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Luigi Nono, Prometeo installation, Church of San Lorenzo, 1984. Photo Lorenzo Capellini. Courtesy Biennale Archives.


Prometeo. Tragedia dell’ascolto

by Luigi Nono


Ocean Space
Special Project of the Historical Archive of the Contemporary Arts (ASAC) - La Biennale di Venezia

Created in collaboration with Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono and TBA21–Academy’s Ocean Space.


Tickets on sale here


Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Monday 29 January 2024 at 7pm
Sunday 28 January 2024 at 3:30pm.

To celebrate the centennial of the birth of the great Venetian composer Luigi Nono (29 January 1924), La Biennale di Venezia presents a Special Project of the Historical Archive of the Contemporary Arts (ASAC) to revive the opera Prometeo. Tragedia dell’ascolto by Luigi Nono produced by the Biennale Musica in 1984, which will be staged from January 26 to 29, 2024 in the Church of San Lorenzo, now TBA21–Academy’s Ocean Space, where the original performance was held.

“A tragedy composed of sounds, with the complicity of a space” (Luigi Nono), the Prometeo which premiered in 1984 in the Church of San Lorenzo was a memorable event that in its creation and performance involved not only Luigi Nono, but also Claudio Abbado as the conductor, Emilio Vedova and Renzo Piano for the production design, Massimo Cacciari for the text, with sound direction by Hans Peter Haller and Alvise Vidolin.

Prometeo returns to its original venue forty years later. The century church of San Lorenzo will host the structure-space re-imagined, in keeping with the composer’s thinking, by Antonello Pocetti and Antonino Viola with lighting by Tommaso Zappon.

Marco Angius will conduct, with the assistance of Filippo Perocco, four orchestral groups, two ensembles of instrumental and vocal soloists, chorus and narrating voices – 79 elements in all – distributed as if in a “multispace” for the pluri-directional listening experience sought by the Venetian composer.

The Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto will perform along with the musicians on the flute and tuba Roberto Fabbriciani and Giancarlo Schiaffini, who with Alvise Vidolin for the electronic part and Massimo Cacciari, curator of texts and languages, participated in the first edition.


The Special Project for this revival is a joint effort of the Historical Archive of La Biennale (ASAC) and the Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono, which has reached an agreement with La Biennale di Venezia to transfer its materials to the International Research Centre on Contemporary Arts of La Biennale, currently under construction at the Arsenale.

The new staging of the opera is part of the programme to enhance this transfer, in conjunction with the dedicated one-day seminar titled Prometeo yesterday and today. Luigi Nono’s utopia 100 years after his birth, which will be held on January 29, the day of the anniversary, at 2:30pm at the Biennale Library in the Giardini. Speakers will include Massimo Cacciari, Carlo Fontana, Alvise Vidolin and Lucia Ronchetti with Marco Angius. The moderator will be Andrea Estero, director of the “Classic Voice” magazine. With introductory remarks by Roberto Cicutto, President of La Biennale, Debora Rossi, Head of the Historic Archive, and Nuria Schoenberg Nono, President of the Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono.

Prometeo. Tragedia dell’ascolto is part of the ASAC Special Projects, to establish a dialogue between the arts, of which the Archive is a powerful symbol, which La Biennale di Venezia undertook in 2020 with the exhibition The Disquieted Muses. La Biennale di Venezia meets History, organized at the Central Pavilion of the Giardini, and which it continued in 2022 with Archèus. Labirinto Mozart at Forte Marghera (Mestre) to present far-reaching cultural events that enhance memory and documents from the archives.

The revival of the opera Prometeo. Tragedia dell’ascolto is produced by La Biennale di Venezia in collaboration with the Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono and with TBA21–Academy, the research centre of the Fundación TBA21, which carried out the restoration of the Church of San Lorenzo.

Luigi Nono and Prometeo

Luigi Nono believed that it was essential to seek to liberate opera from the bondage of image and narration, underscoring the importance of the relationship between sound and space, penalised by the customary performance modes in traditional concert halls and theatres. The venue conceived by Renzo Piano for the first performance in Venice of Prometeo was a very special one (and a special place it will become once again), which makes it possible to distribute the sound in the space in various ways which can free the listening experience. A non-set design, an architectural device built to satisfy specific musical requirements, with the intent to restore the space to the dimension of listening and the invisible quality of sound.



Per solisti vocali e strumentali, due attori, coro misto, quattro orchestre e live electronics (1981-1985, 135’)

Music by Luigi Nono

Text curated by Massimo Cacciari

Director Marco Angius

Sopranos Livia Rado, Rosaria Angotti
Mezzosopranos Chiara Osella, Katarzyna Otczyk
Tenor Marco Rencinai

Speakers Sofia Pozdniakova, Jacopo Giacomoni

Secondo direttore Filippo Perocco
Maestro del coro Cristiano Dell’Oste
Live Electronics Centro di Sonologia
Computazionale – DEI dell’Università di Padova Alvise Vidolin, Nicola Bernardini, Luca Richelli -

Flutes Roberto Fabbriciani

Clarinets Roberta Gottardi

Tuba / Contralto trombone / Euphonium Giancarlo Schiaffini

Viola Carlo Lazari

Cello Michele Marco Rossi

Double Bass Emiliano Amadori

Mise en scene/Production design Antonello Pocetti, Antonino Viola

Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto

Coro del Friuli Venezia Giulia