The Greek Passion is an opera I had heard of but never seen and to be honest other than one symphony (the 4th) I heard last year in London at the urging of my friend David of I'll Think of Something Later I was not familiar with much of Bohuslav Martinů's work. When he heard I was going to see Greek Passion David told me I was in for something special - and as always he was right. It was one of the most emotional performances I have attended in a long while. The orchestral and choral writing are superb, the performances was moving and totally committed and the staging, with a few caveats, exceptional. And the emotional impact was overwhelming. I am quite ready to admit I was on the verge of tears several times during the performance.
Based on Nikos Kazantzakis' Christ Recrucified it tells of the impact that the ritual of a traditional Passion Play and the arrival of a group of refugees fleeing ethnic persecution have on the life of a small Greek village. The arrival of these homeless people, though fellow Greeks, brings a less than welcoming response from the priest and leaders of the village but a compassionate response from the people chosen to represent Christ and his followers in the play. Sadly once again the chief priests and pharisees triumph and the refugees are finally driven away - homeless once again.
But that image of the homeless had appeared earlier in the day as we were strolling through the garden of Piazza Castelnuovo. There in a bronze grouping by the Sicilian sculptor Pasqualle Civeletti were the homeless of another time and another place. Italy of the 19th century - the streets of Palermo or perhaps Napoli or even one of the prosperous northern cities. The figures of two lost boys sit in the middle of the terrace of the garden mostly ignored by passers by and badly scarred by graffiti. They carry the simple title I Senza Tetto - the Homeless.
|I Senza Tetto (The Homeless) by Pasqualle Civeletti in the garden of the Piazza Castelnuovo has as powerful a message today as it did when he created it.|
|It was difficult to make out Civiletti's signature with all the graffiti that has disfigured it over the years. A sad state for what is, to my mind at least, a work that deserves to be better seen and thought upon.|
10 maggio - Santi Alfio, Cirino e Filadelfo