There Is No Life Without Art: How Theater Is Adapting to Modernity

Theater is part of the market, but does not belong to it.

Art has an undeniable force, and it is necessary for human life. At the same time, it cannot be imprisoned and strangled by the utilitarian rules of the marketplace. In the marvelous Book of Job, the protagonist is incredulous, stunned and devastated by the injustices he is forced to endure after having spent his entire life honoring and respecting God. He decides to turn to God and ask for an explanation.

In what is perhaps the culminating moment of the entire work, God provides an aesthetic reply to this existential question, flooding Job with a litany of the most beautiful and stunning images connected with the creation of the world.

This is the single greatest response to the question of whether or not life can exist without culture, without music, without painting... In a nutshell, without art. And the answer is that we would all live a life without profundity, without dreams, without depth.

We musicians are abstract elements, disconnected from the environment we live in. Day after day we are made clearly aware of just how much the world is changing, so quickly and frenetically it takes your breath away.

It's not just a question of rhythm: it's a question of substance.

Let me explain: in past decades, all a singer needed in order to forge a career was a beautiful voice. Today, a good, strong instrument is no longer enough, because images have taken on increasing importance.

Now it's not enough to simply listen to music: an artistic project has to be evaluated from an aesthetic, image-driven point of view as well. This has fostered a rising interest in the physical beauty of artists and their presence on stage; it has to do with direction and obviously with stage sets.

Music is no longer simply listened to, it must also be "seen."

I will soon be performing at the Teatro Comunale (Municipal Theater) in Bologna as part of a new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, directed by Fanny & Alexander. This production calls for three-dimensionality, and includes 3D glasses distributed to members of the audience. It's a sign of something new and important, created with full respect for Mozart's music.

I think that theater, with an eye to the development of new performative languages and adaptation to the times, will manage to redeem its role in upcoming years, a role that is as indispensable for every community as that of a hospital or school.

This piece was originally published on HuffPost Italy and was translated into English.