℗ GESUALDO – Eine Autopsie

Musical Theater, Composition

  • Title: GESUALDO – Eine Autopsie
  • Type: Musical Theater, Composition
  • Music: Greg Beller & Carlo Gesualdo
  • Composition: Greg Beller
  • Musical Direction: Annedore Hacker-Jakobi
  • Stage Direction: Lea Theus
  • Stage Designer: Christopher Dippert
  • Costumes: Johanna Winkler
  • Dramaturgie: Friederike Lange
  • Assistant Stage Director: Viola Bierich
  • Performance and Singing: Raphaël Arnault, Enno Gröhn, Jonas Krarup, Miriam Rottmeyer, Anastasiia Shykyrinska, Johanna Veit, Joshua Zilinske
  • Singers (Recorded): Raphaël Arnault, Annedore Hacker-Jakobi, Mahela Reichstatt, Fridolin Wissemann, Katharina Veit
  • Duration: 60min
  • Production: HfMT
  • World Premiere: HfMT Hamburg, Samstag 30.01.2021 19:00
  • Livestream
  • More info

On the bloody night in October 1590, when Carlo Gesualdo murdered his wife and her lover, the Prince of Venosa could hardly have imagined the myths and horror stories that this act would inspire in his contemporaries. Even though he was never convicted for this “honor killing,” he never paid the price.
he paid the price of lifelong guilt. He withdrew from the public eye and threw himself feverishly into composing countless madrigals in which he infused his obsession and yearning for death into virtuosic dissonance and expressive chromaticism. His visionary music shocks and fascinates his listeners just as much as his life story, which remained the starting point of wild speculation long after Gesualdo’s death, found its place in numerous operas and novels, and is still the subject of intense scholarly research more than four centuries later. In attempting to grasp Gesualdo in all his perplexing aspects, we face the question of whether the violence of art and the violence of man might not have the same origin.

Here are two original compositions created for this show (out of a total of 4). The first one is called “Artificial Spirituality”. It is a hyper-harmonic Mantra composed with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm trained on a corpus of works by Carlo Gesualdo taken from the last two collections of madrigals (the most chromatically tortured). The score generated and arranged manually and sung by a virtual spatialized choir using Ircam’s MaxISiS singing synthesizer. One can also hear the traces of a harmonic persistence reverberation of my conception, in addition to the digital reverberation of the hall equipped with a Konstellation/Meyer Sound acoustics virtualization system using 142 loudspeakers and 42 microphones.

In this second example, the soprano voice is sung by a real singer. The accompaniment of the virtual choir is also generated by the AI algorithm. Of course, here too, the hand arranges the results of the algorithm to my ears, which for me is the compositional act. However, starting from a synthetic material generated from Gesualdo’s writing has allowed me to ensure a certain aesthetic continuity allowing a smooth oscillation between the real madrigals and the generated madrigals. Thanks to Miri Rottmayer for her magnificent performance.