Casanova at TAM – Arcimboldi Theatre Milan
The musical theatre kolossal set in VENICE and dedicated to one of the world’s most famous Italian characters, GIACOMO CASANOVA
Casanova Opera Pop, is the first new musical theatre show to be staged after the reopening of the theatres to full capacity, a new work that Red Canzian has created in the last two long years away from the stage and that arrives at TAM Teatro Arcimboldi Milan from 9 to 20 February 2022 after the Venetian debut at the end of January.
The project, long thought of as a tribute to the grandeur of Venice – in the past and present – through one of its symbolic figures, is inspired by Matteo Strukul’s best seller, “Casanova – La sonata dei cuori infranti”, a novel of historical setting translated into over 10 languages. The innovative interpretation of the character ignited the spark and inspired Canzian to compose over 2 hours of music for 35 unreleased tracks, 29 of which are sung and 6 exclusively musical, a true work set in the city that most of all represents the dream of Italianness in the world.
It has been a very long and difficult two years for theatre and music, and the difficulties are not over yet, but I have fought with all my strength, mine and that of all the wonderful people involved in this project, to go on stage with Casanova Opera Pop at the beginning of 2022, without waiting any longer,” says Red. “In the excitement of these last few days of rehearsals before our debut in Venice, in a theatre sold out to capacity for three nights – demonstrating how much we all miss the stage – I look at our show as a son who is tenaciously desired, who grows marvellous day after day and whom I can’t wait to show the world, wishing him a long and satisfying life”.
Casanova Opera Pop, in a two-hour performance in two acts, with more than 30 scene changes constructed using an ultra-high definition projection technique with an immersive effect, 120 costumes designed by Desirée Costanzo and made by Atelier Stefano Nicolao (nominated for the costumes of the Oscar-winning film Eyes Wide Shut), and directed by Emanuele Gamba – whose experience ranges from prose (he is Artistic Director of Livorno’s Teatro Goldoni), to opera (with Claudio Abbado), to musical theatre (Spring Awakening, Guardì’s I Promessi Sposi) – tells the story of Giacomo Casanova at around the age of 35, returning from exile and strenuously defending Venice from the power games that would have it sold to foreigners.
Red Canzian goes on to say: “For a long time I have cherished the idea of composing a musical work dedicated to the city of Venice, perhaps the only city in the world of such renown that does not have its own musical, and to Giacomo Casanova, one of the universally known Italian characters, but until now always told in a somewhat monothematic way, while I wanted to represent him in the many nuances that make him one of the most interesting historical figures that Italy and Venice in particular can boast”.
In the part of Giacomo Casanova we find Gian Marco Schiaretti, one of the purest talents who grew up in Italy and is also successful abroad. Alongside him, in the part of the charming and strong-willed Francesca Erizzo, destined to win his heart, is the young and already successful Angelica Cinquantini, a familiar face from television fiction. The role of the wicked, ready to take advantage of a moment of fragility of the Serenissima and the Doge who governs it, is entrusted to Bearded Vulture, the powerful and corrupt Inquisitor Pietro Garzoni, who without the slightest scruple is ready to sweep away by any means everything that stands in his way to obtain the power of the cardinal, and Manuela Zanier, the treacherous Countess Von Steinberg, an Austrian noblewoman who is not insensitive to Casanova’s charm, but ready to weave deadly plots to pursue her own interests and exert her own charm according to convenience.
With them on stage, to paint the picture of a Venice whose history and salvation are played out between the bácari populated by various people and the rich Palazzi of power, a series of characters with different facets. So a peaceful and grumpy Friar Balbi, played by Paolo Barillari; the offended fiancé Alvise ready to challenge Casanova to a duel and the noble Mocenigo, both played by Jacopo Sarno; the perfidious Zago to whom Roberto Colombo lends his face and a physicality transformed by perfidy; the Doge Loredan and the nobleman of lineage and heart Bragadin, both played by Antonio Orler; up to the vast world of women so fascinated by Casanova, as indispensable to unravel the knots of the story. Then there is Elena da Padova, Casanova’s favourite courtesan played by Silvia Scartozzoni; the beautiful Rosa, mistress of the Cantina do Mori and capable of interpreting the signs that conceal dark plots, played by Rosita Denti; and finally the melancholy and unfortunate Gretchen, played by Alice Grasso, maid of the Countess and predestined victim of the unscrupulous perfidy of the Inquisitor and the enslaved Zago.
The cast is completed by a corps de ballet of 10 acrobatic dancers – Mirko Aiello, Cassandra Bianco, Alberto Chianello, Eleonora Dominici, Federica Esaminato, Mattia Fazioli, Filomena Fusco, Raffaele Guarino, Vittoria Markov and Olaf Olguin – who, choreographed in a warlike style by Martina Nadalini and Roberto Carrozzino, interpret the Shadows, the Venetians at the Carnival, the nobles in celebration and the choral moments of the story at various times.
Red Canzian says: “I thought of Casanova Operapop with the development of the Italian opera, in which the story and the characters take shape through the music and the words of the songs, written by Miki Porru, and where the dialogues punctuate the story in a few, albeit very important moments. To render the epic spirit of the compositions, masterfully arranged by Phil Mer, we recorded the Orchestra Sinfonica di Padova e del Veneto, conducted by Maestro Carmelo Patti, fused with the modern sounds of a band”.
Completing the creative team are Chiara Canzian, song director and resident director of Casanova Opera Pop during the tour, and two professionals from the Teatro La Fenice: lighting designer Fabio Barettin and stage director Massimo Checchetto. Their real works of genius are the frame of what Red has conceived as an immersive stage set, made of photographs taken in the deserted Venice during the pandemic and treated in such a way as to give back settings of the city and its places of a disorienting hyperrealism, able to transport the spectators into the places of an eighteenth-century Venice, the bacari, the calli, the palaces of the nobility, the cathedrals, St. Mark’s Square, the lagoon, the Piombi prison, and those of the flight through the woods and castles of northern Italy before Casanova’s return as saviour of the Serenissima to the Venice of the Doge and in love – at last – with the young Francesca, daughter of the Venetian aristocracy but, like her beloved, with a heart thirsting for justice and freedom.
Casanova Opera Pop is produced by Blu Notte, or rather by Red Canzian himself, who in this role follows the Artistic Direction, and by his wife Beatrix Niederwieser, who follows all the operational aspects of the show, availing herself of Retropalco’s collaboration in the executive production.
THE ROMANCE by MATTEO STRUKUL
Casanova Opera Pop is based on Matteo Strukul’s best seller, “Giacomo Casanova – La sonata dei cuori infranti”, a novel of historical setting released in 2018 and translated into over 10 languages, which lit the spark and inspired Red to compose over 2 hours of music for 35 unreleased tracks, I’ve always been fascinated by the figure of Casanova,” says Red, “a much more complex personality than the unrepentant libertine seducer depicted in common iconography, who was actually a poet, alchemist, libertarian, diplomat and ‘eye’ of the Republic of Venice at the time of the Serenissima. A key figure in 18th-century Venice, who in Strukul’s novel – and so in my Opera Pop – is told at an age of around 35, an intense period in his life, which sees him involved in political intrigue, imprisoned at the Piombi, a secret agent for his city and finally in love, willing to face dangers, challenges, duels, tests of courage, escapes from prison and incredible adventures. In the show you will find all this, together with passion, friendship and all the emotions that only a city like Venice can amplify”.
MILO MANARA returns after almost forty years to devote his art to the character for which he had collaborated with Federico Fellini, creating marvellous illustrations, and making a Fellini-esque film about the iconic Casanova. He then designed the artwork for Casanova Opera Pop, a truly original work of art, in which the typical features of his characters blend with those of the protagonists chosen to play Giacomo Casanova and his young lover Francesca Erizzo.
In addition to the aforementioned Atelier di Stefano Nicolao, which has been active on the international stage since 1980 in major film, theatre and opera productions, the Politecnico Calzaturiero del Brenta, a cutting-edge research and production centre for technology and quality that promotes Made in Italy footwear throughout the world, has also collaborated on the creation of the costumes. They are joined by Gian Pietro Muraro, a former reference designer for some of Italy’s most prestigious international fashion brands, specialising in the creation of knitted costumes.
Casanova Opera Pop enjoys the support of Intesa Sanpaolo, through Reward, the bank’s digital loyalty programme, which is increasingly becoming a true ecosystem of engagement to foster lasting relationships with both customers and potential customers. Thanks to Intesa Sanpaolo Reward, exclusive content is available, created by Red Canzian and the cast of the musical, rewards for attending the premiere in Venice and the other dates of the tour, with the possibility of meeting Red and the extraordinary performers on stage and other experiences dedicated to those who want to immerse themselves in the atmosphere and energy of a great colossal like Casanova Opera Pop. To not miss a single opportunity, simply download the free Intesa Sanpaolo Reward app and secure the prizes available every week to registered users.
Partner and Official Sparkling Wine of the show is the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco DOC, a reality that promotes and enhances an excellence of the Veneto and Friulian territory. A Pop wine whose refined simplicity has been seducing women and delighting men for years, and which therefore perfectly matches the spirit of Casanova Opera Pop.
Casanova Opera Pop enjoys the free patronage of the City of Venice. The show, in fact, is the highlight of the Fondazione Venezia1600, which is in charge of the activities linked to the 1600th anniversary of the city’s birth.