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Project 440

Paola Prestini

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Paola Prestini

Oceanic Voices: Fimmene

Performed by the Ensemble ACJW, Live at Zankel Hall (with permission from Carnegie Hall)

Oceanic Voices, originally commissioned by Carnegie Hall and recently performed by the New York City Opera on VOX, is an operatic tableau of rituals that pays homage to Italian folk music of different times and regions—from Genoa to Salento and Sardinia. With a nod to the great contemporary Italian singers Fabrizio D’Andre and Roberto Licci, the work aims to create a world music of the Mediterranean people, a tribute through Prestini’s musical lens. The libretto has been compiled by Prestini, and the story is derived from the texts of the chosen songs and intermittent poems from a variety of Italian writers through the ages, including Vittoria Colonna, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Dante Alighieri, and Aleardo Aleardi. Oceanic Verses is sung in a number of dialects, including Griko, Genoese, and Sardinian, coloring the work with a variety of ethnic influences.

Oceanic Voices: Anninnia

Performed by the Ensemble ACJW, Live at Zankel Hall (with permission from Carnegie Hall)

The characters in the opera include a Mother, a Queen, a Man, and a Sailor, all who passionately interrelate, recounting tales that fuse the personal, social, and political. The ocean surrounds and binds their stories, serving as a metaphor for the expanse that can both separate cultures while simultaneously connecting them. In this way, the ocean becomes a sonic and visual narrator, guiding listeners through a personal journey into a culture Prestini left at a young age.

This performance was recorded as part of a Professional Training Workshop at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.