PREMIERE 17th December 2020
LOCATION: Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam
ISABELLA is a new semi-staged song cycle, a collaboration by composer Kate Moore and director Martin Butler based upon the surviving 13 poems of the Italian poet Isabella di Morra.
Isabella di Morra (1520-1546) is considered to be the first female Italian poet. In her short life she was persecuted as an outsider, imprisoned physically by her family and mentally by the restrictions of her gender and social standing.
ISABELLA honours the work of a powerful and groundbreaking artist, whose importance has been marginalised by a male written history. A female protagonist whose story and achievements go against the stereotype of what was acceptable for a woman in that period.
ISABELLA represents the futility of situations and desperation of the mind caught in confinement. The pain of solitude and isolation, the conflict between modernity and tradition, between duty and desire, between expectations and acceptance, and the restriction of female expression and equality are powerful themes in the work of Isabella di Morra that can be translated readily to a modern world.
ISABELLA strives not only to rediscover the literary importance of the work of di Morra, but to extend it in within a contemporary context.
In a post Covid-19 world, Di Morra’s poetry could be seen as a uniting voice of shared experience. With its topics of isolation, confinement, and of powerlessness to a greater forces, her poetry can be read with an extra sense of urgency and poignancy.
The piece is written for Italian baroque harp specialist Maximilian Ehrhardt, Herz ensemble, choral ensemble Wishful Singing, Ensemble Scordatura and solo dancer Tarren Johnson.
Her poetry acts as the libretto and driving force behind the project with the role of Isabella being shared between singers and performer.
The production makes use of the state-of-the-art facilities available at the Muziekgebouw including lighting, sound design and dramaturgy using the full architectural and acoustic space that the hall facilitates.
SUBJECT: Isabell di Morra
LIBRETTO: 13 poems by Isabella di Morra in Italian
COMPOSER: Kate Moore
DIRECTION: Martin Butler
DURATION: 70 Minutes
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 20 musicians and 1 dancer
Maximilian Ehrhardt: Solo triple harp
Wishful Singing; 2 Sopranos, mezzo-soprano, 2 alt
Herz Ensemble: Counter tenor, violin, viola, cello, organ, wood horn, percussion, saxophone, pan-pipes.
Ensemble Scordatura: Altered viola, chromelodeon, kithara, diamond marimba, voice
Sound Engineer: Rick Hendricks
Lighting Technician: TBC