Once upon a time there was an Italian family who had a magnificent garden built near their palace. BOMARZO, the opera by the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera, streamed live from Teatro Real Madrid in its first Spanish production starts at least like a fairy tale.
Is Bomarzo a dreamy garden of fairy tales… or of ghoulish nightmares? Bomarzo is a place where monstrous figures sculpted on volcanic rocks lie in wait. It is the nightmare setting of Manuel Mujica Lainez's most important novel that he also adapted into an opera libretto. The main character, Duke Pier Francesco Orsini, is a mentally and physically deformed person. In search of immortality, he drinks what he thinks is a magic potion, but in fact, it is a poison which kills him. While he agonizes, Orsini remembers decisive and often traumatic moments of his life in a terrifying game of mirrors where the stone spectres are nothing but a reflection of his dark inner self.
When Alberto Ginastera was commissioned to write an opera for the Opera Society of Washington, the composer was clear about using this story. He gave it a complex musical language and this inundates the perturbing scene. The Teatro Real presents BOMARZO for the first time in Spain, indisputably it is a reference point of Latin American music (and literature) of the 20th century.