By John Peter
Molly Bloom: The Earth and The Music
by MARIO BORCIANI and ANNA ZAPPAROLI
Based on James Joyce's Ulysses
With a grand piano as Mollys bed and jazz band accompaniment
"Mario Borciani's complex and heart-rending music is splendidly interpreted."
"Anna Zapparoli is bewitching, demanding, alluring."
--Edinburgh Evening News
"Anna Zapparoli -- a beautiful and powerful voice capable of tightrope walking brilliantly from deep contralto to the highest notes."
This highly controversial new musical by Mario Borciani and Anna Zapparoli, acclaimed musical collaborators who live in Milan, is based on the Molly Bloom episode of Ulysses, the celebrated "stream of consciousness", in which Joyce conveys the urgency of Molly's thoughts and feelings by completely abolishing punctuation. This chapter caused a scandal when it was written (in England the ban was not lifted until the Fifties) and it does now: not so much because of the coarseness of its content but because of the poetic violence with which it digs deep into the recesses of a woman's soul. Molly's candour when she passes in a flash from the depths of obscenity to the utterly sublime make her without doubt one of the greatest female characters of our century's literature -- she's as great as Earth itself, of which she's a metaphor.
Anna Zapparoli's father is Italian and her mother English. She was born in England, but was brought up in Milan, where she studied drama at the Scuola del Piccolo Teatro, the most important Italian theatre, directed by Giorgio Strehler. Since 1979 she has been working as an actress under many prestigious authors and directors, including Dario Fo and Luca Ronconi, and has often taken part in the Syracuse Festival of Greek tragedy. Because of her rich contralto voice she has frequently been cast in straight roles where singing was involved.
Mario Borciani, composer of Molly Bloom: The Earth and The Music, is her husband, and writes stage music. Mario and Anna have often worked together, and collaborated on rhythmic adaptations and translations of lyrics for many songs in plays. Encouraged by the praise and the success of their work together, Mario and Anna decided to write songs of their own. They won the prize for the Best Lyrics at the 1996 San Remo Authors' Festival, and in 1997 their first CD of Italian songs was released.
For more than four generations the members of Mario Borciani's family have been professional musicians. Mario works both as pianist and composer. As a pianist he is active in Italy, abroad and in the recording world; a CD has recently been issued in collaboration with the Quartetto Italiano, receiving enthusiastic acclaim in all specialized journals. He teaches the piano at the Milan Conservatoire.
In the theatre he has worked as composer with highly prestigious state theatres, such as the Syracuse Ancient Greek Theatre in Sicily (the Electra of Sophocles), the Genoa and Venice Stabile Theatres (Lessing's Nathan The Wise, H. von Kleist's Marquise Von O...).
One of his greatest successes was the music composed for The Rape of Proserpina by P.M. Rosso di San Secondo, performed at the Orestiadi, the important drama festival held annually on the site of the Sicilian city of Gibellina, destroyed in the 1968 earthquake, now a major cultural centre in Italy.
Molly Bloom: The Earth and the Music
Jermyn Street Theatre
16b Jermyn Street London SW1
Piccadilly Circus tube
Box Office 020 7287 2875
Tuesday November 7 - Saturday December 2 Monday to Saturday nightly at 8pm
Tickets £12 £10 (concs)
Press Night Thursday November 9 at 8pm