Schoenberg in Italy: Scenario

Narrator (Alfredo Cassella)



Soprano, with 2 pairs of finger cymbals


Three Percussionists

Percussion Instruments
Player I
Marimba (MAR)
Vibraphone (VIBR)
Xylophone (XYLO)
Glockenspiel (GLK)
2 Timpani (TIMP), share with Player II

Player II
2 Timpani (TIMP), high and low
Tambourine (TAMB)
Large Sus. Cymbal (CYM), share with Player III
Gong, share with Player III
Glockenspiel (GLK), share with Player I
Marimba (MAR), share with Player I
Thunder Sheet, share with Player III
Player III
2 Triangles, high and low
Bass Drum (B.D.)
Wood block (Wd. BLK)
Temple Block (T. BLK)
Snare Drum (S.D.)
Thunder Sheet
Brake Drum
Castanets (CAST)
Cymbals (CYM), “crash-type”
Glass Wind Chimes
Suspended Cymbal (CYM)

Dramatic Participants
Alfredo Cassella - played by a person of no Italian origin, his voice should have some other, obviously ethnic, accent. Casella must exhibit the manner of an “artiste.”

Soprano - a gaudily dressed, semi-sane prima donna, serious throughout, playing the two pairs of finger cymbals rather conspicuously. Sprechstimme is notated as high, medium and low.

Conductor - preferably with non-Italian features, dressed in an old-fashioned, oversized tuxedo and tails.

Musicians - dressed as Italian cafe musicians of the twenties.

Waiter - a comical-looking character, a good actor; dressed as a waiter (jacket, towel, etc.)

Cafe patrons - about four to six people per table; variety of Italian dress of the twenties. These people should act Italian.
Stage Set-up
The entire stage is designed as an Italian cafe. The musicians are grouped on the left side, cafe tables on the right. One table for two, with microphones for Casella and the soprano is at front-center. All tables should be set with read and white-checked table cloths, napkins, etc. Wine, pizza (or other Italian food) is available to serve.
As the first band of the performance tape (Italian pop-music) is played, the musicians pantomime the music. The pianist strolls around the tables, etc., with a guitar, while percussionists may enhance the rhythms with the appropriate instruments. The waiter begins working the tables (patrons may be already present, or enter quickly).

After a tarantella is played (i.e. Tony Mattola's version on Command records - RS 816 - SD), the tape fades and Alfredo enters with the soprano. The crowd greets him with cheers, "Fredo, Fredo," etc. When they both sit at their table, he orders wine, etc., and begins the text. After his first soliloquy, he calls for the maestro, who then enters among cheers to conduct the piece. In both sections where there are long readings, various visual gags may be planned by the participants.

Immediately after the performance of the score, the last tape band (Italian pop-music) is started, and the musicians resume their pantomime as the cafe empties. The lights and music fade as the musicians exit.