On 14th February 2020, in the thirtieth year of Vinicio Capossela's career, a new discographic project was released: «Bestiario d'amore».
It isn't a real album, rather a tiny opera made up of four trobadour songs that have been baptized during Saint Valentine's day, under the Gothic vaults of London's Union Chapel.
With «Bestiario d'amore», Capossela ended his journey in the fantasy Middle Ages started in May 2019 with «Ballate per uomini e bestie». In this record, the singer-songwriter took inspiration from ancient Medieval bestiaries to write some of the songs. A bestiary is a kind of essay in which actual or fantastic animals' behaviours are analysed, along with their natural and supernatural powers; they are identified as theological, philosophical and moral symbols, and often used as metaphores by poets and artists.
Creatures in bestiaries represented a bridge to reach the deepest area of human nature, observed through the lenses of animal life. And so the animals living in the songs of «Ballate per uomini e bestie» talk about us, about our instincts, our fragilities, our fears and our desires.
To write «Bestiario d'amore», Capossela started from the work of a XIIIth century author and scholar, Richard de Fournival, who combined the marvelous naturalistic descriptions included in Medieval bestiaries and the phenomenology of love dictated behaviours, trying to reach the impossible: give life to a scientific essay aimed at describing the most mysterious of feelings, love.
The result is a work of great originality and irresistible irony with which Capossela turned the original «Bestiaire d'amour» into a rich musical poem thanks to the participation of the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by Stefano Nanni.
The album is guarded by a precious box that holds an illustrated booklet, a work of Elisa Seitzinger, a visual artist who is focused on the aesthetic codes of Medieval art; this booklet also features the song lyrics, a note by Capossela, the introductions of Francesco Zambon, professor and author of De Fournival's Italian translation, and Chiara Frugoni.
The «Bestiaire d'amour» is one of the most extraordinary, ironical, imaginific works of art about this mysterious power that transforms and turns human creatures into beasts when they are under the effect of love. The whole love mechanism is analysed in a scientific, but impossible way. De Fournival tried to codify the incodificable, yet certain laws that rule this neverending masquerade: love.
Aiming to put music into a poem that starts with the ban on singing has been a weird and useless work. Who sings or listens never has a happy ending in the Bestiarie: may it be the siren's song, the swan's or the cricket's, you always end up dead because of it. Perhaps that is why the poet, once he understood that his singing led to death without any benefit, gave it up and relied his ultimate effort to words and images.
So, if singing is dangerous, I tried to put together, rather than a song, a kind of musical story in which every creature is summoned with a theme, thanks to the work of Stefano Nanni, who directed and wrote music for the orchestra, which still is the biggest creature in music: the symphonic Orcaestra, the boundless being that is able to swallow life experiences and spit them out as emotions. This precious poem, Bestiario, ended in the orchestra's emicycle after ninehundred years, just for the renewed fun of seeing, hearing and remembering words that show the illustrated bestiary that we are. There is no other time in which we are so alone and full of monsters as when we are in love, both now and in the past.