Carmina Burana in Piazza Unita D’Italia, Trieste

Carmina Burana in Piazza Unita D’Italia

June 30, 2014

It turns out to be a perfect summer evening, after a somewhat uncertain dark and storm cloud filled morning.

Piazza Unita is full of people standing all around the fenced seating area. It is a free concert and tickets were to be available at 8:00 in the morning but alla vita Italiana the seats apparently are all gone right after 8:00.

As we come into Piazza Unita we see some of the orchestra are all ready on stage and some are in the crowd in front of us heading for the stage. We find a place near the back and to side and have a good view of the wide stage and all the people .

This is a bit of an opening act for the Music Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Director of the festival makes his opening remarks: It is the anniversary of the the assination of Arch Duke Ferdinand 100 years ago in Sarejevo. It is the event that marked the beginning of World War I. A century of terribile turmoil for all of Europe and especially for Trieste and Istria who changed “countries” four times in that century. It was a time of massive movement of peoples. Peoples who had been in the same village for centuries but now are scattered all over the world. The choir is actually made up of three choirs joined together for this performance – from Ljubljana in Slovenia, Sarajevo in Bosnia, Dubrovnik in Croatia and the  Orchestra Filarmonica Slovena. The Director hopes that this as a sign of peace for the next century.

There are three hundred people in the stage and the music starts. It is a magial setting – the white marble and stone buildings of Piazza Unita glow cream and gold and pink as the sun sets. Lit up with small spotlights all the details of the sculptures, the friezes, the corniches, the balustrades and balconies come to life.

I had checked out the music a bit on Youtube and I did recognize the opening O Fortuna but I had not listend past the opening.   The music it seemed to me went from dramatic, to comical, to a very emotional piece that I actually recognized, the “In Trutina” performed by the soprano.

I very much enjoyed the performance. I spent most of my time just drinking in the stunning setting of neoclassical buildings, a shiny new moon traveling across the darkness of the Adriatic waters, the stars slowly coming into view, and the people seemingly charmed by the music.

People in Trieste are known to be very knowledgeable of opera and all things musical. There was a young women standing beside me in a very trendy summer dress and low cut boots outfit who actually was singing very softly all the words.

From Wikipedia Carmina Burana is a scenic cantata composed by Carl Orff in 1935 and 1936, based on 24 poems from the medieval collection.  It covers a range of topics as familiar in the 13th century as they are in the 21st century – the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the joy of the return of spring, the perils of drinking, gambling, lust ……The first and last movements of the piece start with the very well known “O Fortuna”. It is performed in Latin with a some Middle High German and Old Porvencal.


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