Un re in ascolto

"Un re in ascolto" ("A King Listens") is an opera by Luciano Berio, who also wrote the libretto. The libretto (in Italian) is based on an idea by Italo Calvino, incorporating excerpts from Friedrich Einsiedel and Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter's eighteenth century libretto on Shakespeare's "The Tempest" as well as W. H. Auden's "The Sea and the Mirror". Berio himself described the work as an "azione musicale" (musical action) rather than an opera. It falls into 19 sections grouped into two parts. The work was written from 1981–83 and received its premiere at the Kleines Festspielhaus, Salzburg, on Date|1984-08-07, conducted by Lorin Maazel, directed by Götz Friedrich, with set designs by Günther Schneider-Siessman.Loveland, Kenneth, "Reports: Salzburg" (October 1984). "The Musical Times", 125 (1700): p. 588.] The London premiere was on Date|1989-02-09 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. [Vogt, Matthias Theodor (translated by Stewart Spencer), "Listening as a Letter of Uriah: A Note on Berio's "Un re in ascolto"(1984) on the Occasion of the Opera's First Performance in London (9 February 1989)" (July 1990). "Cambridge Opera Journal", 2 (2): pp. 173–185.] [Belinfante, David, "Luciano Berio's "Un re in ascolto" (February 1989). "The Musical Times", 130 (1752): pp. 70–71.] [Northcott, Bayan, "Notes on Auden: 2. Life after Britten?" (February 1993). "The Musical Times", 134 (1800): pp. 68–72.]



The opera does not have a conventional linear narrative.

The opera concerns itself with a king of a mythical kingdom who lives detached from his realm, where his only contact with his kingdom is through overhearing conversations. A traveling theatrical troupe arrives to stage a performance of "The Tempest". The king overhears this action, and begins to imagine himself as Prospero from the play. As he overhears the auditions and the rehearsals, he begins to equate these with the happenings in his kingdom, blurring the two worlds. However, the king eventually undergoes a psychological collapse. Ultimately, the rehearsed production of "The Tempest" never occurs and the theatrical troupe departs. The king has a vision of the future as he moves towards his own death.


*Luciano Berio: "Un re in ascolto" (Theo Adam, Heinz Zednik, Sylvia Greenberg, Gabriele Sima, Helmut Wildhaber, Patricia Wise, Karan Armstrong, Rohangiz Yachmi, Anna Gonda, Helmuth Lohner; Vienna Philharmonic; Conductor: Lorin Maazel) CD 1999. Label: Col Legno 20005

References and sources

*GroveOnline|Re in ascolto, Un|David Osmond-Smith|March|2008
*"Viking Opera Guide" ed. Holden (Viking, 1993)
* [http://www.universaledition.com/truman/en_templates/paste.php3?template=werkinfo&werk=5523&komp_uid=54&spr=en The publisher's description] — Universal Edition

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  • ascolto — /a skolto/ s.m. [der. di ascoltare ]. 1. [l ascoltare qualcosa o qualcuno] ▶◀ (non com.) ascoltazione. ● Espressioni: dare (o porgere o prestare) ascolto ▶◀ e ◀▶ [➨ ascoltare (2)] …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • ascolto — a·scól·to s.m. CO 1. l ascoltare: essere, stare in ascolto; l ascolto è disturbato da rumori 2. attenzione; porgere, prestare, dare ascolto, dare retta 3. audience {{line}} {{/line}} DATA: av. 1400. ETIMO: der. di ascoltare …   Dizionario italiano

  • ascolto — s. m. 1. audizione, attenzione, udienza □ (di telefonata e sim.) intercettazione □ (di programma radio e tv.) audience (ingl.) 2. (med.) auscultazione FRASEOLOGIA dare ascolto, dar retta …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • ascolto — {{hw}}{{ascolto}}{{/hw}}s. m. Atto dell ascoltare | Essere, stare, mettersi in –a, porsi ad ascoltare | Dare, porgere, prestare –a, prestare attenzione, dare retta …   Enciclopedia di italiano

  • ascolto — pl.m. ascolti …   Dizionario dei sinonimi e contrari

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  • ascoltare — v. tr. [lat. volg. ascultare, per il class. auscultare ] (io ascólto, ecc.). 1. [prestare ascolto a qualcosa, anche assol.: a. una predica ; non fare commenti e a.! ] ▶◀ (stare a) sentire, stare in ascolto, udire, [di nascosto] origliare. ◀▶ [con …   Enciclopedia Italiana

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