A sound creation in which Carmelo Rifici directs some interpreters dear to LAC. 

Throughout his artistic career Carmelo Rifici has never abandoned his interest in reinterpreting the classics. For Lingua Madre he has chosen to craft a sound creation which he entrusted to the voices of a cast of interpreters dear to the LAC including Igor Horvat, Anahì Traversi, Carlotta Viscovo, Giovanni Crippa, Walter Rizzuto.

A series of instruments precedes and accompanies the listening of the tragedy, declined in the short forms of texts, audio files and lectures. Maddalena Giovannelli, professor of Theater History at USI signs introduction and two possible insights, Francesco Paolo Campione anthropologist and director of Museo delle Culture is the voice that speaks to us about the meaning of sacrifice in ancient cultures, while Rifici suggests us the modalities of possible listening, A glossary and a bibliography edited by LAC edu enrich the proposal. 



translated and directed by
Carmelo Rifici

voices (in alphabetical order)
Giovanni Crippa
Igor Horvat
Walter Rizzuto
Anahì Traversi
Carlotta Viscovo

Maddalena Giovannelli

original music
Zeno Gabaglio
Brian Burgan

Brian Burgan

Lara Persia - Lemura Recording Studio

sound engineer
Brian Burgan, LAC
Lorenzo Sedili, LAC

video animation
Irene Masdonati

production delegate
Vanessa Di Levrano, LAC
Nicola Fiori, LAC

LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura

There was once a time when the relationship between men and gods was first decided. One the one hand, there were the immortals, the celestials who were exempt from death. On the other, the mortals who died and killed, who needed food.  An unequal contest took place between Zeus and Prometheus. Zeus was the father of the Gods, the king who had destroyed the Titans with his thunderbolt. And Prometheus who descended from those defeated Titans. It was a sacrifice to define the condition of man in relation to the divine: the first sacrifice in history, narrated by Hesiod.

In the obscure town of Mekone, an argument arose over an ox.  A huge, majestic ox was slain on the main square to be shared between mortals and gods. Prometheus distributed the meat but in dividing it he perpetrated a trick. The rich meat and innards of the ox he placed to one side but covered them with the withered skin, a disgusting sight. On the other, he covered over the bones with a shining layer of fat. Zeus, the father of the Gods, fell for Prometheus clever stratagem: he left the plentiful meat for the men and chose the tempting but empty portion for the gods. But one cannot challenge a god with impunity: Zeus, lord of the thunderbolt hid fire, their lively companion, from men, so that they could not cook the meat they had won through the trick. The Titan’s artifice created a rift between men and gods and forever defined the misery of the human condition. Since then, sacrifice has been the celebration of the unbridgeable distance between men and gods and Prometheus’ act – like Eve’s biting into the apple – has left men bereft, surrounded by countless evils, longing nostalgically for those happy days when mortals and immortals shared the same table.

But the all too human Prometheus dared to struggle for the mortals and again he challenged Zeus: he stole the fire and gave it back to men, teaching them how to use it and keep it alive. For that reason he would have to suffer himself, in his own flesh, pain without end, in a fate of terrible agony.

Prometheus is a wily deceiver: a trickster, the cunning god who in transgressing turns the world into an instrument. His own name contains the words “cunning” – métis – and “learning” – manthàno. He is the Titan who taught mortals how to light fire and he later became the symbol of téchne, of man’s ability to evolve, learn and progress.

But the trickster Prometheus is also courageous, altruistic and suffering: a hero of great dignity. In the tragedy named after him we see him among wild mountains chained and tormented by the eagle sent by Zeus, a prefiguration of the crucified Christ. Divine wrath is a sign of being chosen: it was while he is being punished as a rebel that Prometheus was again chosen as a god, a god who resembles the victims and man.

Multi-sided and elusive, Prometheus always changes his form and ends by embodying polar opposites. It was he who deprived men of their divine state of grace and at the same time he was also the supreme philanthropist god, the rebel who called for the assault on heaven, the benefactor of humanity, the cunning thief who stole from the powerful to give to the weak. His gift, as Camus noted, reminds us that: “every mutilation of man can only be temporary”: to restore our wholeness there will always be a kindly, trickster-hero ready to sacrifice himself out of love for humanity.

The myth of Prometheus, like its protagonist, is completely human: it teaches us that intelligence is often bound up with deception; that no great action can be performed without sacrifice; that every progress also involves a loss. His myth, like fire, is a gift to mortals:

Myths have no life of their own
They wait for us to incarnate them
Let a single man answer and they will offer us intact their lymph.
(Albert Camus)


Carmelo Rifici
With a degree in literature and a graduate of the Scuola dello Stabile di Torino, Rifici collaborated with Luca Ronconi in directing Progetto Domani, the theatrical event of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. He also accompanied Ronconi in directing Fahrenheit 451, Ulisse doppio ritorno, Turandot, The Merchant of Venice. He has directed dozens of works including The Turn of the Screw, La tardi ravveduta and Miss Julie for Milan’s Litta theatre (2003–06), Long Day’s Journey into Night for the Teatro Filodrammatici in Milan (2006). Napoli Teatro Festival commissioned him to direct Chie-Chan e io, from the novel by Banana Yoshimoto (2008). For the Piccolo Teatro in Milan he directed I pretendenti by Jean-Luc Lagarce, Puss in Boots by Ludwig Tieck (2009) and Nathan the Wise by Ephraim Lessing (2011). In 2010 he directed Dettagli by Lars Norén at the Piccolo and Phaedra by Euripides in Syracuse. He directed Buio by Sonia Antinori for Teatro Due Parma, Medea by Luigi Cherubini for the Ponchielli Theatre in Cremona, I puritani by Vincenzo Bellini for the Circuito Lirico Lombardo, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare and Visit to the Father by Roland Schimmelpfennig for the Piccolo in Milan. Since 2014 he has been artistic director of LuganoInScena where he directed The Seagull by Anton Chekhov Ifigenia, liberata, Purgatorio by Ariel Dorfman, the opera The Barber of Seville, Avevo un bel pallone rosso, I Cenci music and text by Giorgio Battistelli which in 2020 was included in the programme of the Biennale Musica di Venezia and of the Festival Aperto in Reggio Emilia, Macbeth, le cose nascoste. In 2019 he directed Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and L’heure espagnole by Ravel at the Teatro Grande in Brescia. In 2020 he became artistic director of the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, cultural centre of the City of Lugano. Since 2015 he has been head of the Scuola di Teatro Luca Ronconi at Piccolo Theatre in Milan. In 2005 he won the Premio della Critica as best emerging director, in 2009 the Eti Olimpici del Teatro as director of the year, the Premio della Critica, the Golden Graal and was nominated for an Ubu award as director of the year. In 2015 he won the Premio Enriquez for the theatre season of LuganoInScena, in 2017 he again won for directing Ifigenia, liberata. In 2019 he won the prize I nr. Uno awarded by the Italian Swiss Chamber of Commerce for his work at the LAC. Together with Paola Tripoli he conceived the project Lingua Madre – A Time Capsule.

Giovanni Crippa
Since his debut in Peter Shaffer’s Equus directed by Marco Sciaccaluga, Crippa has worked with Italy’s leading directors including Squarzina, De Lullo, Patroni Griffi, Albertazzi, De Fusco, Siciliano, Crivelli, Cappuccio, Shammah, Testori, Chérif, Maccarinelli, Stein, Rifici, Sinigaglia and Nicosia. Among the leading roles he has played are Alan in Equus, Le Cid in Corneille’s Le Cid, Renzino in Promessi Sposi alla prova by Testori, Albert Tavernier in Fior di pisello directed by Patroni Griffi, Erik in Dettagli by Lars Norén which Rifici directed. In 1995 he began working with Luca Ronconi under whose guidance he participated in over twenty performances, often in leading roles. Among these he is particularly fond of Ivan in Brothers Karamazov, Bartolomeo in Il Candelaio, Penteo in The Bacchantes, Aeschylus in Frogs Ebenwald in Professor Bernhardi, Ulysses in Troilus and Cressida, Verri in Questa sera si recita a soggetto and Arlecchino in I due gemelli veneziani  (Premio Ubu as best actor in a non-leading role).  On television he played the lead male role in Manon, directed by S. Bolchi, and Cheri, directed by E. Muzii. Recently he has begun working again with Carmelo Rifici under whose direction he played Dorn in Chekhov’s The Seagull and Il Vecchio/Calcante in Ifigenia, liberata by Angela Demattè. In the 2019-2020 season he interpreted Paolo in L’infinito tra parentesi by M. Malvaldi and il Cenciaiolo in La pazza di Chaillot by J. Giraudoux, both roles for  the Teatro Stabile del Friuli Venezia Giulia. He is a teacher at the Scuola del Piccolo Teatro (Milan) where he was didactic coordinator from 2015 until 2020.

Zeno Gabaglio
After earning a diploma in cello, a Masters in free improvisation and a degree in philosophy (in Lugano, Basel and Florence) Gabaglio devoted himself to music in various forms preferring more authentic and, perhaps, less usual approaches. So far, he has published four discs, composed more than forty musical scores (for cinema and theatre) and participated in concerts in Europe, America and Asia. Recently he has been included in the collection Interactions – Swiss Experimental Music and has written scores for the films Moka noir by Erik Bernasconi, Love me tender by Klaudia Reynicke and Cronofobia by Francesco Rizzi. In the theatre he has worked with Carmelo Rifici on The Seagull, Purgatorio, Ifigenia, liberata and Uomini e no; with Andrea Chiodi on The Taming of the Shrew; with Trickster-p on Nettles. Active also as a critic and disseminator, he collaborates regularly with the RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera (for which he created the web series Rossini, musica per il palato which won awards in various international festivals). Gabaglio is a teacher of free improvisation at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, member of the Commissione culturale cantonale and president of the musical subcommittee, member of the SUISA council and of the council of the Fondation SUISA.

Igor Horvat
Horvat was born in Switzerland into a Croatian family. After matriculating in the sciences he moved to Italy where he attended the Civica Scuola d’Arte Drammatica “Paolo Grassi” in Milan, graduating as an actor in 2000.  There followed numerous collaborations with different theatres, both public institutions and not. He took part in performances directed by, among others, Luca Ronconi, Roberto Guicciardini, Giancarlo Cobelli, Guido De Monticelli, Massimo Navone, Giorgio Marini, Stefano Alleva, which gave him the  opportunity to act in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Senegal. He combines his theatrical activity with work on radio and television, appearing in numerous TV features and collaborating with the RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera.

Walter Rizzuto
Rizzuto comes from Cosenza and graduated from the Scuola del Piccolo Teatro (Milan) in 2017. Immediately thereafter he met Andrea Chiodi with whom he worked in The Taming of the Shrew. The performance went on tour in 2019 making stops in various theatres in Italy. The same year Chiodi also directed him in Francesco e il sultano. He appeared at the Teatro Franco Parenti in the performance Squame d’amore by Margherita Scalise. In 2020 he played Pantalone in L’isola Di Arlecchino directed by Stefano De Luca and joined the cast of Arlecchino servitore di due padroni  at the Piccolo Teatro (Milan). In addition, in 2018 he worked as a dancer at the LAC in The Barber of Seville directed by Carmelo Rifici and in Chòros directed by Alessio Maria Romano. He was assistant director for the company Musella-Mazzarelli in the project Who is the King (2018). In 2019 he played the lead role in the short film Anna e Elio by Giulia Claudia Massacci and participated in the Biennale di Venezia with his first dramaturgical and directing project Hippólytos.

Anahì Traversi
Of Italian, Swiss and Argentine ancestry Traversi attended the faculty of letters and philosophy at the University of Milan and the Scuola di Teatro Luca Ronconi del Piccolo Teatro. She perfected her skills with a two year course given by Federico Tiezzi. In 2012 she was chosen by Ricardo Muti for the new production of Sancta Susanna by Paul Hindemith at the Ravenna Festival. Since 2013 she has been working in the prose theatre section of RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera and with the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana and she is an actress in the company Teatro Sociale Bellinzona. In 2014, together with Fabrizio Rosso, she created the theatre project La extravagancia#0  from the monologue by Rafael Spregelburd, a performance that was selected for the Schweizer Theatertreffen (2015). In 2016, along with Camilla Parini, she debuted in Princesses Karaoke or something like that, a performance that was finalist for the Premio Schweiz. In 2016 she began collaborating with the LAC di Lugano; Carmelo Rifici directed her in The Seagull, Ifigenia, liberata and I Cenci; Andrea Novicov in Elektra; Emiliano Masala in Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore; Alan Alpenfelt in Jackie, Leonardo Lidi in Fedra. She is one of the founders of the Collective Treppenwitz, which debuted with L’amore ist nicht une chose for everybody  directed by Simon Waldvogel (2019).

Carlotta Viscovo
Born and raised in Turin, Viscovo studied at the Scuola del Teatro Stabile from 1997 to 2000 where she made some encounters that were essential for her development: Luca Ronconi, Mauro Avogadro, Marisa Fabbri, Franca Nuti, Marise Flach and Maria Consagra. After graduating she immediately began working at the Stabile and was directed by Mauro Avogadro, by Carmelo Rifici under whom she played in seven performances, and by Marco Plini (Risveglio di primavera). Directed by Valter Malosti, she played in The Bacchantes in 2002, the next season she was part of the Company T.S.T. with whom she participated in Progetto Shakespeare, directed by the francophone directors Jean Christophe Sais, Dominique Pitoiset and Mamadou Dioume. In 2003-2004 she was in the cast of La brocca rotta directed by Cesare Lievi. In 2005 she took part in the II edition of Progetto Thierry Salmon  by Franco Quadri, in a course held by Rodrigo Garcia. Later she was directed by Massimo Castri (Ecuba) and by Monica Conti (L'innesto  and Le intellettuali). Together with Elisabetta Pozzi, she worked on the project Theatre ouvert at the  T.S.T. and was directed by Luca Ronconi in Fahrenheit 451. In 2008 she appeared in the The Trojan Women inside the Compagnia teatrale europea, directed by Virginio Liberto and Annalisa Bianco. With Massimo Popolizio she appeared in Ploutos, directed by Popolizio himself and in Cyrano de Bergerac, under Daniele Abbado. She was part of the cast of Le signorine di Wilko, directed by Latvian Alvis Hermanis. In 2011 she met French director Catherine Marnas, with whom she worked for a time in Marseilles, on the performance Convivio. From 2012 to 2014 she set out on a path of exploration with Michele Di Mauro, which gave rise to the performances Ferocemadreguerra and L'amore segreto di Ofelia. These same years she played in A Doll’s House directed by Roberto Valerio, The Bacchantes under Andrea De Rosa, Herakles with Emma Dante. In 2019 she took on Elfriede Jeleniks’ difficult text Jackie under the Swiss-Scottish director Alan Alpenfelt. She has been assistant director to directors such as: Carmelo Rifici, Massimo Popolizio, Monica Conti and Roberto Valerio. For some years she has been teaching young people who want to begin a professional career.