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Pietà

Pietà was composed to pair with Puccini's Suor Angelica

Music by: Jake Landau

Libretto by: Jake Landau and Andrea DelGiudice


Duration: 1 hr 15 mins


Commissioned as part of Landau's Composer-in-Residency

Premiered at The Narnia Festival, 2021

American Premiere in Oklahoma City, OK, 2023

 

Chamber Version available


Against the dark, sinful city of 18th-century Venice, the Ospedale della Pietà (a real historical institution) glows with hope, humor, and music. The Pietà is an orphanage that takes girls off the street and trains them to sing and play instruments, forming one of Europe’s most elite orchestras of the day. Daughters of the Pietà (figlie) always perform from behind an impenetrable lattice, hidden from their audiences for propriety’s sake. Though they are cared for there, the figlie are kept under strict lock and key.

Outside the walls, the institution’s wealthy padroni, Ugo and Editta, have raised teenage Giorgio as their adopted grandson. When Giorgio falls in love with a figlia named Genovieffa and takes her home to meet his grandparents, long-repressed family secrets rush to the surface. Editta, revealed to be a former figlia who will eventually become Suor Angelica's La Zia Principessa, sees in Genovieffa a chance to fight her way out from years of shame over what she once did to her young niece Angelica—Giorgio’s mother. But will Editta be able to face down the truth of her trauma and have mercy on herself, even as the past begins to repeat itself?


FORCES


Singers:

Editta; a princess and a former singer of the Pietà - Contralto

(La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica)

Genovieffa Lyrica; a singer of the Pietà - Soprano

(Genovieffa in Suor Angelica)

Fia, a ragamuffin, friend of Giorgio’s - Musical theater belter

Odele; Violista, a violist of the Pietà - Violist /Actor

La Direttrice; Headmistress of the Pietà - Soprano

Giorgio; grandson of Ugo and Editta - Tenor

Ugo; Il Padrone of the Pietà, husband of Editta - Baritone


Chorus of Figlie, “daughters” of the Pietà:

Chiara Lyrica, a singer of the Pietà - Soprano 1

Francesca Flautista, a flautist of the Pietà - Soprano 2

Dulce Arpista, a harpist of the Pietà - Alto 1

Rosanella Violinista, a violinist of the Pietà - Alto 2


Orchestra:

2 Flutes

2 Oboes

1 English Horn

2 Clarinets in B-flat

1 Bass clarinet

2 Bassoons

4 Horns in F

3 Trumpets in C

3 Trombones

1 Bass trombone

1 Timpanist

2 Percussionists

2 Keyboardists

Harp

Strings


Project Statement

A large part of Andrea DelGiudice's thesis as a director is to devictimize old portrayals

of female characters in opera and present them as fully rounded people. As a composer,

it's my honor to write music that allows these characters to express the full complexity

of their humanity, integrating contemporary musical theater techniques (such as belting)

into traditional operatic singing. The rise of agency for female characters in opera

correlates with the gradual lowering of their average voice types over time, the chest

voice allowing their words to be better heard, their stories understood. This is why the

soprano is standard in opera where in more contemporary musical theater, it’s the

belter. But in general for me, it’s all about valuing artists to the full extent of their

extraordinary talents, rather than requesting anyone change what they are so skilled at,

and embracing the power of innovatively diverse performance practices.”


 

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