"Il Prigioniero". Opera by L. Dallapiccola

Spanish premiere. Teatro de la Maestranza
February 13, 2010



Alfredo García, The Prisoner, baritone

Gustavo Peña, The Grand Inquisitor and Jailer,  tenor

Georgina Chakos, The mother, soprano






Santiago Serrate, conductor

About the opera

Place and date of action: A cell of the Inquisition in Zaragoza, in the second half of the sixteenth century. A rabbi is a victim of the Inquisition during the reign of Philip II. Taken prisoner, he suffers terrible tortures that cause him awful sores, but before being led to the stake, he still must undergo the last and most wicked of all tortures: that of hope. His jailer, after repeatedly whispering the word “brother”, with the expectation of the flight will create inside him the hope of regaining freedom when he suggests that he will leave his cell door open. Indeed, the Prisoner escapes through the open door and, after dodging surveillance through underground corridors, he finally comes to a big garden illuminated by a starry sky. He runs to a cedar and hugs him. He is free.

Then, from among the branches, two arms held him. “Brother,” they say, “On the eve, perhaps, of your salvation you are planning to leave?” Asks a familiar voice. The prisoner recognizes the voice of the jailer. Thus, he discovers he has been duped and that the jailer is the Grand Inquisitor, who gently takes him by the hand and  accompanies him toward the light that bounces in the background, the crackling fire. In front of it the prisoner whispers just one final question: “Freedom?”.

Prisoner of Dallapiccola

Prisoner of Dallapiccola

There is a man locked in a dungeon who has been tortured for endless days with the excuse that his thoughts are not the same as those who manage the pain. It seems like a case taken out of a newspaper or a report of International Amnesty, yet the story told by Dallapiccola in this opera takes place in Zaragoza at the time of the Inquisition.

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