Filippo del Corno, Composer (Italian);
Angelo Miotto, Librettist (Italian)
Conductor: Philip Walsh
Non Guardate al Domani is an opera based on fact. It tells the tale of the abduction of Aldo Moro, President of Italy's Democrazia Cristiana (Christian Democrat) party in 1978, his 55 days of captivity, and his subsequent execution. The opera is divided into four segments.
In the first one an observer describes Moro's role in the political Italian scene. Suddenly a journalist announces the kidnapping of Aldo Moro and the bloody slaughter of his escort. Moro is taken by the two terrorists to his prison. After a brief dialogue with the prisoner the two terrorists write their first "communique", proudly claiming the responsibility for Moro's kidnapping for the Brigate Rosse (Red Brigade). Then Moro is left alone, and he writes his first letter to his family. The first segment ends with the listing of the names and ages of the slaughtered escorts, sung by an observer and a journalist.
The second segment begins with Moro writing a letter to the Minister of Interior. Moro begs the Minister to open negotiations and secure his release. But a politician, answering in an interview, confirms that the government is firmly refusing to negotiate. In the terrorists' prison, a male terrorist interrogates Moro in a very aggressive confrontation. In a Cabinet meeting a secret agent relates that during a seance, organized by some politicians and friends, the place name "Gradoli" came up. An anti-terrorist squad is immediately dispatched to the village of that name, while a street called "Via Gradoli" is left completely uninvestigated, despite repeated calls from Moro's family to check it. Via Gradoli, twenty days later, is discovered to be the home of the terrorist hideaway. The two terrorists write a new "communiqué" announcing the end of their trial of Moro. A death sentence is pronounced upon him.
In the third segment a journalist receives what appears to be a new terrorist's "communiqué" indicating the Duchessa's lake as the place where the body of Aldo Moro is to be found buried. Even though this "communiqué" appears to be false, a politician and a secret agent arrange widespread searches at the Duchessa's completely frozen lake. A journalist describes the searchers' failure. In the prison a male terrorist snaps a photo of Moro holding a newspaper in his hands to demonstrate that Aldo Moro is still alive. When the Pope addresses the terrorists asking for the release of Moro without any conditions, the terrorists write a new communiqué in which they ask for the release of thirteen captive terrorists: this is the condition for the freeing of Moro. But a politician, interviewed by a journalist about the opportunity finally to start a negotiation for Moro's release, confirms that nothing will change the government's firm stance against any negotiation with terrorists.
The fourth segment opens in the prison: Moro writes a new letter asking for the immediate meeting of his party's National Council in order to discuss the necessity of a negotiation. From a public telephone box a male terrorist makes a last phone call to Moro's family: in the absence of any attempt at a negotiation the terrorists will carry out the death sentence. Aldo Moro writes his last letter to his family. A male terrorist invites Moro to go with him. After that a journalist describes the finding of Moro's body in a car parked in a central street in Rome. Despite the family's wish to celebrate the funeral in privacy, a politician and the Pope proclaim that the funeral is an event of national mourning, and that there must be a solemn State funeral.
Statement by the Composer
Filippo Del Corno
When seeking a suitable subject for an opera that met the criteria of The Genesis Prizes (that the topic be from either the 20th or 21st century), Angelo and I hit upon the first public event that either of us could clearly remember.
The abduction, 55 days of captivity and subsequent death of Aldo Moro, President of Italy's DC Party in 1978, was a tragic and bloody episode that initiated a generation into the powerful and mysterious world of Italian politics and terrorism and brought home realities that until then most Italians had preferred to deny or ignore.
Angelo, who is now a journalist, has created an objective narration about the events by studying the documentation and trying to arrive at the facts. He has carefully researched all the sources currently available many of which could not be seen by contemporaries of the events themselves.
The libretto, therefore, is entirely drawn from primary sources; every word that the performers sing was pronounced or written by the protagonists of the day. We want to relate Aldo Moro's last days without any recourse to fiction.
Sharp, jump-cut scenes; banner headlines; uses of diaries and transcripts; and projection of reportage contribute to the atmosphere of virtual reconstruction and of documentary reality. We partake of Brechtian effects of the theatre; and are reminded also of that movement in American cinema and theatre in the 1930s when stories of the Depression and its headlines inspired the drama and the film.
Within this documentary framework the very personal and touching story of Moro's captivity unfolds. Through letters written by him to politicians, relatives, and collaborators, and also the Memoriale (a public document that was published in its entirety many years later), the transformation from remote public figure to terrified and cowed individual, aware of the imminence and inevitability of his own death, takes place - a drama we follow in the opera.
Angelo and I have been inspired by the codes of ancient tragedy: there will not be blood on the stage, but a holy reserve for the most dramatic moments.
The words of those events are incredibly strong; I tried to make them even stronger simply by having them sung.
Except for Moro and the Pope, the other characters are not actual people but symbolic of the kinds of people who were involved in the tale: a male and a female terrorist represent the whole group involved in Moro's captivity, a politician is a mix of all the political leaders of the day, a secret agent is a portrait of those men from Italian secret services responsible for all the conspiracies that occurred during that period. A journalist is one of the courageous reporters who tried to relate what was actually happening to a wider public; an observer is just someone who was looking for a grain of truth in the whole event.
The story is filled with disquieting events and contradictions. Controversy about these events still rages in Italy. Were things deliberately bungled or was it sincere incompetence?
And even now, in Italy, the BR group is still active: the last murder was committed by terrorists on 19 March 2002.
And it is a very significant that the family of Marco Biagi, the man just killed by BR, refused a State funeral, just as Moro's family did in 1978.
Finally I would like to say that before starting work on this opera, Angelo and I had a very vague idea about who Aldo Moro really was. Day by day we have begun to know him, his thinking, his personality; day by day we have begun to admire him.
Casting at the Workshop
Una Brigatista Natalie Raybould Soprano
Un Osservatore Louise Mott Alto
Un giornalista Andrew Forbes-Lane Tenor
Un Brigatista Hal Cazalet Tenor
Aldo Moro Robert Rice Baritone
Other characters in the opera
The Pope: Tenor
A politician: Bass
A secret agent: Bass
Repititeur: Alex Wells
Flute (doubling Piccolo), Bb Clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), Trombone, Vibraphone, Violin, Cello, Percussion x 2, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Piano (Voices and instruments should be slightly amplified)