Misterioso explores the relationship of legendary pianist Thelonius Monk with aristocratic arts patron Baroness Rothschild Pannonica.
Jazz aficionados will by thrilled by the ensemble of seasoned musicians, who will transport them to an NYC Jazz club in McCarthy-era America. Misterioso culminates with a projection of Monk rotating like a whirling dervish, a metaphor for mounting racial tension. What is Misterioso? First, and simplest, it is a good jazz gig. The theatre is set up as a club. Director Campus, originally from Sardinia, has assembled a classy band. At one point the audience is encouraged to dance.
I just love the warmth and humanity he radiates from the bandstand. Winston Clifford on drums and Tony Kofi on alto sax also feed in energy and humour. Campus herself is a highly musical singer.
The music was continually bringing a smile to many faces in the audience…. Read more And the music by Monk being showcased is definitely capable of looking after itself. Pianist Pat Thomas, who certainly looked the part of Monk, came into his own in these episodes. The sonorous recorded voice of Cleveland Watkiss dwelt on the politics of the McCarthy era. Elegy, rather than celebration, the central theme is the unlikely relationship between legendary jazzman Monk and his aristrocratic muse and benefactress, Baroness Pannonica Rothschild.
In Misterioso, what meets the eye and ear is much more than a mere play with music. The story is told as a series of picaresque vignettes that mimic a set of jazz riffs. Billed albeit a little disingenuously as a play, when in fact it is far more of a live musical performance, connected by vignettes and short soliloquies, it examines the life of the musical colossus, iconoclast, legend and jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.
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The pre-recorded voice of Monk, as spoken by jazz musician Cleveland Watkiss, monologues by Billie Holiday and mention of luminaries Bud Powell and Charlie Parker all complete the period evocation and serve to shed valuable light on the white fascination and at times dangerous fetishization of black music and musicians. A theatre production about jazz great Thelonius Monk, Misterioso chronicles the time when the incomparable pianist became silent for the final seven years of his existence.
Philomena Campus of Theatralia theatre company directed, starred and sang in the show, enlisting digital artists Sdna and stage design to evoke the art and the politics. You directed, starred and sang in Misterioso, what was this experience like? Sometimes I have to fight with the musician in me that would love to be on stage all the time with my colleagues, playing with them all the way through the show, but the director side of me has decided that this time I needed to be mostly off-stage in order to have a proper directorial look at the performance in its complex whole.
There were projected videos playing during Misterioso, as well as jazz-bar style tables for the audience. How visual does a musical performance need to be?
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Misterioso is set in the s. Would you consider your evocation of that period on stage to be one of detailed archaeology — digging up the exact styles and replicas of clothing etc? If we think of the racist groups developing in Europe at the moment, as artists we need to do as much as we can to raise awareness about it. The elements that you see on stage- Thelonius at the piano, a video backdrop, the hanging drapes- where did these come from?
Have you been involved in any other stage productions that make use of live music is so prominent a way? Triumph of Misterioso. A fascinating night of music and verse to commemorate the creative struggle of jazz musicians during the McCarthy era is taking place at the Riverside Studios, in Hammersmith, London on 22, 23, 24 November. This should prove a thought provoking and entertaining mix of words and music. The answer is it was a stunning fusion of all three.
It was a fascinating mix of live music by a splendid jazz ensemble and stunning projected art works. However, her feline sensuality dominated the stage and held every eye as she undulated and padded around it. It was the white woman Filomena Campus who sang to us — often in her native Italian. The multi-talented Ms Campus also translated and directed Misterioso. Her fellow musicians included the illustrious Jean Toussaint on tenor saxophone who has worked with all the greats.
Pat Thomas, who played the piano, could have been Monk himself with his rangy frame bent over the keyboard in a trademark hat. Pannonica Butterfly — a reference to a Monk song — was played by Rachel Snider in a very stylised, stylish manner. Her clear ringing tones successfully accompanied the action in an evocation of another era.
A highly impressive, colourful, truthful and uplifting show. Filomena Campus presents the art and life of a giant of jazz. A polished and tasteful play, with great jazz and the text about America in the 50s, with its dramatic context of black and white, which becomes the chromatic theme in Misterioso.
On stage, like in a smoky 50s jazz club, spectators sit on tables, with a waiter offering them a drink. Monk spent his last seven years in complete silence. How would you be able to describe this through music? No matter how paradoxical the question is, Theatralia attempts to sort the challenge out. The play, adapted by director Filomena Campus is based on the written work of Stefano Benni, both a very well know Italian writer and an estimator of jazz music.
The stage is set as a jazz club where the music performed by incredible names such as Guy Barker we have seen him in The Talented Mr Ripley , Jean Touissant and many others mix up with short acting inserts and video projections. His silence, as we understand in this work, is a response to a sense of disgust and rejection to the discriminations during the controversial McCarthy era.
Although the final interpretation is left open to you whether the mystery of Theolonius Monk is solved, one thing is certain, the show has a triumphant ending — the music reigns, and the tragedy is eased. Jazz and Theatre in London Campus has found in London a fertile soil for her theatrical ideas and experimentation with her company Theatralia.
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Her last production Misterioso, written by Stefano Benni, has won an extraordinary success of critics and audience. Abused and persecuted in the McCarthy era, Thelonious Monk stopped playing and talking in the last seven years of his life. Unione Sarda , November Threeweeks — [Lucinda Wingate-Saul]. The show, sold out in its inaugural run at the Riverside Theatre in London last year, boasts several highly regarded British jazz musicians in its cast, including trumpeter Byron Wallen and singers Cleveland Watkiss and Filomena Campus, the founder of Theatralia.
The List Edinburgh Festival. At various times, Thelonious Monk was reputedly either one of two polar opposite characters, able to discourse endlessly about his esoteric music, or a virtual mute who let his idiosyncratic jazz piano style speak for him.
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Pat Thomas, as Monk, looks the part, sitting statue-like until called to play piano, although rather than attempt faithful recreation sound-wise, the musicians inject Monk favourites such as In Walked Bud with their own energy. The Herald. And I was moved and it was done with love.
What a treat. Fabulous sound. I want the Riverside Studios to host a jazz night every week! People stare at you, from afar or right in your face. As the situation becomes more and more uncomfortable the performers emerge from the standing audience. They watch us like wardens guard prisoners. Using complete darkness or dramatic lighting they tell the story of Karla Faye Tucker, a woman executed in Texas while George W. Rev , Bertoni BhII.
Confusion exists concerning the siglum. Wiese C. Tommaso Casini had written to Wiese telling him of it.