Leonardo Vinci and Pulcinella: when classical culture becomes popular

Who are Albino and Plautilla?
What is an intermezzo buffo?
What is meant by the ‘Neapolitan musical school’?


Format : Digital Delivery




And above all, who is Leonardo Vinci, one of the greatest exponents of the aforementioned school?
It is precisely from these questions and from the analysis of the original score that the dramaturgy was born and developed, not as a severe and academic history of music, but as a spectacular theatrical performance in which the serious genre is embodied in the character of Leonardo Vinci himself – author of the music for the comic intermezzo Albino e Plautilla – who, through the story of his mysterious life and death, will lead the spectator by the hand through the dense and secret pentagrammatic lines of pages of compositions ingeniously composed, others commissioned and many dreamed of.
But to the performance of an operetta buffa it would have been banal to interpose a serious performance, as was customary in 18th-century opera.
Albino e Plautilla is in fact a musical buffoonery set between the acts of the tragedy Silla Dittatore, by Vinci himself.
Funny intermezzo in a funny show!
So here is the strange idea of making Leonardo Vinci, played by the actor Massimo Finelli – who recounts the uses and customs of music in the eighteenth century, with an obligatory passage to the phenomenon of castrati up to his funeral monument – another character, not human, but full of humanity.
A genuine humanity, spontaneous, true, cheerful and melancholic, Mephistophelean and at the same time full of angelic childhood.
A more popular humanity expressed by a mask borrowed from the great commedia dell’arte: Punchinello, here a puppet, whose wooden body movements and peculiar voice are entrusted to the refined mastery of the puppeteer Bruno Leone.
The Punchinella of the guarattelle is no longer a servant and peasant, but an archetype of vitality, a rebellious and irreverent anti-hero, an absolute protagonist who confronts, demystifies and mocks anyone in this grotesque world who still dares to take himself too seriously.
Indeed, it is Pulcinella himself who disturbs the story of the Calabrian composer adopted by the city of Naples, mocking him and downplaying his great deeds by comparing him, in a surreal anachronistic manner, to those Neapolitan legends such as Mario Merola and Maradona,  part of a cultural substratum that is more national-popular than elitist, to create a dissonant split between genres that are undoubtedly different but which in reality are united by a single root towards those who have donated something of their Art which, from the particular city of Naples, has become historical and universal memory.
Who does not know, in fact, the king of the screenplay Mario Merola and the golden foot of Maradona? And who has never heard the name Punchinello pronounced?
For Leonardo Vinci, the case is the opposite.
A composer, for those who are not in the profession, unknown, but thanks to the constant research work of the Fondazione Pietà de’Turchini, one of the most prestigious centres of ancient music in Europe, which has also opened up to the theatre, he is now well-known.
Imagine then if his severe figure is put in communion with the aforementioned myths!
A scandal!
Vinci, too, will become unforgettable by all, because an exponent of classical culture who becomes popular not in the sense of trash, but of known, remembered, esteemed and loved.
Theatre and music thus live a happy marriage in which the distinctions between genres are annulled thanks to the purity of artistic endeavour that becomes knowledge and intellectual and sentimental enrichment.
Albino e Plautilla,
un intermezzo buffo di Leonardo Vinci
Galloping track of the Royal Palace of Portici
9th June 2021
Massimo Finelli actor
Pulcinella puppet by Bruno Leone
Javier Povedano Ruiz baritone
Gaia Petrone mezzo-soprano
Talenti Vulcanici ensemble
Stefano Demicheli direction
Dramaturgy, lighting design and direction
Angela di Maso
Giusi Giustino
Musicological consulting
Paologiovanni Maione
A Caméra Musique video production
Directed by Duilio Meucci


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