Massimo Bellini Theater in Catania: “Sub Guardia Dei. For Judge Livatino” world premiere

“Sub Guardia Dei. For Judge Livatino ”: absolute world premiere of the opera commissioned by the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania to pay homage to the martyr magistrate on the day of his beatification

Music by Matteo Musumeci, booklet by Vincenzo Vitale.

The vocal quartet includes: the mezzo-soprano Anastasia Boldyreva, the tenor Ivan Ayon Rivas, the baritone Franco Vassallo and the soprano Francesca Dotto.

Reciting voice Massimo Popolizio.

Orchestra of the Massimo Bellini Theater, director Gianluigi Dettori.

The opera will be performed in the absence of the public and in oratorial form due to the pandemic emergency,

waiting to be represented in stage form when health conditions and regulations allow it.

CATANIA – StD, or the initials of “Sub Guardia Dei”: this is the acronym, this is the motto with which Rosario Livatino used to close his notes on the agenda, until 21 September 1990 when he was killed by the mafia. IS Sub Guardia Dei. For the judge Livatino is the title of the lyric drama in an act specially commissioned by the Massimo Bellini Theater to be performed as an absolute world premiere, in the Catania temple of music, Sunday May 9, at 6 pm: the same day in which in the morning the fearless magistrate will be declared blessed in the cathedral of Agrigento, the city near which he was reached by the assassins. Pope Francis motivated the beatification by recognizing the martyrdom of Rosario, who was killed in odium fidei. And he writes of him: “Livatino is an example not only for the magistrates, but for all those who work in the field of law, for the consistency of his faith, his commitment to work and the relevance of his reflections.” On these premises and on this profound truth is based the project that “Bellini” has created by focusing on the consonance of authors and interpreters to the equation between legality and faith, of which Livatino was the greatest incarnation.

For some time, Massimo from Catania had in store, on the initiative of the artistic director Fabrizio Maria Carminati, to commission an opera centered on this Sicilian figure of exceptional moral and civil stature. The music bears the signature of the renowned and award-winning composer from Etna Matteo Musumeci, the booklet that of Vincenzo Vitale, like Livatino, a Catholic-trained jurist, as well as a refined man of letters and a profound connoisseur of melodrama. The vocal cast is noteworthy, with the mezzo-soprano playing the role of the first judge Anastasia Boldyreva and in that of judge Livatino the tenor Ivan Ayon Rivas, while the baritone acts as the first defendant Franco Vassallo and as second defendant the soprano Francesca Dotto. Narrator will be an actor of the caliber of Massimo Popolizio. The Massimo Bellini Theater Orchestra will be conducted by Gianluigi Dettori, a well-known director, who brings to the podium the added value of being a magistrate himself.

The opera will be performed in the form of an oratorio, a prudential choice due to the health emergency which, in Sicily in the orange zone, does not even allow the presence of the public. These are the discomforts of the pandemic crisis, after which the work can be represented in stage form, fully unfolding the potential of musical theater.

Meanwhile, for the premiere on May 9, the synergy of the Massimo Bellini Theater with Classica HD continues, which will resume the performance and create a special, broadcast on 2 June in prime time. And for its ethical and civil significance, the initiative boasts the patronage of Anm – National Association of Magistrates and Ugci – Italian Catholic Jurists’ Union.

As underlined by the regional councilor for tourism, sport and entertainment Manlio Messina: «Judge Livatino’s sacrifice is a shining example of the great sense of duty and of the State, contemptuous of the danger, typical of the vast majority of Sicilians, far from the mafia and from any form of illegality. The production of the Bellini Theater honors a figure who with his sacrifice is iconic for all of us, especially for the younger generations. The fight against the mafia must also and above all be a cultural movement, and high-profile activities like this serve to keep alive the values ​​and the battle of the “boy judge”. “

So he intervenes Except Pogliese, in the double role of Mayor of Catania and president of the Bellini Theater: “If” doing justice is prayer “, as Judge Livatino wrote, then the exceptional liturgy that our temple of music celebrates, with this extraordinary work, is a solemn lay prayer dedicated to a man of faith and justice. A ritual that is also able to combine, in the eyes of the world, the history of this prestigious cultural institution with that being “credible” that “the boy judge” indicated as the main road of seriousness and truth. This is why I feel I have to extend a double thanks to the great community of the Massimo Bellini Theater. “

The personal emotion of the memory is still alive in Daniela Lo Cascio, extraordinary commissioner of the institution: «As a girl, although immersed in the beauty of my Palermo, I suffered the traumas of the tragic attacks on the magistrates. They were summers darkened by blood, so much so that years later I would have identified myself in the alienated reconstruction of Pif’s film. But the most heartbreaking hour was the murder of Rosario Livatino, it was the collective cry for a virtuous and meek thirty-year-old, for his life broken without remorse. Yet the divine protection that Rosario invoked upon himself, that placing himself Sub Guardia Dei, has been translated into implementation of the Gospel word. It is Jesus himself who warns us that the grain of wheat must die to bear fruit. And he reassures us that those who lose their life to follow him will keep it forever. The “little boy” judge was not allowed to grow old, but his teaching is imperishable and his spirit is already among the blessed, a truth that the world premiere work produced by the Bellini Theater will help to spread among the people. “

And the superintendent dwells on art as a vehicle of values Giovanni Cultrera of Montesano: «If as a rule and by rule it is the legality that protects art, with Sub Guardianship Dei. For the judge Livatino the perspective is overturned: it is the art that bows to the law, it is the tradition of melodrama that exalts it, it is the music that raises a paean to respect for the law that Rosario Livatino placed before self-sacrifice. A lesson, indeed a main road, the one he traced. In this pandemic time that we plan to leave behind, the boy judge will protect us from injustice. His perfect and pious life resembles a score without dissonances, simple and at the same time sublime like Bellini’s infinite melody. The Theater, ours, wanted to pay homage to the martyrdom of an Chosen One, in the awareness that the beauty of art is the closest to the sanctity of the spirit. “

The operation was challenging, says the artistic director Fabrizio Maria Carminati: “The date of the beatification of the” young Judge “, set at the behest of Pope Francis in the Marian month of this year, gave a decisive boost to the realization of the compositional work, leading to entrust the libretto to a former judge from Catania, as well as a professor , lawyer and journalist, who knew well the elective affinities of Rosario Livatino, that is Vincenzo Vitale. The music was commissioned to a Sicilian composer, Matteo Musumeci, representative of the world of Italian musical theater for attendance and experience. The title of the work significantly recalls the initials “StD” that Rosario Livatino used to use to identify herself. This detail confronts his profound spiritual essence, linked to an unshakable faith, which he always referred to in his profession, which has now become a mission. “

Sub Tutela Dei. For the judge Livatino

lyric drama in one act op. 108

Music by Matteo Musumeci – Libretto by Vincenzo Vitale

characters and performers

the first judge (mezzo-soprano) Anastasia Boldyreva

Judge Livatino (tenor) Ivan Ayon Rivas

the first defendant (baritone) Franco Vassallo

the second defendant (soprano) Francesca Dotto

narrator Massimo Popolizio

Director Gianluigi Dettori

Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini of Catania

Opera commissioned by the Teatro Massimo Bellini of Catania in world premiere performance

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