Let me introduce Pinucccio Sciola and his ‘sound stones’
“Marco Polo describes a bridge, stone by stone. ‘But which is the stone that supports the bridge?’ Kublai Khan asks. ‘The bridge is not supported by one stone or another,’ Marco answers, ‘but by the line of the arch that they form.’ Kublai Khan remains silent, reflecting. Then he adds: ‘Why do you speak to me of the stones? It is only the arch that matters to me.’ Polo answers: ‘Without stones there is no arch.’” – Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities.
“When it was not I, and when it was not the time. When chaos ruled the universe. When the incandescent magma flowed the mystery of my education. Since them, my time is retreated into a hard crust. I lived endless geological eras. My memory of the stone was shacked by huge cataclysms. Emotionally I take inside me the first signs of human civilisation. Mi tiempo no tiene tiempo, My time has not got time..” Pinuccio Sciola. – Text by Elisabetta Viviani; Translation by Antonella Massarelli.
Pinuccio Sciola was born in 1942 in San Sperate, a small village in the Southern part of Sardinia boasting an ancient farming tradition specialising in horticultural crops and fruit trees. He attended the Magistero d’Arte at Porta Romana in Florence, sculpture courses at the International Academy in Salzburg and the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. After Spain, Paris. He eventually comes back to San Sperate. This is Sciola: painter, carver, sculptor, and former peasant who has never disowned the soil on which he stands. He wrote: “Sardinia is the rock, one and the same. The rock is nature, the rock is mother… I have been sculpting for thousand of years… I have something to say and I’m able to say it in stone. Stone has absolute sense…” – Text by Giuseppe Marci; Translation by Sally Davies.
Now, I don’t want to act as a show-off in writing this article. I have two paintings by Pinuccio Sciola and I know of his fame, but I have to confess that I didn’t know him and his work before the afternoon of 13 June 2014. Professor Giuseppe Marci was escorting me in San Sperate, on a very hot summer’s day. But before this incredible visit, during a meeting with the Rector of the University of Cagliari in the morning, I was very surprised when he stood up and started playing with a stone. It was a strange sculpture sitting on his desk, a work by Sciola, of course. The Rector played the stone, exactly, not beating it but by passing his hand over its surface. And the stone made different sounds! A hint of a symphony, something musical and not disordered notes, be careful. Yes, because Pinuccio Sciola, among all the other things, is the inventor of the “sound stones”, sonorous stones.
I shook his hand in the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, where he is preparing the astonishing scenography of Turandot (an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini, set in China).
Pinuccio Sciola has the face of a movie actor and hero, of a perfect tombeur de femmes, a direct and smart glance, a powerful handshake and the spirit of a character of the commedia dell’arte, going beyond Goldoni. His Cagliari dialect is full of bright images and considerations, disagreements and disputations, cultural openings and strong points of view. He is an artistic firework, very opinionated and captivating.
But his show – because we are talking about a spontaneous but vigorous show – reached its peak in the afternoon, in his lab in San Sperate and in his open-air museum.
The sculptures are fantastic in their own right, from little rocks to impressive skyscrapers or flashes of disquieting cities, to shocking dolmens. Moreover, the sound of the rocks is an element that adds life, thoughts and existential doubts. I heard the sound of water flowing inside limestone, for example, which was stupefying, and the dark sound of basalt. It was an odd emotion, difficult to explain (I’m not a musician), very deep and moving.
Now, let’s picture a Sardinian sunset over a wild place full of primitive rocks, where the colours change every moment. Imagine the transparent stones and their symphonies: that’s magic indeed!
A delegation from the City University of Hong Kong – and all the other guests, of course – will spend the afternoon of 9 October 2014 in San Sperate, meeting Pinuccio Sciola and assisting at an incredible event: a simple, natural and ancestral sunset!
Join us, my friends – you won’t regret it.
P.s. Fifty Sciola’s works are shown in Shanghai, at the “La Verita’ dei Materiali” exhibition, Italian Centre, until April 2015. Beyond Thirty-Nine is trying to move the sculptures from Shanghai to Hong Kong before their return to Sardinia.
On Friday 27th June at 9 p.m., the third operatic appointment with theTeatro Lirico Opera and ballet season 2014 will be on stage: Turandot, a lyric drama in three acts and five scenes, set to a libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, based on the Carlo Gozzi’s “tale for the theatre” of the same name, music by Giacomo Puccini (Lucca, 1858 – Brussels, 1924).
The Teatro Lirico di Cagliari new staging of the opera is directed by the Florentine Pier Francesco Maestrini, who avails himself of Pinuccio Sciola, an eminent artist and a famous sculptor at his operatic debut, in regard to scenic design, of Marco Nateri, in regard to costumes and of Simon Corder, as to lighting design.
Young Milanese conductor Giampaolo Bisanti, one of the best performers of the great music repertoire, coming back to Cagliari after Verdi’s Otello of last year, will lead the Orchestra and the Chorus of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and the Children’s Chorus of Cagliari State Conservatory “Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina” in the final masterpiece by the ingenious Tuscan composer. The chorus master is Marco Faelli, and the children’s chorus master is Enrico Di Maira.
Turandot, an unfinished masterpiece of XIX century music theatre, interrupted in the third act with Liu’s aria «Tu che di gel sei cinta» because of Puccini death on 29th November del 1924, was completed later by Franco Alfano, following the sketches which were left by Puccini. And it was performed incomplete by Arturo Toscanini at the La Scala premiere on 25 April 1926, when he stopped conducting in the very point where Puccini had stopped to write the score, after Liu’s death.
The fairy-like subject, the Turandot’s character itself, fairy-like in its consistency in evil as well as in its sudden final change of mood, were new to Puccini, up till then interested in quite different subjects. The exoticism as a linguistic fact, which could renovate the exhausted structures of western music with dissonant harmonies, and the sentimental pathetic melody in the more usual Puccini’s style perfectly intersect in this last and final Puccini’s masterpiece.
The opera will obviously be sung in Italian, with projected surtitles to facilitate the understanding of the libretto, as it has become a long established tradition of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari.
The visionary monumental Pinuccio Sciola’s staging of Turandot, Giacomo Puccini’s final masterpiece, enhances the Opera and ballet season 2014 – Fondazione Teatro Lirico di Cagliari.