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Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
On Saturday, November 17, St. James Cathedral was privileged to host an extraordinary performance of Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo by Emilio de’ Cavalieri.  Composed in Rome in 1600, this “Play of the Soul and the Body” is considered the first oratorio.  It tells the story of the journey of the soul to Heaven through a series of scenes in which various forces vie for influence over the susceptible human being.  Stephen Stubbs, musical director; Anna Mansbridge, stage director and choreographer.  Jeff Robbins, lighting design.  The headdresses are the work of Daniel C. Baker.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
As the play begins, Tempo—Time—speaks of the fleeting nature of human life.  “Today it comes, tomorrow it dies; today it appears; tomorrow it disappears.”  All that really matters, he says, is “to work with hand and heart” for honorable things.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
Soul and Body need each other, but they don’t always agree. While “Anima” wants to spend time in peace and prayer, “Corpo” loves the play of the senses.  “Here,” he says, “refresh yourself, and take delight in a thousand different ways.”

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
While Anima prays, Corpo is tempted by the things of the earth.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
A short “Sinfonia” concludes the first act.  The dancers—from Seattle Early Dance and Kaleidoscope Dance Company—represent blessed beings.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
The orchestra of Renaissance instruments, under the direction of Stephen Stubbs.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
In the second act, the temptations grow more intense as Corpo is drawn away from Anima by earthly pleasures.  Their song is hard to resist, as they promise:  “Banquets, meals, and tasty suppers, pretty dresses, and delightful perfumes—delight, taste, and joy in pleasure!”

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
The Guardian Angel.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
Now, Corpo finds himself caught between the World and “Vita Mondana”—wordly life.  “I will give you long days adorned with gaiety,” she sings.  “Will you perhaps still be waiting when your hair grows white, when your life fails?”

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
The Guardian Angel strips off the fine garments, revealing the true ugliness of World and Worldly Life.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
In the Third Act, “Intelletto,” crowned with flames that suggest the power of human intellect, and “Consiglio,” Good Counsel, reflect on the delights of Heaven and the horrors of Hell.


Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
"Consiglio," Good Counsel.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
Anima and Corpo are appalled at the sufferings of the damned souls, represented by the young dancers of the Kaleidoscope Dance Company.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
The Damned Soul sings of the terrors of Hell.

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
As the drama comes to an end, the entire company sings in praise of the angels and saints—and of the power of music.  “Join together, O good angels, join your songs and sounds!  And you on earth… with song and with laughter echo the sounds of Paradise.”
 
Anima.......................Amanda Jane Kelley
Corpo.......................Douglas Williams
Angelo Custode.......................Sarah Mattox
Intelletto.......................Ross Houck
Tempo/Mondo.......................Charles Robert Stephens
Vita Mondana.......................Susan Salas
Consiglio.......................David Stutz

Click here to learn more about coming music events at St. James
Click here to learn more about the Seattle Academy of Baroque Opera & Oratorio

 

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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303