Cyprus Mail

A mother’s love never dies

By Maria Gregoriou

Artists from Cyprus and Italy will unite on stage on Monday in Limassol and on Friday next week in Nicosia to present performances of the one act opera Suor Angelica… was my Mother by Giacomo Puccini.

This modern version of the opera has been created by Italian stage director Paolo Baiocco, who used a new experimental formula of staging in Italy and other European countries as well as Japan, America, Mongolia and Korea, to bring it to life. The idea is to have performances in the language of their country, so for the performances in Cyprus, you can expect Greek to be the language that communicates this tragic story.

The performances, under the auspice of Italian Ambassador in Nicosia, Guido Cerboni, and the Vatican Attaché in Nicosia, father George Kras, aim to attract new and young audiences to watch and listen to an opera.

Suor Angelica… was my Mother had its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on December 14, 1917. This opera is located in a monastery of nuns and this new version includes a new character, although this new addition does not alter any of Puccini’s score, rather it gives the opera an original point of view.

The new character tells the story of a nun of the monastery who, years before, committed suicide. The man recalls the emotionally-charged story and leads the audience into the desperate past that the nun had to live through.

The nun is Suor Angelica, a girl who came from an aristocratic family, whom she embarrassed after having a baby boy out of wedlock. After causing great shame, her parents sent her away to a monastery where she remained for seven years without even one visitor, until one day her cruel aunt came to see her.

Anxious to know what happened to her son, Suor Angelica asks what happened to him and she finds out that he was very sick as a child and her family did everything they could to save him.

Sister Angelica then asks if he is dead and her aunt doesn’t respond. This silence is interpreted by the nun as a positive answer. The unbearable pain leads her to take poison and end her life so that she may meet her son in the afterlife.

Baiocco explains that after the question about the child’s death is raised and the aunt remains silent – which could mean that he did die or that he is still alive – he introduces the character of Angelo, Suor Angelica’s son.

“Angelo was raised away from her [Suor Angelica], which, as an adult, recounts the events that led his mother to die.

“The aim of creating this new character is to create a stronger emotional link between Suor Angelica’s story and the audience members, so that Puccini’s masterpiece can be enjoyed even more,” Baiocco said.

All proceeds from the performances will be donated to the Centre of Preventive Paediatrics.

Suor Angelica.. Was My Mother
Performance of the one act opera by Giacomo Puccini. December 7-9. St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, 2 Jerusalem Street, Limassol. 8.30pm. €25. Tel: 25-362946

December 11-12. Holy Cross Catholic Church, Near Paphos Gate, Nicosia. 8.30pm. €25. Tel: 77-772422

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