Day 4: rehearsal at the castle! 

November 9, 2015

Hey Guys! Ryan Bauer-Walsh here for Prospect Theater Company! Today we finally got to rehearse in our performance space: The Castle of Carlo Gesualdo– which is the center of Gesualdo, Italy. It is a beautifully partially restored castle.

The Castle is set on the hilltop in a strategic position over the valley of the River Fredane.

It was built by the Lombards and soon became one of the most important Fortresses in Irpinia.

The original hamlet was centred around the Castle. The first mention of Gesualdo dates back to 1078, its lord was a certain Guglielmo of Gesualdo.

Over the years, many aristocratic families held the fief until it passed to Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa. He is famous for his intensely expressive madrigals, and also for committing what are amongst the most notorious murders in musical history. In 1590, upon surprising his beautiful wife Maria d’Avalos with her lover Fabrizio Carafa, he killed them both. Being a nobleman he was immune to prosecution, but not to revenge, so he fled to his Castle in Gesualdo where he would be safe from any of the relatives of either his wife or her lover. In his Castle he dedicated the last years of his life to sacred music. Carlo Gesualdo transformed his Castle into a magnificent residence when he got married the second time with Eleonora D’Este.

Today the Castle has a rectangular layout with round Towers, some balconies and windows dating back to the 19th century.

The town has fascinated music lovers for years. Composer Igor Stravinski, fully fledged with the impressive music of Prince Carlo Gesualdo, paid a visit to the town in 1956.

In the 1990s, German director Werner Herzog made a short feature in the village (Death for Five Voices), while guest starring the popular singer Milva.

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci planned to shoot a movie about the dramatic Carlo Gesualdo’s life and music but the plan was never carried out.  But Prospect is here– and has plans to produce Death for Five Voices the musical in New York in 2016!

Below, is the central courtyard where the horses would have been tethered and leads to the main hall of the main floor of the castle.

On our walk to the castle, we walked up the narrow paths to the hilltop. The winding paths are still home to many people, and are so beautiful.
  
  

The town is full of cats and dogs who all have owners, but are free to roam the streets. They are all so affectionate, and love to meet new friends.
  

Back at the castle we ran through nearly the entire first act of our show. There will be a small pit of musicians up stage left, and a stage will be built over the rough cobblestone courtyard.

Behind the main courtyard is the rear gardens which overlooks the valley. It is drenched in sunlight, and will function as our literal ‘Green’ room.
  

The view from the performance area in the courtyard that we actors will have during the show.
  

As night fell, the temperature dropped quickly, and the lights all came on. The Castle looks even more magical at night.


Once it was a bit too chilly and dark to carry on staging the first act- we moved to our evening dinner spot- San Vincenzo. A beautiful wedding venue with delicious food and wine—- and most importantly; A PIANO!

As soon as rehearsal was done– the owners served us an amazing dinner of octopus and local seafood— and— DELICIOUS WINE. If you ever can make it to Gesualdo; COME HERE. ASAP. It is just the best place ever. As dinner ended, we walked through the narrow streets of Gesualdo to our favourite tiny little bar where all the locals were excited to talk with us, buy us Caffo and tell us stories about their lives. Everyone here is just so excited to have us tell the story of their city– and we couldn’t be happier to be here!

So check us out tomorrow- we will be getting into act II and it is going to be a beautiful day!

Chat with you all soon!

-Ryan

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