Enrico Messina

Excerpts from Enrico Messina’s Orlando: furiosamente solo rotolando
Italian Academy, Columbia University, October 1, 2015.

“A white shirt, a trumpet and a stool. That’s all that is needed to tell the stories of Charlemagne and his paladins against the dreadful Saracens. An empty space balances the colors and images aroused by the tale: battlefields, knights, ladies, duels, spells, palaces, swords and horses…. A whirl of battles and pursuits always triggered by the same starting fire: knightly ideals combined with the passion for a lady. Timeless stories take us through different time periods, where everything is paradox, hyperbole, exasperation. Enjoy the everlasting pleasure of storytelling and the magic power of words, the meaning of listening together. A new life finally springs from Ariosto’s rhymes, with the story jumping from thrilling excitement to blasting humor in a blend of different traditions and styles. This production has found its completion after a long and passionate work on the texts, through which some episodes have been maintained while others have been revised, including new turning points and subplots that have been completely invented to comply with the pure essence of storytelling.”

  1. l’arrivo di Angelica a Parigi:

(Based on the opening canto of Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato)


2. Carlomagno, Agramante e i loro eserciti:

I campamenti / The Encampments. Carlomagno & Agramante.

Gli accampamenti Cristiano e Saraceno, bianco e nero, Rive Gauche e Rive Droit, si fronteggiano sul Rodano. Identici. Il tempo passa lento, anzi non passa mai. Ed alla fine, a forza di guardarsi e riguardarsi, da una riva all’altra del fiume si finisce per conoscersi…

Ecco si presentano i due Re: Re Carlo Magno, con la sua lunga barba bianca, e Re Agramante, con i suoi lunghi capelli neri. Fanno a gara, come due bambini, a chi ha più armate.


Two encampments, Christian and Saracen, white and black, Rive Gauche e Rive Droit, face one another across the river. Identical. As time crawls by, the soldiers see to their daily needs, each smelling the food of the other, doing their laundry in the same river, gradually getting to know each other.

The two Kings present themselves: Charlemagne of the great white beard, and Agramante, of the long black tresses. They fight, like children, over who has more and better arms.


3. Orlando insonne:

La notte al campo / Night in the camp

Gli accampamenti di notte dormono come fossero un unico corpo. E ronfano. Ma non tutti riescono a dormire: il Orlando, innamorato, proprio non ce la fa. Ha in testa un chiodo fisso: Angelica… Angelica… Angelica…

All the soldiers sleep at night, snoring like one huge body. Only one doesn’t sleep: Orlando, smitten with love, finds no rest. He has but one thought: Angelica…Angelica…Angelica…


4. Orlando lascia Parigi in cerca di Angelica:

la fuga di Orlando / Orlando’s flight

Orlando decide di fuggire e mettersi a cercare Angelica.

Orlando decides to escape the camp, and search for his love.


5. la pazzia di Orlando:

Orlando pazzo

Orlando passeggia in riva a un rivo e ai piedi di una quercia scopre delle incisioni, delle scritte… e cuori e nodi che si allacciano… e legge: Angelica! È lei, è la sua firma… innamorata! E di chi mai? Orlando non ha dubbi: non può essersi innamorata che di lui. Ma su quei cuori e su quei nodi c’è un nome sconosciuto: Medoro… Medoro… cerca una soluzione, una spiegazione… ma quelle scritte sono troppo chiare. Comincia nel suo cervello a farsi strada la follia… chi è Medoro? Ma certo… lui stesso… Medoro…

Wandering in the woods, Orlando finds a design carved into the trunk of a great oak: two hearts entwined, and the name — Angelica! It’s her, he knows the script! In love! With whom? He has no doubt — with him, of course. But under those hearts is a name he doesn’t know: Medoro. Medoro…he gropes for an explanation. But those writings are too clear. Madness creeps into his mind as he tries to reason…he must somehow be Medoro….


6. Orlando a Roncisvalle:

(Above summaries taken from synopsis supplied by Enrico Messina.)