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08 June 2023

Gioele Muglialdo conducts FRATE SOLE, rediscovered masterpiece
Haydn Orchestra Ensemble Vocale Continuum (Chorus Master Luigi Azzolini) conducted by Gioele Muglialdo - Auditorium

Program Info:
FRATE SOLE – cineconcert (1918)
Directed by Ugo Falena and Massimo Corsi
Music by Luigi Mancinelli

"Event" is undoubtedly an overused word in these culturally confused times, but one that can safely be used for "Frate Sole", the film-concert that will be performed on June 8th and 9th in Bolzano and Trento (in Trento as the highlight of the Regional Festival of Sacred Music).
The Haydn Orchestra and the Ensemble Vocale Continuum (chorus master Luigi Azzolini) will be conducted by Gioele Muglialdo

We are talking, of course, of Saint Francis of Assisi, an exceptional, hieratic figure who fascinates believers and non-believers alike, and who has inspired numerous films. "Frate Sole" was the very first one and is a milestone in the history of Italian filmmaking.

The year was 1918 (the first screening took place at Rome’s Augusteo) and the people who worked on this “colossal” were prestigious: Luigi Mancinelli – one of the most important conductors of the late 19thand early 20th century, the advocate of Wagnerism in Italy and ”father” of the success of Cavalleria Rusticana – composed the complex score entitled “Poema sinfonico e corale in quattro canti di Luigi Mancinelli, per la visione storica di Mario Corsi” (Symphonic and Choral Poem in four cantos by Luigi Mancinelli, for the historical film by Mario Corsi). The latter wrote the story and screenplay, and was the film’s director together with Ugo Falena, another prominent figure of the day. Even the costumes were created by a celebrity, one of the great exponents of Art Nouveau in Italy: Duilio Cambellotti.

The film is inspired by the Cantico written by Saint Francis in Umbrian vernacular shortly before his death (1226), which celebrates the Creator by extolling His creatures: water, fire, the stars, the moon and death. From it, Mario Corsi drew four episodes: “The Leper’s kiss”, “On the Footprints of the Pauper of Assisi”, “The Temple” and “The Stigmata”.

The film was restored in 1998 by the “Cineteca Italiana”, and the score has been revised and re-synchronized with the images by Gioele Muglialdo, one of the film-concerto’s greatest experts, who has earned international renown with prestigious performances first among all “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang, conducting orchestras such as Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Turin, Münchner Symphoniker, just to name a few.

"Frate Sole" therefore finds its physiological and ideal place in the current year 2023, the first of four years of Franciscan celebrations 2023-26 that see and will see the worldwide attention focused on the figure of Saint Francis through religious, cultural and artistic events dedicated to it.

Eight centuries have passed since the events that changed the life of Saint Francis in Assisi, and that with him have changed the course of the history of humanity and the stories of thousands of people, of every age and every part of the world, of every religion, of every cultural and social background. And the years we are living now are a precious opportunity to return to that founding experience, to rediscover it and renew its evangelical freshness.

The cine-concert "Frate Sole" is therefore an opportunity for institutions to be at the forefront of the rediscovery, protection and enhancement of the forgotten Italian musical heritage; an opportunity for a heterogeneous audience to recognize themselves in the universal message of humility and peace of Saint Francis; an opportunity for institutions that invest in the project of promoting a unique cultural operation.

The sensitivity of the Haydn Foundation and the Regional Festival of Sacred Music of Trento should therefore be praised for having grasped the scope of "Frate Sole" and having therefore laid the foundations for what promises to be two great performances.

"Frate Sole", sometimes projected in spurious versions or with non-original soundtracks has not yet enjoyed, in recent times, the success it deserves.

Maestro Muglialdo, with his tireless efforts to promote a repertoire still too little represented, yet of maximum interest, has made possible its performance in modern times: it is therefore plausible to think that the road to its rebirth is open, as suggested by the many requests from Italy and beyond and by the numerous commitments already signed for the performance of this version, the most reliable and faithful to the original.

For this reason, thanks to maestro Muglialdo who made it possible to perform it in modern times, it is plausible to think that the road to its rebirth is open, as suggested by the many requests from Italy and beyond, and the numerous commitments already signed for a performance of this version, the most faithful to the original.

The hope is therefore that this work of extraordinary musical and cinematographic intensity - an authentic "rediscovered masterpiece" - can be fully appreciated by the widest national and international audience.

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This concert-info was provided by Gioele Muglialdo. Thanks much for that! :)
Last edited: 28 May 2023 - 07:49 hours