The National TheatreFoundation of Tuscanyand the European TheatreAssociation will celebratethe five hundredth anniversaryof the death of Leonardo da Vinciby staging The Feast of Paradise,an extraordinary event whichthe artist and scientist createdin 1490 in Milan for the SforzaD’Aragona wedding: a settingdirected and designed by BeppeNavello, revealing the greatmerits of Leonardo as a scholarand experimenter of appliedmechanics and lighting techniques,but also as an artist able to createinnovative poetry and drama forfifteenth century Florentine sacredperformances. Our intention is torebuild the machine which startledthe unbelieving eyes of Ludovicoil Moro’s courtiers: a luminescentillusion of an artificial paradise, amoving planetarium able to hostseven actors in seven rounds,representing the planets revolvingaround Jupiter. A further mobilemechanism represented the twelvesigns of the Zodiac and a mountainon top of which Jupiter, Mercury,Apollo, the Three Graces and theSeven Virtues took place one afterthe other. All of this involved acomplex moving scenic apparatus,some six metres tall, five deep andnine large, hosting twenty actorswho had to be able to play, sing,move and dance at their ease.Recent studies by Luca Garai havedescribed Leonardo’s design indetail, and it will be recreated bythe set designer Luigi Perego withLuca Garai’s help.
The machinewill be built by Opera LaboratoriFiorentini in Campi Bisenzio.On this machine, the originaltext of Bernardo Bellincioniwill be presented. Bellincioniwas a poet in fashion in the latefifteenth century, appointed bythe Sforzas to write the librettoof the Feast of Paradise (Feast orRepresentation called Paradisewhich Lord Ludovico ordered inpraise of the Duchess of Milan,thus called because MasterLeonardo Vinci from Florence,with great ingeniousness and art,fabricated paradise with all thespheres, planets revolving etc.).The libretto has been publishedagain in Garai’s book, but nothinghas come down to us concerningthe original music of the time.
Theorchestra of (awaiting definition)…will be commissioned the task ofcomposing the various parts sungby the actors.The result will be a performancelasting some twenty minutes (thesame time the chronicles of thepast seem to attribute to the firstrepresentation at the CastelloSforzesco on that extraordinaryevening of January 23, 1490): wethink of presenting it in July 2019in Florence, for those visiting ourcultural heritage who could enjoy,several times in the same day, ashow philologically inspired byLeonardo’s poetic universe. Animportant contribution, we believe,to the many initiatives which havebeen announced to commemoratethe five hundredth anniversary ofhis death, and for which we haveasked for the High Patronage of thePresident of the Republic. SinceThe Feast of Paradise was stagedagain by Leonardo twenty-six yearslater (1516) at the Castle of Amboisefor Francis I king of France, weare negotiating with the Frenchterritory of Val de Loire to presentthe event also in the place whereItaly’s probably most famousartist and scientist ended his days,honoured and recompensed ashe had perhaps never been in hishomeland.
Location: Fondazione Teatro della Toscana, Associazione Teatro Europeo – Via della Pergola 12/32
50121 Firenze – I
Date: 1 June 2019 – 30 June 2019
Scientific Directors and curator: