The Bride of the Sun Comes with No Strings Attached
A performance art that seems to have vanquished, that reached its peak during the 18th century, is Marionette puppetry. This sophisticated discipline has ancient origins (there is evidence it was practiced by the Egyptians and Ancient Greeks), and conquered the Orient as much as the Western world.
In Italy’s fervent Milan, when the first Universal Exposition opened its doors in 1906, the city welcomed visitors from all over the world and one of the greatest attractions offered was a puppet show at the Teatro Gerolamo in Piazza Beccaria, a place well known by the Milanese and tourists who came from the most diverse places and cultures. It was in this theater that the Carlo Colla & Figli Primary Puppet Company expressed their artistry with marionettes. The 1906 Expo was inspirational for them, since after visiting the Japanese pavilion at the Expo, Colla did not miss the opportunity to buy fabrics, Samurai armor, original puppets and lacquer masks. The so-called exoticism was at that time spreading socially and culturally. Already in 1885 Arthur Sullivan had created the Mikado operetta, in 1898 Pietro Mascagni had set to music his Iris and in 1904 Giacomo Puccini had brought the tragic story of Madama Butterfly to the scene of the Teatro alla Scala. It is therefore natural that even the puppets, always at the forefront in their theatrical choices, were inspired by the fascinating world of the Rising Sun. On the very stage of Teatro Gerolamo Carlo Il Colla adapted the Japanese folktale The Village of Mice for one of his marionette shows. But the public was aghast by the depiction of the rodents, so the show changed the characters to humans, and thus The Bride of the Sun was born. That story, slightly modified, remained in the billboard of the Teatro Gerolamo through the course of time.
Flash-forward to the 21st century: Milan hosted another grand Universal Exposition (in 2015), focusing on the urgency of sustainable issues, and the old tradition of puppetry still thrives at Teatro Gerolamo, once again with some Nippon influences. The Bride of the Sun has newly run at Teatro Gerolamo, with its timeless narrative. The dramaturgy develops in a sort of parable: the inhabitants of a village think they can offer the hand of the beautiful Rosathea, who is loved by the humble miner Takimini, to the most powerful of all: the Sun. From here a fantastic and allegorical journey among the forces of nature, will lead to reconsider the human dimension and the value of the young miner. The fable unrolls through a simple conflict and a resolution, followed by a maxim, enlightening audiences of all generations on how certain preconceptions can be misleading.
Story by Carlo II Colla
Music by Carlo Durando
Musical Direction by Danilo Lorenzini
Art Department by Francesco Bosso e Franco Citterio
Costume Design by Carlo II Colla — made by Sartoria della Compagnia
Technical direction by Tiziano Marcolegio
Lights by Franco Citterio
Directed by Eugenio Monti Colla
Camera by Franco Citterio & Giovanni Schiavolin
Franco Citterio, Maria Grazia Citterio, Piero Corbella, Camillo Cosulich, Debora Coviello, Cecilia Di Marco, Tiziano Marcolegio, Pietro Monti, Giovanni Schiavolin, Paolo Sette.
Voices (from the taped edition of 1972)
Agostino De Berti, Raffaele Carbone, Maurizio Dotti, Gabriella Mastropietro, Gianni Quillico, Gianni Rubens, Patrizia Scaglioni.
Musical Update by Luca Volontè
Daniele Sozzani Desperati, first piano
Luca Esposito, second piano
Tzu Yun Cheng, soprano
Dario Battaglia, baritone
ASSOCIAZIONE GRUPPORIANI – Milano
Comune di Milano – Teatro convenzionato