SILENT CITY – notes from Matera 2019 – 6th November


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SILENT CITY – notes from Matera 2019 – 6th November


Today on the 4th November is the first day of rehearsals for Silent City. The sun is shining in this beautiful city as we take a small bus to the dance studio and disco which will be our creative home for one month.

Performances are on the 29th and 30th November and 1st December. See more details below.

Silent City is a dream for Vania Cauzillo and Alessandra Maltempo, the two directors of the artistic collective and lead Production Company, Compagnie Teatrale L’Albero in Matera. A company that creates film, music theatre and arts education programmes.

James Bonas, Director with Tina Ellen Lee, Producer and Artistic Director of Opera Circus have brought together a team of artists from the UK and Belgium with one of Italy’s great production managers, Paolo Belluso to collaborate with the Italian artists and others to create the first community opera in this region, Silent City.

Nigel Osborne is the composer and music mediator with the community, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, the Librettist, Cydney Uffindell-Phillips the Choreographer and Movement Director. Rob Casey is Lighting Designer and Bruno Soriato the Set Designer. Andrea Ciommiento, the fine dramaturg and Gino Marangi, the artist/facilitator in particular working with the children. Zakk Hein is creating video projections for the opera.

Nigel Osborne creating a song with the community in Matera

We are all lucky to be working with the superb innovative orchestra from Bologna, Orchestra Senza Spine with the composer and conductor Tommaso Ussardi, who is the music director and conductor for Silent City.

Open Design School, a project of Matera 2019 are building the platforms and set parts with design by Bruno Sartori who is responsible for all the design elements.

Special mention must be made of Professor Fabrizio Festa and his team from the Conservatorio in Matera who have worked with Nigel Osborne and Peter Nelson in a collaboration between Matera and Edinburgh, to create the electronic soundscape and score. This was made possible with support and funding from Opera Circus, Nigel Osborne with the University of Edinburgh and the Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh.

There will be a complete list of all those who have participated in building this Italian/UK collaboration shortly and to all those who have made this dream a reality.

Matera’s children helping to create the dance and music for Silent City
Matera’s children helping to create the dance and music for Silent City
At the heart of the work is the community, the children and older people in Matera who have shared their stories and melodies and will be performing alongside the singers, dancers and actors. Without them, this community opera would have no meaning and we thank them for all their work in helping and advising us during the process.
The first conversations about the memories of Matera with the community
The performance space is being created in a disco – which is currently for sale and someone should buy it and turn it into an off-fringe receiving venue for Basilicata and Southern Italy before it becomes storage space.
Matera by night

More information about silent City on the Matera2019 programme.
Tickets and times of performances will be found on this link from November 12th

Silent City

Ryanair flies directly from Stansted
Alitalia flies via other Italian airports.
You can fly to Naples and travel the rest of the way by bus, which, from personal experience, isn’t that reliable
There is no train to Matera.
The buses from Bari to Matera and return are wonderful and only €3.

Plenty of good and reasonable accommodation – even now.

Buy your Matera 2019 passport from here
and this will give you access to all sorts of things in the city including the opera and bus travel for only €19.

The food and wine are of course, wonderful.

If you have never been to Matera come and see the opera and spend a weekend in this staggeringly beautiful city.


All Photographs by Robert Golden.

More information soon.