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William Kentridge, Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome.

4 years ago

Roma Capitale and TEVERETERNO are pleased to announce a major new work by artist William Kentridge, entitled Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome.

The artist’s most ambitious project to date, Triumphs and Laments is a 500 meter-long frieze, erased from the biological patina on the travertine embankment walls that line Rome’s urban waterfront. Exploring dominant tensions in the history of the Eternal City from past to present, more than eighty figures, up to 10 meters high, represent Rome’s greatest victories and defeats from mythological time to present, forming a silhouetted procession on Piazza Tevere.

The hope is that, [as] people walk the extent of these 500 meters, they will see images of the history they find both familiar and transformed in some way. And this will reflect the complex way in which a city is represented… We are trying to find the triumph in the lament and the lament in the triumph, putting together a sense of history from fragments. – William Kentridge

Triumphs and Laments will premiere with a live theatrical program – free and open to the public –performed on April 21 (the symbolic birthday of the City of Rome) at 20:30 and on April 22, 2016 at 20:30 and 22:30. Created by William Kentridge, with original music by renowned South African composer Philip Miller and Thuthuka Sibisi, the performance features live shadow play and two musical processions – one an expression of triumph, one of lament – converging against the backdrop of the frieze, projecting voices and instruments across the river where the public will gather. The music, inspired by the liturgical songs of late Renaissance Italian composer Salomone Rossi, incorporates traditional sounds of southern Italy, the words of poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and fragments of graffiti from the Tiber embankment walls where Kentridge’s frieze now stands, interwoven with songs and chants from beyond the borders of Europe. The music of Triumphs and Laments is a music of exodus, of tragedy, of hope.

The processions will feature more than forty musicians and vocalists, including soloists Lavinia Mancusi, Ann Masina, Joanna Dudley, Patrizia Rotonda and Bham Ntabeni, as well as a diverse range of instruments, from the soft tones of the African kora to the rousing drone of the Italian zampogna. Voices from both the past and present will rise and fall in the call and response of Triumphs and Laments: a Mandinkan slave song from West Africa, an ancient Southern Italian melismatic folk song, a battle song from the Zulu warriors – with Rilke’s words to be recited and sung throughout: “That is the longing: to dwell amidst the waves / and have no homeland in time.” (Questa e la nostalgia: vivere nella piena / e non avere patria dentro al tempo.)

In conjunction with the opening, TEVERETERNO will present the first edition of its Young Composers Commission (YCC) on April 22 at 13:00. Directed by composer David Monacchi and produced in collaboration with two of Italy’s leading conservatories, G. Rossini of Pesaro and Santa Cecilia in Rome, the YCC will feature original compositions created by emerging Italian composers, inspired by the Tiber site.

The public is invited to watch and listen from the left bank (east) of the river, opposite the frieze, which can be accessed via staircases at Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini, and from the street (Lungotevere dei Tebaldi) and bridges above.

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • William Kentridge William Kentridge
  • Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome. Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome.

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