Friday, May 19, 2006

"Orlando in Love"

Jo Ann Cavallo writes:

I am happy to report that the comedy "Orlando in Love" (my adaptation of M.M. Boiardo's fifteenth century romance epic Orlando Innamorato) will debut in Manhattan this summer as a Special Event under the auspices of New York City's Department of Parks & Recreation. Performances will take place in the open air theater situated in Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell on Sat., July 15th, Sun., July 16th, and Mon., July 17th, at 8:00 pm. Following the New York City English-language debut, in August the play will be performed in Italian in various castles and historical sites of the Apulia region. Mini-seminars and workshops related to the event will also be held in August at the University of Lecce. A number of the actors, musicians, and technicians will participate on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Orlando Innamorato not only prefigures such recent box office hits as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, but also offers a vision of a world without borders. Writing for a fifteenth century Italian court society hooked on Arthurian romance but also attuned to current world events, Boiardo charts a complex imaginary course in which characters from diverse cultures encounter one another in ways that range from armed conflict to friendship and love. Although knights and damsels from around the globe are gripped by a number of passions, such as erotic desire, ambition, compassion, and the desire for glory or revenge, their actions are never based on religious or ethnic differences.
Boiardo turns the Carolingian epic on its head by creating his own version of the Roland/Orlando story, an unauthorized biography showing how the supposedly chaste paladin had actually abandoned Charlemagne's court to chase a beautiful princess from Cathay across the expanse of Eurasia. Orlando shares the stage with a host of knights, damsels, giants, wizards, fairies, and monsters, in alternating episodes of love, magic, adventure, and warfare, sometimes told through the creative rewriting of classical texts such as Homer’s Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Boiardo’s romance epic has retained its popularity and freshness for 500 years in Italian popular culture. Americans traveling to Italy today, in fact, can still find Orlando and Rinaldo fighting over the dazzling princess Angelica in Sicily's puppet theaters. Boiardo’s characters, further developed in Ariosto’s continuation Orlando Furioso, have also relived their adventures in opera, melodrama, epic maggi (folk operas), as well as in recitations by story-tellers and singers. The current production is the first full-length theatrical adaptation of Boiardo’s masterpiece for a contemporary American audience.

Matteo Maria Boiardo (1441-1494) -- contemporary of Sir Thomas Malory and forerunner of Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, Cervantes, Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis -- provides an important reference point for European and American letters, as well as a context for epic narratives which can be found in diverse cultures through the centuries in all parts of the globe.

The following seminars and workshops will held August 2-10 in conjunction with the production:

1) Four university seminars:
-Prof. Jo Ann CAVALLO, Columbia University, New York: "The ‘Orlando Innamorato’: An Epic Poem for a Global Community."
-Prof. Giuseppe COLUCCIA, University of Lecce, Italy: "Italian Theater in the Renaissance."
-Prof. Antonio MARZO, University of Lecce, Italy: "Literature as Irregularity in the Renaissance."
-Prof. Charles ROSS, Purdue University, Indiana: "The Universality of an Epic Poem: Translating the ‘Orlando Innamorato.’"

2) Five workshops closely tied to the staging of the Renaissance
romance epic in its multiple facets:

c) MUSIC and SONG (Ron McINTYRE and Melanie J.B. CHARLES)
d) DANCE (Quincy A. JUNOR)
e) VIDEO (Mario BLASI)

3) Open rehearsals for a broader public interested in learning about specific technical aspects of production demonstrated by teachers with experience working in the United States.

For further information about the Italian production, including applications for the university seminars and theater workshops, please contact:
For further information about the New York production, please contact:


Blogger Edmond Chibeau said...

A review of "Orlando In Love" can be found at Chibeau on blogger.


Orlando In Love
Theatre Review by Edmond Chibeau

“Orlando In Love” is an adaptation of Matteo Maria Boiardo’s epic poem “Orlando Innamorato.” It is being presented by Teatromania in New York’s Central Park at the Naumberg Bandshell on 15, 16, 17 July 2006

Vittorio Capotorto, the director of the production had to deal with the problems of producing an epic poem as a stage performance, the mixing of actors with varying abilities and training, and the vagaries of outdoor production in New York’s Central Park.

The results of his efforts are a surprisingly coherent presentation of a difficult text within a difficult context.

The director’s team had to bring the allegorical and courtly renaissance sensibility to a 21st Century audience. Setting up a stage production in the Naumberg Bandshell is not an easy task. The sets where simply constructed but used layers and the depth of the stage to advantage.

There was considerable variation in the abilities of the actors and musicians and dancers who make up the company. Some seemed fully aware of the outdoor performance space, the audience, and the timbre of the hot but beautiful Manhattan Summer night. While others never quite found their bearings and simply plunged ahead with the presentation.

The microphone mixer was often late in bringing up the microphones on the individual actors. The audience would miss the first few words and then have to interpolate backwards to piece out the meaning of a line of dialogue. On opening night the lighting was being adjusted throughout the intermission and parts of the performance. Producing in Central Park is an enormously complex and risky undertaking and Teatromania should be applauded for its bravery at undertaking such a daunting task.

The adaptation by Jo Ann Cavallo is smooth and flows nicely from the actors lips. Occasionally the language would shift abruptly from colloquial contemporary American English to British English to an older more courtly and formal mode that one might call International Romance Poetic. Cavallo has brought together Renaissance scholarship and poetic sensibility with dramatic flair.

The Renaissance was a time of rebirth in Europe of the Greek and Roman classics. Although the authors of the Renaissance may have thought they were following the classic traditions they were in fact creating a world of their own based on their imperfect and time biased interpretation of the classical world. We are now faced with interpreting their work through the imperfect lens of our own understanding, or misunderstanding, of the classics.

The epic in general and this epic in particular can be highly dramatic. Orlando Innamorato is replete with the many plot changes episodes and locations that one often finds in a Renaissance epic. Cavallo’s comedy adapted from the Boiardo’s epic poem takes place in 17 scenes and jumps all over the world from Charlemagne’s Court to Cathay

Boiardo’s romance of chivalry, adventure and courtly love was begun in about 1472 and remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1494. The piece ends in medias res with a promise to the audience by minor character that the story will be continued another day. It was written in ottova rima and heavily influenced by Francis Petrach (Francesco Petrarca) The story of Orlando (Roland) was taken up later, and more famously by Ludovico Ariosto in 1516 in his epic Orlando Furioso. (“Crazy Roland” or “Mad Orlando".)
The adaptation by Cavallo gives us a way into a story that will lead us back through time into the center of the Mediterranean Renaissance.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Success in Central Park of "Orlando in Love" staged by Vittorio Capotorto, a modern version of Boiardo's poem.

New York. It took the director Vittorio Capotorto eight years to stage his masterpiece, the adaptation of the chivalric poem "Orlando Innamorato" by Matteo Maria Boiardo. Eight years of work in New York and seven since the creation of his theater company, Teatromania (which has also staged other interesting works, in both Italian and English, classical and contemporary).
In fact, last week Capotorto brought to Central Park "Orlando in Love," a first comedy comprised of some episodes of Boiardo's very long poem, adapted for the stage and translated by Jo Ann Cavallo (with whom he has collaborated since 1998), giving life to a complete theatrical spectacle, of a little more than an hour, rich in all the fascinating aspects of Renaissance epic: rhyme, dragons, magic, courtesans, intersecting love stories, magic potions and fountains, monsters, wars. Including an ending that sets everything right.
And Capotorto wanted to enter Central Park with all systems go. The project, which began two years ago, combined the 150th anniversary of the founding of Central Park with the 510 years since the death of Boiardo and offered to the City of New York, Commission of Parks & Recreation, an original event that the Department of Special Events included in their programming this summer. But above all, for the world debut of "Orlando in Love," Capotorto undertook a courageous effort in fundraising in order not to leave anything to chance, involving also private contributors and foundations. The result was exalting. The 350 seats of the Bandshell, in the elegant heart of the park, were filled every evening, in part by enthusiasts, in part by Italians, and in part by passersby drawn to the notes of John La Barbera's group (which played original music live), to the phantasmagoric costumes, and to what a New Yorker would have considered at first glance a musical.
Despite the chivalric matrix, the conception of the play is modern. Let it suffice to think, for example, that the passionate monologue in which Angelica reveals that she is head over heels in love with Rinaldo (who is lying asleep on the grass), is substituted by "I te vurria vasa'." While another song from the classical Neapolitan repertoire, "O' surdato 'nnamurato," along with "Io vorrei, non vorrei ma se vuoi" (Lucio Battisti) fit perfectly with the script.
What elicits enthusiasm is above all the compactness of the work, due to the fast rhythms of the action. The stories in the Orlando Innamorato are in fact long and elaborate, but the script by Jo Ann Cavallo renders justice to the essence of Boiardo's fantasy and does not weigh down the theatrical performance. In the past, Cavallo and Capotorto staged a version that attempted to be more faithful to the original poem, in the context of Columbia University's Summer Program (with American students on stage who recited fifteenth century Italian verse), but the Central Park production, of a highly professional dimension, functions scenically much better.
Actors and dancers (26 in all, plus 4 musicians) keep the action flowing continuously, and the great flowering of vicissitudes was received enthusiastically even by a public, like that of New York, not used to medieval chivalry.
The director from Apulia accomplished a refined work of harmonization, weaving together the various threads of a play complex for its musical aspects, acting and staging. Obviously in that he was supported by a group of young actors who were fully up to the challenge. First among all, Casey Simons, an Angelica perfect in her figure of a perfidious Madonna and with a solid musical presence. But "bravi" were also Rinaldo (Stas May), Orlando (John Kaisner) and the funny jester (Page Jackson).
In the panorama of neglected Italian theater in New York, after the success of "Orlando in Love," Vittorio Capotorto and Teatromania have affirmed themselves as a continuous reference point for artistic projects of a professional level.
Paolo Tartamella (America Oggi, Thursday, July 20, 2006)

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love abiding joy

9:48 PM  

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