The two Israeli artists currently engaged at the Rossini Opera Festival, where Graham Vick premiered his polemic Mosè in Egitto less than 24 hours ago, spoke to ANSA about the British stage director's controversial new staging of the Rossini opera (translations all OC's kthnx).
Soprano Hila Baggio (singing in tonight's Scala di Seta, portrait above) and pianist Maria Nikitin (portrait below) both took issue with Vick's interpretation, although they agreed that fundamentalists and extremism is bad.
The danger, they explained, "is that people don't know how to distinguish and maybe one starts to think that the Israelis are responsible for these things," or that it feeds the antisemitic climate that "in recent years is in huge growth in North Europe."
Said Baggio "I haven't seen the show, neither the general, i only helped out in a few of the rehearsals, but the idea to transform Moses -- who for us is a really important figure -- into Bin Laden , is offensive. The situation in the Middle East is really serious, the smallest thing can cause damages and it doesn't make sense to bring in other complications. And, even though it is understood that an artist can express themselves in a way that they best believe, an operation like this risks to make everything more problematic."
Pianista Nikitin saw the general rehearsal and says, "the first scene is like Quentin Tarantino, with people bloody as they wander into the theater," describing how the action is also on the sides of the auditorium as well as the stage. However, speaking about how Vick transformed the Exodus as scored by Rossini into terrorists/Palestinians/Chechen people, "has nothing to do with the story of Moses, and not even with what's going on in the Middle East".
She said that the Israelis have never committed an act of terrorism as depicted by Vick: "It's never happened in our history".
She remains cautious of Vick's production: "If someone wants to use a theme like this in a piece of art, you must document it well and act with caution."
Baggio, at the end, said that she does agree with Vick that extremism is dangerous but the way in which Vick developed his concepts could be "dangerous and offensive".