1) Bruno at the stake.

Pers. : Giordano Bruno (tenore di grazia); Diana (soprano coloratura); Vulcano (Coro Misto) .


Bruno burns at the stake. This is like the bowsprit (spar extending forward from the prow) of a ship. Bruno, tied to it, is projected towards the mouth of the stage, over the orchestra pit. Behind this, on the stage, the choir sings, willing the configuration of the silhouette of a volcano (Vesuvius). This scene is a Metaphor for fire as a creative force – like in a bronze foundry.

The scene transforms into a desert of burning ashes.



2) Circe, the Stygia and the mystical boat .


Pers. : Giordano Bruno; La Maga Circe (dramatic Soprano ) .


A boat approaches from the distance. An “instrument boat” (Double bass –Uxia M. Botana– like the instrument's mast). The body of Bruno (burning) is picked up by the boat, which is coupled to the prow to which Bruno is tied. The 'inner voice' of Bruno emerges and forms a kind of duet with the double bass. The magician Circe explains to Bruno, who is absent and confused, that they are crossing the Styx in the direction of Hades – towards oblivion; Bruno tells her that he does not want to forget, but rather to drink from the waters of Mnemosyne –memory–; Circe then reminds him of what they have done to him in Rome.



3 ) Domini- Canes . Inquisitors-Demons .


Pers. : Giordano Bruno ; Two inquisitors (baritone, bass-baritone); demon dogs

(male chorus).


Around the boat emerge the figures of dog-demons and two inquisitors, who proffer the main accusations for which Bruno was sentenced to the stake. Bruno, ignoring them, proclaims the infinity of the All-One universe.


4 ) Isabella I and the swine alphabet. The song of Circe.


Pers .: Isabela I, Queen of England, and her entourage (group 7 choir sopranos: 1 + 6); Bruno ; Circe.


Bruno and Circe, in their boat, arrive on an island that could well be Hades. Populated by fantastic animals, especially pigs, boars and porcupines. Queen Elizabeth I and her entourage appear. She is interested in the Brunian version of  the arts of memory. Giordano, mocking and taking the figures of pigs and wild boars as an example, recites part of a 'porcine alphabet ' as a mnemonic system . In a parallel action, the magician Circe begins a magical invocation (Canto di Circe). Isabela I, annoyed by the brazen attitude of Bruno, declares him 'infidel, impious and atheist' and moves away, contemptuous, from the scene. Circe continues with the invocation. A great musical and choral crescendo is produced, with the image of diverse animals rising to a celestial pulp (celestial sea, above as below). Intense, musical silence, from which a light source will emerge and floating in it, Diana.



5 ) Diana.


Pers .: Diana (soprano coloratura). Brief intervention of the Choir at the beginning of the scene.


Diana appears, nude and beautiful, as suspended in a fountain of light that is projected from the heavens. Diana represents the revealed nature, the infinite nature as All-One. Through Diana ("radiant splendor of divine goodness and beauty") we hear the resonance of the most sublime of Bruno's own thought, his own conception of the universe ( De Immenso , IV, 14). Aria of enormous beauty and a central moment of the opera.



6 ) Acteón .


Pers .: Bruno / Acteón .


I Bruno is devoured by dogs. The hunter becomes the hunted. Dogs, Bruno's thoughts about divine things, devour this Actaeon and free him from the carnal prison of matter. He will no longer see his Diana through windows, but will have become the only eye that sees the entire horizon. Divinity is reflected and contemplated in nature: Diana. After a few moments of silence, Bruno's life travels, cities, dates and phrases pass quickly as in a wheel of memory. The chorus, in a large descending glissando, is heard as a cloud of memories and mists.

7 ) The Theater of Memory.


Pers .: Henry III , King of France, and his entourage (group of 5 choir tenors: 1 + 4);

Emperor Rudolph II of Habsburg and his retinue (group of 3 basses of the Choir: 1 bass-baritone + two basses) .


Slowly, the Teatro della Memoria will emerge from the sea.

Gradually, the Grand Theater of Memory is visible [an instrument-structure with hanging stainless steel plates, that hide all the fantastic characters of memory through which Bruno figures will gradually be revealed. These plates (‘thunder-sheet'), which are played with a  ‘super-ball mallet’  by the chorus members, resonates as a 'song of the universe'. This Sonority will gradually become more present and mix with the voices of the choir.]

The characters of Enrique III and Rodolfo II interrogate Bruno about the magical art of Memory and thus the fantastic images that Bruno associates with the subject of constellations are being revealed.


8 ) Expulsion of the triumphant beast .


Pers .: Jupiter (bass-baritone); Momo (light baritone); Sofia (dramatic soprano) Celestial Council (chorus).


Once the constellations are unfolded in the Memory Theater, Jupiter, Momo, Sofia and the gods of the Celestial Council appear in the scene, with the intention of expelling the old vices and triumphant beasts from the celestial dome. It is the day of the celebration of the Gigantomachy Festival. Jupiter proposes that the reform occur at noon  in the light of understanding and reason, and everyone remembers that the way to repair this is to shake and eliminate from our inner heaven the errors and vices that we drag with us. Momo alludes to Orion as a false savior. After replacing some constellations, SILENCE is finally proposed in the place occupied by PISCES. Intense, musical silence, from which a light source will emerge and floating in it, Diana.



9 ) Dinner of the Fish Austral .


Pers .: Jupiter, Momo, Sofia, Celestial Council (chorus).


In the first part of the scene the gods prepare for the celestial banquet.

After explaining the symbolic nature of Diana and Actaeon, they wonder what to do now with the only remaining constellation to reform in the skies, the Austral Fish. Jupiter pointing towards him, decides that it will be removed and only his portrait remains, and that the aforementioned fish will be cooked "parte in craticchia, parte in guazzetto, parte in agresto (…)" to the taste of those who they have already worked so hard in the celestial reform. They all sing. The music has Neapolitan characteristics and in the background you can hear a variation of the famous Tarantella Lo Guarracino. The uproar of young people and children can be heard.



10 ) Naples .


Pers .: Fanciulli ( raggazzi / e of the giovanile choir + choir giovanile e di voci bianche ); Teachers ( contralti of the choir).


Children and young people enter with great commotion through the doors in the audience and jump / climb onto the stage. Color and movement. The children, alternating their voices in a kind of spiral, sing the beautiful autobiographical text of Giordano Bruno ( De immenso , Book III, Capitolo I) on Vesuvius. On their way, they cross paths with a family of musicians, among whom there is a young woman playing a great plucked string instrument (Diana incarnated). A young novice listens enthralled (perhaps young Giordano?). When passing through San Domenico Maggiore and Palcio San Severo  (former residence of the composer Carlo Gesualdo), bells are heard and the echo of the Lamentations of Carlo Gesualdo is mixed with the music of children. They are arriving at the Bay of Naples.

11 ) ... and the Sea


Pers .: Bambini - Oceanus and Jupiter - (2 bambini + choir altri ); bambina - Isabella I- ;

Ragazze-ninfe .


The sea and a great burning sun of sunset (and in the background the Vesuvius). Already on the beach, the young people are dispersing to play and only the smallest children are left . Two of them play the role of Jupiter and Oceanus, they sing the "Song of the enlightened" ( Eroici furori , II, 5 ) . A small girl plays the role of Isabella I and dances with the wind and waves of the sea. She is accompanied by a small group of girl-nymphs. The voices are mixed with the sound of the wind and the waves of the sea.


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