The Teatro Salieri in Legnago welcomed a full house and numerous standing ovations for the Première staged last Saturday of the Opera Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the music, then the words) by Antonio Salieri (born in 1750 in Legnago, where the theatre bears his name), a great composer of the early 19th century who is also remembered for his career as a master: he was the teacher of great composers such as Beethoven and Schubert.

This was the inspiration for director Marco Vinco to launch an international competition to select creative teams under 35 for the production, inviting young candidates to submit projects for his staging, complete with direction, sets, costumes and new dramaturgy. The response from candidates was surprising in terms of both quantity and artistic quality. No fewer than thirteen international creative teams, each comprising a variable number of young artists, took part in the competition.

Cartastraccia opera concept

After a careful selection process, a jury of experts declared the creative team “Cartastraccia” (scrap-paper) of director Salvatore Sito, set designer Josephin Capozzi, costume designer Silvia Lumes and lighting designer Alessandro Manni the winner. Also under-35 were the orchestra conductor (Leonardo Benini), the singers (Lucrezia Drei, Maria Sardaryan, William Hernandez, Alberto Comes) and the two actors (Flavio Capuzzo Dolcetta and Alberto Marcello). The evening ended with the assignment to Salvatore Sito of the Marco Castagnoli 2023 Scholarship, a fund requested by the family of the late director, to be awarded each year to the most deserving graduate in directing from the Master’s course at the Verona Accademia per L’Opera Italiana.

A moment from Prima la musica e poi le parole

The last performance of the season, Concerto a più cembali, multi-harpsichord Concert, will also feature a youth orchestra, Frau Musika, made up of musicians under the age of 30 from all over the world. The Teatro Salieri will bid farewell to its audience on Sunday 21 May at 20:45 with a concert entirely dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach. The conductor will be Maestro Andrea Buccarella, first prize winner of the International Harpsichord Competition in Bruges.

Frau Musika is a new artistic training project, one of the few of its kind in Italy, conceived by Andrea Marcon and realised by the Orchestra of the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza thanks to a donation from the Fondazione Cariverona. The aim of the initiative is to offer young musicians the opportunity to follow a highly formative course in orchestral practice on original instruments. Andrea Marcon, one of the world’s leading experts and interpreters of the Baroque repertoire, has for many years combined a busy concert schedule with teaching commitments and a professorship in performance practice, organ and harpsichord at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, the alma mater of early music. Frau’s training activities take place at the Villa San Fermo in Lonigo, an accommodation facility where participants live and study together with their teachers.

The grand finale with Frau Musika will be another opportunity for the young musical talents to express themselves, as they were always encouraged and supported in life by Antonio Salieri from Legnago, who will also be remembered as the “Master of Masters”.

Maestro Andrea Buccarella