Libretto Massimo Cacciari & Mauricio Sotelo after texts by Giordano Bruno 
Directors Sommer Ulrickson & Alexander Polzin 
Set design Alexander Polzin
Lighting Urs Schönebaum 
Costumes Andrea Schmidt–Futterer

OPER    by   Mauricio  Sotelo          •          Commissioned  by  La  Monnaie  /  De Munt

World première at La Monnaie / De Munt Brussels on 14 September 2021


«La vera filosofia è musica, poesia o pittura; la vera pittura è poesia, musica e filosofia; la vera poesia o musica è sapienza divina o pittura»

«True philosophy is as much music or poetry as it is painting. True painting is as much music as it is poetry.

  True poetry or music is as much painting as it is a certain divine wisdom»

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For most European intellectuals, the flames of the stake at which Giordano Bruno was burned by the church on 17 February 1600 in the Piazza dei Fiori in Rome represent nothing less than the birth of the modern age. Giordano (né Filippo) Bruno, a Dominican persecuted by the domini canes and one of the most renowned philosophers of the Renaissance, was burned in the open air. “Amid such beautiful fire and with such noble bond, beauty makes me burn, honesty ties me […]. The nature of this fire is such that I burn without burning”, the man from Nola  wrote in his Eroici Furori.

In his works, Bruno wrote on the art of memory and on magic but perhaps one of his greatest “sins” was to champion the idea of an animated universe with an infinite number of suns. He contended that the educated man was capable of reconstructing in the mirror of the mind the “unity” of the fragmented universe, of being “at one” with it and, therefore, of being “at one” with universal matter and divinity. “He who sees in himself all things is, at the same time, all things”, wrote our philosopher in his treatise on memory and magic, De Imaginum signorum et idearum compositione. Bruno’s New Man needs to be possessed with Heroic Frenzy and it is here where the myth of Actaeon acquires full significance in Bruno’s writings: the philosopher in search of the naked Diana, which is nothing other than nature revealed in its true essence. Divinity is the object of Bruno’s love.

Beginning with the burning of Giordano Bruno at the stake, our opera explores Bruno’s intricate universe. An imposing aria, which sees Bruno’s voice gradually transformed into an “interior voice” against a choral backdrop of flames, provides a powerful sound image for the opening section. The middle section features the voice of the naked Diana and a lyrical duo of both voices as Giordano comes face to face with nature revealed. The epilogue conjoins the idea of beginning and end. It is a celebration of life and death as the connection of all things. It captures the atmosphere found in the streets of Naples (the region where Bruno was raised ) - between lively wildness and tradition. Children are an important part of this section - contributing, vocally and physically, to the sense of this ‘life-everlasting’.

Today, Bruno can be regarded as the symbol of a Europe that chooses to bequeath to the world not devastation but rather love for knowledge.

Mauricio Sotelo

Berlin, March 19, 2017