The name of the rose by Francesco Filidei on stage at La Scala in 2025

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The Teatro alla Scala together withOpera National de Paris commissioned the composer Francesco Filidei a new work based on the novel by Umberto Eco The Name of The rose (ed. The ship of Theseus). The world premiere, with the direction of Ingo Metzmacherdirected by Damiano Michieletto And Kate Lindsay And Lucas Meachem in the parts of Adso da Melk and Guglielmo da Baskerville, is scheduled at the Piermarini for the 2024/2025 season and the show will be co-produced by La Scala with the Opéra and with the Carlo Felice Theater in Genoa. The Name of The rosewhose score will be published by Memories Houseis Philides’ third work after Giordano Bruno – with an Italian libretto by Stefano Busellato (Oporto, Casa da Musica, Teatro Valli in Reggio Emilia 2015, presented at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan during the Milano Musica Festival of the same year) – and The flood, with a French libretto by Joël Pommerat (Paris, Opéra Comique 2019). This time Filidei himself – engaged on the libretto with Stephen Busellato And Pierre Senges as well as with playwrights Hannah Dubgen And Charles Pernigotti – works on two versions, Italian and French, for the first in Milan and Paris.

The presentation

The presentation of the project took place today in the Ridotto dei Palchi of the Teatro alla Scala, on the days when the 32nd edition of the Festival takes place in Milan Milan Musicand it was an opportunity to anticipate that the 2025 Festival program will once again have a monographic character and will be dedicated precisely to Francesco Filidei. The Name of The rose is the second project carried out by the Teatro alla Scala in collaboration with SIAE – Italian Society of Authors and Publishers in the context of Competition for composers, librettists and choreographers enrolled in the SIAE. The first edition, reserved for choreography, had supported the creation of Medinachoreography by Mauro Bigonzetti and music by Fabio Vacchi, staged in 2021.

The work

To set up the compositional work, still in progress, Francesco Filidei first asked himself what Eco’s narrative path would have been if he had been a musician instead of a writer. To answer it is necessary to analyze the narrative structure of the novel to translate it into musical dramaturgy. A central node is the relationship that the text maintains with the nineteenth-century popular novel, especially French (The Count of Monte Cristo, The Mysteries of Paris, etc.), but also with nineteenth-century popular opera, especially Italian (Don Carlos, The Troubadour). Eco himself, explains Filidei, indicates the path to follow when in the Notes to the Name of the Rose Talks about “a book which assumed the structure of a buffo melodrama, with long recitatives, and large arias”. Furthermore, Eco recounts in various interviews that an inspiration for his writing came from the work of collation of different materials made by Mahler in his symphonies (and in this sense one cannot fail to mention his friendship with Berio and the Third Movement of Symphonygravitating around the Scherzo della Second by Mahler). Filidei therefore develops his musical discourse as a supporting structure of a symphonic type on which is grafted a succession of arias and recitatives, almost closed forms, whose material is mainly derived from the variation of Gregorian melodies. It is the dimension of the sacred that justifies the passage from speech to song.

Dramaturgically, the work, which will have the structure of an authentic grand-opéra with over fifteen characters, will exploit the structure of the novel, in which the facts are always presented “de relato”, to give each one an air. The theological and philosophical reflections inserted by Eco in the book and difficult to translate into theatrical language will be reflected in the formal construction of some sections of the work, through madrigalisms and leitmotif structures associated with the various proposed themes. Filidei shares Eco’s passion for linguistic matter, be it words or notes, and a taste for structure and symmetry. The Name of The rose it is divided into seven days, three of which will form the first act and four (the last is a short closure) the second. The two acts have a symmetrical shape and the scenes are each built on a note: C, C sharp, D flat, D… and then specularly until returning to C. The result is a rigorous formal architecture, but also the graphic representation of a labyrinth, or the embrace of the petals: a work in the form of a rose.

La Scala and today’s music

The commission confirms the Teatro alla Scala’s commitment to promoting the music of our time in an increasingly innovative and pluralistic perspective. After the extraordinary success of the world premiere of dance theatre Medina by Fabio Vacchi with choreography by Mauro Bigonzetti in 2021 (again with the support of SIAE) and landing at Piermarini by The Storm by Thomas Adès in 2022, the Theater is banking on a new commission from one of the greatest Italian composers, inspired by one of the most significant literary masterpieces of the last decades of the 20th century. The last Scala commissions had been, in addition to the already mentioned Medina, Co2 by Giorgio Battistelli, I see you, I hear you, I get lost by Salvatore Sciarrino in 2017 and End de partie by György Kurtág in 2018, while in 2019 it was also revived Quartet by Luca Francesconi which premiered in 2011.

Also in 2025 it will also be staged Anne Athe opera on Anna Achmatova on a libretto by Paolo Nori commissioned by Silvia Colasanti from La Scala and intended for an audience of teenagers, while performances of the The little Princea work for the little ones commissioned from Pierangelo Valtinoni in 2022. If we also consider the ever-increasing presence of contemporary music, not necessarily classically inspired, in the new proposals for the ballet season, La Scala shows that it has embarked on a openness to new and multiple languages.