Philip Glass and Godfrey Reggio’s QATSI Trilogy
Naqoyqatsi: Life as War

Philip Glass Ensemble
Lisa Bielawa vocals, keyboards
Dan Bora sound
Sam Sadigursky saxophone, flute
Peter Hess saxophones
Ryan Kelly onstage sound
Mick Rossi keyboards
Andrew Sterman flute, piccolo, saxophone

ORT – Orchestra della Toscana
conductor Michael Riesman

Erica Piccotti cello 
Godfrey Reggio’s film projection “Naqoyqatsi: Life as War”

orchestra arrangement commissioned by Ravenna Festival, Barbican di Londra, Mupa di Budapest, The National Concert Hall di Dublino
world premiere

Occasionally, some great encounters mark the history of music and art resulting in masterpieces that indelibly enrich our imaginations by capturing the spirit of their times. Koyaanisqatsimeaning “life out of balance” in the Hopi language, and the first film in the ‘Qatsi’ trilogy—is one of them: a formidable visual tone poem born from the collaboration between director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass. The soundtrack consists in eight sections or scenes, like a great classical ballet, but the choreography here is provided by the movements of the camera (with the fundamental photography by Ron Fricke), which captures breathtaking landscapes and boundless horizons. The ‘dancers’ here are the clouds racing through the sky, or the frenzied crowds in the streets of New York, in a triumph of time-lapse photography. Or rather, the world itself, our time, the Anthropocene, dances here in a tight and dramatic pas de deux between nature and technology.

Together, Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass have revolutionised the relationship between music and image, and nothing has been the same since (just think of their use of slow motion and time-lapse). These are truly immersive sensory experiences, which speak—sometimes prophetically—of modern man’s chaotic obsession with technological progress at all costs, all too often at the expense of nature. From Koyaanisqatsi (1983) to Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002), Reggio and Glass take us on a journey from ancient times to the contemporary era, from pristine nature to the ubiquitous industrial revolution, exploring what life has become: unbalanced, fickle and scarred by war, destruction and pollution. Yet our eyes and ears are still capable of wonder and emotion. The now legendary Philip Glass Ensemble, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is also featuring here.

Carnet Qatsi (Koyaanisqatsi 21-jun, Powaqqatsi 22-jun, Naqoyqatsi 23-jun): € 75, reduced rate € 66. Available at the Ticket Office of the Alighieri Theatre