Goldonis The Merchant of Smyrna has been described as a type of mini-musical, owing to the music written by Nino Rota for a production by Visconti in 1957. The show, making up part of the Theatre Carnival of the Biennale, opens at the Teatro Malibran with music provided by the orchestra of the famous La Fenice theatre. The production moves on the 3rd March to the Teatro Verdi in Padua. The plot revolves around the eponymous merchant, the Turk Ali, who wants to bring a troupe of Italian singers and comedians to play a series of concerts in Smyrne. Supported by the broker Nibbio and the Count Lasca, he meets a down-and-out company of artists to who he offers the illusion of riches. Thus commences a light comedy in which the actors enjoy themselves by parodying themselves in the ambigous and contradictory world of theatre with its misery and glory. There follows numerous legends which lead each of the characters to evaluate their opinions regarding the others in the presence of the merchant. Noone can understand the unease and disappointment of the Turk from the events and they attempt to convince him of the impossibility of managing the company, leaving him one morning to continue their daily disputes. However he leaves a sum of money to the Count to begin their own-run company in which the artists enjoy equal rights and responsibility, and can work in harmony in their collective interest. The Merchant of Smyrna thus becomes a comedy perfectly balanced between the entertaining enquiry into the mores of its time and the creative dramatic art of Goldoni. The author offers a critique of the world which he loved so much and underlines the desperation and existential melancholy of its characters, though without sacrificing his hilarity and playfulness.
Author: Carlo GoldoniDirector: Luca De FuscoCompany/productionzione: Teatro Stabile di Catania/Teatro Stabile di Palermo/Fondazione Teatro La FeniceCast: Eros Pagni, Gaia Aprea, Anita Bartolucci, Max Malatesta