode evoked from Baricco: the revolt of Mytilene against Athens. An affair that could have ended exactly like the first one, but that by a set of coordinates of fate, afterthoughts, wills, strong arms, desires and favorable winds, ended up succeeding completely differently. An invitation for us today to trust that it is always possible to course-correct.

As in the past, for this show Baricco has chosen to have to two actresses play the parts of Melii and Athenians: Valeria Solarino gives voice to Athens, just as in Palamedes in 2015 she had dressed the role of the Greek hero, while Stefania Rocca is the voice of Melo's ambassadors. With them on stage will be the Narrator, played by director Gabriele Vacis: both he and Stefania Rocca had already collaborated with Baricco in Totem in 1998.

The 100 Cellos were also instrumental in the birth of the show: 90 cellos will do both from soundtrack and from set design, they will be a kind of acoustic phalanx that will carry on the most dramatic moments of the show by staging battles, sieges, chases on the sea, life and death sentences. Giovanni Sollima, with whom Baricco has already collaborated on Iliad in 2004, will be on stage along with conductor Enrico Melozzi.

"Curiously enough," Baricco explains, "Thucydides recounts this meeting of ambassadors as if he had participated in it: he reports the exact words spoken by the ambassadors, and he reconstructs down to the last detail, and in a dramatically vivid way, the verbal clash between the two sides. Though he was a historian (indeed, the first of historians) he ended up in those pages writing about theater and beautiful theater. Therefore, bringing those pages to the stage seems almost a way of bringing them to to fruition, making them reach where they obscurely dreamed of going."