La Testa Di Santa Caterina

a mono-opera for soprano and chamber ensemble

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Motivic fragments freely moved in and out of the overall texture; the composer created contrasts by engineering momentary confluences of these disparate elements.

Joel Schwindt The Boston Musical Intelligencer

ABOUT

Growing up in Moscow, one of the most memorable (and terrifying) experiences of my childhood was the annual trip to the Mausoleum — a black tomb not unlike the tombs of the Egyptian Pharaohs, in which the Soviet communists preserved the body of Vladimir Lenin. The image of the mummified Lenin bathed in a yellowish glow, surrounded by plastic flowers, remains ingrained in my memory.
 
I had a similarly chilling, yet somehow thrilling experience this past summer when I encountered the mummified head of St. Catherine in the Basilica San Domenico in Siena. Even though it dates from 1383, with the right angle and a trick of light we imagine the beautiful woman Catherine once was. St. Catherine, who believed herself to be the bride of Jesus, died of starvation at thirty three and was buried in Rome. Her head was cut off, stolen from its grave by her fellow Sienese, who wished to bury St. Catherine in her native city.
 
The text is based on St. Catherine’s last letter, written in 1377. Caterina, who at this point had nearly starved herself to death, describes an hallucination – likely a clinical death experience. Despite its subject matter, the text of this letter conveys something rather naive, even joyful, in the voice of a young girl, who is ready to accept death playfully. As if predicting her future, Caterina talks about her own head, separated from her body.
Mátti Kovler

SCORING

DETAILS

PREMIERE

Small Version

sopr, ct/cl/cello/vibr

Chamber Version

sopr, ct/cl/string quartet/vibr

June 5, 2010

 

Accademia Chigiana, Siena

Alda Caielo - Soprano

Original text © Letter XXVII of St. Catherine of Siena (Italian).

Italian adaptation by Mátti Kovler, Daniela Terranova and Ippolita Nuti.

REVIEWS

Soprano Ariadne Greif displayed an impressive level of engagement, moving effectively between sung and spoken portions of the text while remaining firmly engaged in the drama itself. Kovler’s composition was often highly abstracted, as motivic fragments freely moved in and out of the overall texture; the composer created contrasts by engineering momentary confluences of these disparate elements. The strongest confluence of motivic and even harmonic structure was when Saint Catherine speaks of her vision, in which her head was separated from her body — foreshadowing the post-mortem removal of her head, which was done so that some part of her body could rest in her native town of Siena (she was interred in Rome).

Joel Schwindt The Boston Musical Intelligencer

La Testa Di Santa Caterina | Williams Hall

Ariadne Greif, Tomas Cruz

12:51, full

La Testa Di Santa Caterina | Jordan Hall

Ariadne Greif, Tomas Cruz

12:40, full

La Testa Di Santa Caterina

Ariadne Greif, Tomas Cruz

3:48 min, excerpt

OTHER works

The Drumf and the Rhinegold
an operatic apocalypse
Here Comes Messiah
a mono-opera for soprano and orchestra
Ami & Tami
a musical fable for children
Show More

CONTACT

 

BOOKING  |  COMMISSIONING  |  PRESS INQUIRIES

Amanda Cooper, ALC Management 

 

Email: amanda@alc-arts.com

Inquiries for ‘Here Comes Messiah’, ‘Ami & Tami’, ‘The Drumf & the Rhinegold’:

Floating Tower

Erin Simmons, producer

 

139 Jackson St. Suite 4B 

Brooklyn NY 11211

erin@floatingtower.com

tel: +1 469 826 0000

Mátti Kovler's scores and recordings are published exclusively by BarkolMusic [ASCAP] and Floating Tower Records. 

 

Inquiries regarding all European engagements: 

World Entertainment Company

Luca Ceretta, managing director

Király utca 56. 1. em 5

1068 Budapest

cell HU +36 3067 49980

cell ITA +39 329 472 1404

luca.ceretta@wechungary.com

www.wec-spa.com/en

For Repertoire advice, commission inquiries and general information about scores and individual works please contact Mátti directly at

info@mattikovler.com

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