An Italian in Ethiopia
- Date: Friday, 22 February 2013, 7:15 pm
- Venue: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music — Cnr Macquarie St and Bridge St, Sydney, NSW
Ursula Caporali's opera An Italian in Ethiopia is based on the true story of a real Italian war hero, only recently been discovered. The architect Sebastiano Castagna was born in 1868 in Aidone, Sicily, and was brutally murdered in his beloved Ethiopia during a mission of peace in 1938. During his life he received many decorations, among them a Gold Medal for Military Service from the Italian government and recognition from the Russian Czar for his contribution to the development of the new city of Addis Ababa. He had been appointed by Ethiopian authorities to build bridges, aqueducts and public buildings. The St George Cathedral represented in the opera was commissioned by King Menelik and built by Castagna in 1898. The story of the opera is that of a brave and eccentric European of the Victorian era venturing to an exotic land to give rather than to plunder.
Caporali has adapted his incredible story through some minor alterations to actual events and a small number of dramatic additions of fictional happenings. In the opera, the nature of Castagna is that of a heroic but eccentric man who lives freely with both an egocentrically naive lack of fear of the unknown or adversity, but with an obvious passion for dignity, justice and peace. Castagna has many ways of expressing himself. So he changes from the creative, respected and outspoken architect to the man who buys slaves at the market, no matter what the risk, then marries a princess and finally risks his life to save a loved one.
Performers: Daniel Tambasco, Andrew Woodley, Jared Lillehagen, Rebecca Moret, Sylvie Humphries, Nyssa Milligan, Ursula Caporali
Featured Australian Works
|An Italian in Ethiopia by Ursula Caporali|
- Music of Ursula Caporali
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