Dver sent me a link to this amazing picture by fourmyle:
Needless to say, it reminds me a lot of Arlecchino.
The piece is entitled Prigioniero which I thought meant something like The Prisoner. Turns out my Italian isn’t as rusty as I feared. While googling to confirm that, however, I came across this description of an opera by Luigi Dallapiccola:
As the Mother waits to visit her son in prison, she sings of a dream she has had multiple times that haunts her sleep. In it, a figure resembling King Philip II approaches her from the end of a cavern, but then changes imperceptibly into Death. The Mother’s singing becomes hysterical, and the offstage chorus cuts her off, bringing the end of the prologue.
The opera takes place in Saragossa in the second half of the Sixteenth Century. The first scene opens inside a cell in the Inquisitor’s Prison with the Prisoner and his Mother speaking. The Prisoner speaks of his torture and suffering, and also of how the Gaoler has brought back his hope and faith, and has made him wish to return to prayer as he did as a child. The Gaoler then interrupts the conversation with news that Flanders is in revolt and that the bell of Roelandt could soon ring out again, trying to bring new hope to the Prisoner. As the Gaoler leaves with the words “There is one who watches over you…Have faith, brother. Sleep now…and hope,” he also does not close the cell door completely. Upon noticing this, the Prisoner rushes out.
The opera moves out of the cell and follows the Prisoner on his attempt at escape through the underground passages of the prison. While trying to escape, the Prisoner sees but is not seen by a torturer and is passed unnoticed by two monks too deep in theological discussion to take notice of him. The Prisoner finally believes he can smell fresh air, and when he hears a bell he believes to be that of Roelandt, he opens a door to what he hopes is freedom.
The final scene finds the Prisoner in a garden at night. He is exuberant at having escaped, and moves towards a great cedar tree that is in the foreground. He makes as if to hug the tree, only to be embraced by the words and sight of the Grand Inquisitor, who is seemingly a part of the tree. The Grand Inquisitor asks the Prisoner, “Why do you want to leave us now, on the very eve of your salvation?” At this point, the Prisoner comes around to the thought that perhaps his ultimate salvation is to be gained from the stake. The opera concludes with the Prisoner’s whisper of “Freedom?”
Happy Anthesteria everyone!