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To celebrate the inauguration of the Cava Arcari project in Zovencedo, and the David Chipperfield Architects Works 2018 exhibition in nearby Vicenza, composer Michael Nyman performed on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May in the caves.

In the first part Michael Nyman gave a solo piano recital with excerpts of the soundtracks of Wonderland, Gattaca, The Piano and The Diary of Anne Frank. In the second part he conducted four saxophone quartets (Michael Nyman Sax Quartet, Elise Hall Saxophone Quartet, Marici Saxes and Ensemble 4Saxes) that performed other masterpieces, including I Sonetti Lussuriosi, Out of the Ruins and Songs for Tony.

The performances took place on different platforms, named Cavea (stepped tiers as referred to in ancient Roman theatres), designed by David Chipperfield Architects Milan for Laboratorio Morseletto. Both the ambient and stage lighting, designed by Viabizzuno, enhanced the unique atmosphere for this new events space.

The caves are the result of many years of quarrying which left a cavernous space supported by irregular massive piers. The Cavea project reintroduced the typical white Vicenza stone with a series of platforms, steps and ramps, reminiscent of Adolphe Appia’s stage sets.

The surrounding chambers, mostly filled with water, lit from below, offered a visual spectacle supporting the immersive soundscape produced by Michael Nyman and his musicians.

Image © Alessandra Chemollo