An opera of chilling political statement, Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero tells the story of a political prisoner whose jailor allows him to escape, apparently in a gesture of fraternity. In reality it is a cruel joke, as the prisoner reaches the fresh, open air only to run into the arms of the Grand Inquisitor who leads him away to be burned alive. The opera was composed between 1944-48 and reflects Dallapiccola’s disillusionment with Mussolini’s politics: he claimed that his writing would never be as light and carefree as it once was. The composer’s unique blend of lyrical writing in a serialist technique makes this opera searingly moving; and it ends with the prisoner simply whispering the word “Freedom?”.
In partnership with Amnesty International to mark their 50th Anniversary