La Pizia e la Marangona

for soprano (2015, 13')

first performance: la Biennale di Venezia / Nine Dragons Heads, 21 November 2015, Venezia, by Juliane Dennert

La Pizia e la Marangona (The Python and the Marangona) is Arnold Marinissen’s setting for solo soprano of an Italian libretto, in the Venetian dialect, by Channa Boon. The piece, in four parts, was created for a lecture by the Venetian philosopher Alberto Peratoner, titled ‘Variations in modern man self-consciousness and new anthropological challenges’. In his lecture, Peratoner is joined unexpectedly by a singer, who turns out to be a particle of a stone Python, belonging to a sculpture on the Piazza San Marco. She steps into the light and involves herself in the lecture, offering the audience as well as Peratoner an unexpected perspective on Venice, and on the lecturer himself: a vision through time, a view on past centuries that only a fossil stone can have.

The stone particle has not only been an eyewitness of many of the events to which Peratoner relates, but has also seen Peratoner grow up in and around the Orologio della Torre di San Marco, of which he was, in real life, the last clock custodion and inhabitant until the clock was automated around 1998.

La Pizia e la Marangona was written for the occasion of the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale de Venezia, specifically for the collateral event ‘Jump into the Unknown’ by the artist collective Nine Dragon Heads. The lecture performance was conceived, and the libretto created, by the Dutch visual artist and filmmaker Channa Boon. The lecture itself was given by the Venetian philosopher Alberto Peratoner. Arnold Marinissen joined Channa Boon in the development of the lecture performance, and composed the music. The piece was performed by the German soprano Juliane Dennert, on 21 and 22 November 2015 in the S.a.L.E. Docks in Venezia, Italy. The libretto was translated from English to the Venetian dialect by Alberto Peratoner.

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