"A Sweet Silence in Cremona" Opera to Premiere This Weekend

The comic opera will premiere on May 8, 2022, in the Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli in Cremona, Italy

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"A Sweet Silence in Cremona" is an internationally co-produced opera from the Center for Contemporary Opera of New York and the Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli in Cremona.

Commissioned by NYU's Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and NYU Florence, the music was composed by Clinical Assistant Professor, Roberto Scarcella-Perino, and the libretto was written by Mark Campbell.

The comic opera is inspired by an event in recent history when the mayor of the Italian city imposed a moratorium on urban noise while the Museum of Violins painstakingly recorded some of its renowned string instruments for posterity. The work follows the lives of seven people (and one dog) during this noise ban — and will feature violinist Lena Yokoyama in the orchestra as a prominent character.

"Cremona is the city of violins: when you walk down the street, you meet mainly luthiers, violinists, and violin teachers," composer Roberto Scarcella-Perino told The Violin Channel. "To celebrate this magic instrument, Mark created a character “The Violin,” a coloratura soprano, who will sing with the violin in the orchestra in a mirroring duet. This is the moment when the words leave the voice to the music, the universal language of mankind."

"I read an article in the New York Times about a moratorium on noise the mayor of Cremona was imposing on the city while its famous collection of strings instruments was being recorded," librettist Mark Campbell said. "It seemed like comic gold to me, and I proposed creating a fictional story based on this event to Roberto."

"The opera manages to sneak in positive messages about immigrants in Italy, peaceful mortality, and the power of music to hear," he added. "But I think the audience will be listening so much to Roberto’s music that they may not notice."

The opera will premiere on May 8, 2022, in the Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli in Cremona, Italy. You can buy tickets, here.

"It’s not so common to have an opera premiere in the place where it takes place," Scarcella-Perino continued. "Tosca, one of my favorite operas, premiered in Rome in 1900, and it takes place in three wonderful Roman locations: the Church of Sant’Andrea Della Valle, Palazzo Farnese, and Castel Sant’Angelo, but in 1800, a hundred years before."

"A Sweet Silence in Cremona will premiere in Cremona, in the fantastic Teatro Ponchielli, and the audience will watch a story about their own city, and from the same time period."