Silver Lion 2015 - Venice Biennale

Silver Lion 2015
Venice Biennale


Premiere April 12th 2022 at Teatro de la Abadía (Madrid)

“Extinction” is a visual exploration of extractivism in the 21st century, a scenic proposal by Agrupación Señor Serrano on the Mass of Battle and the Mass pro Defunctis by Juan Cererols, performed live by the ensemble Nereydas under the musical direction of Javier Ulises Illán . “Extinction” is a Teatro Real and Teatro de la Abadía production.

A Spanish boat descends for the first time the Amazon River, someone scrolls down an image gallery looking for a photo, the lower gallery of an illegal mine collapses, Philip IV os Spain listens in amazement to a Mass in his honor, a new instagram notification appears on a screen, a body covered in golden dust, it rains mud, an anatomy teacher looks for the place of the soul, someone finds the nearest restaurant, 56 unread messages, the interior of the jungle burns, a requiem resounds in a cathedral of the New World, someone looks at the sky, someone lifts a fragment of a mineral, someone lifts a chalice, someone lifts a telephone.

Agrupación Señor Serrano proposes a visual staging of the Masses of Battle and pro Defunctis by Juan Cererols using a real-time cinema scenic device. It is a poetic and visual piece on the notes of the masses, providing a contemporary and unique reading of them through a dramaturgy that is deployed through the use of video cameras, scale models, objects and live video projections. A large screen dominating the space, several work tables, a set where a the shooting of a film is shown in real time, five performers-handlers, a musical director, twelve singers and six musicians mingle on stage. The set consists of branches of artificial vegetation and a background panel where the environments of the different scenes of the film are retro-projected. Inside this set, an actor consults his mobile while dressed to play Francisco de Orellana and his thoughts are projected on the large projection surface. On the tables, different elements and utensils that transport us to the Amazon, to a coltan mine, to the mobile phone industry, to an anatomy lesson, to the cloud, to the rain. Performers manipulate those elements in front of the cameras and worlds emerge in the projection.

Cererols and the Masses

Juan Cererols (1618-1680) renewed the Spanish Renaissance tradition, opening it to Baroque influences coming mainly from Italy and Flanders in the middle of the turbulent seventeenth century. A Benedictine monk, Cererols developed his entire career around the Abbey of Montserrat, where he became director of the school for more than twenty years. It is worth noting in his musical training, his passage through the headquarters of the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat in Madrid, when he composed his Battle Mass (1648) in honor of Philip IV. At a time when the imperial expansionism of the Spanish crown was beginning to show signs of exhaustion and the model of unproductive plunder of the American colonies no longer existed to keep wars and all fronts open, the victory of Castilian troops in Naples provoked a wave of optimism in the Court, of which the Mass is a reflection. The second of his great masses, the Misa pro Defunctis (1651), is only three years later and nevertheless reflects a very different atmosphere, more laconic, dense and dark, on the occasion of the plague epidemic that struck Barcelona that year and which later spread to other parts of the Spanish Crown. Thus, the austere lines already with frequent baroque tensions of the Mass pro Defunctis are opposed to the brilliant 3-choir Battle Mass, of a pseudo-profane character. The contrast of these two works evokes the journey of musical taste from medieval and Renaissance mystical simplicity to the richness of polyphony and the instrumentation of the early Baroque. Most of Cererols’ original work disappeared in the Abbey fire caused by French troops during the 1811 invasion, the work that was saved was printed in the early twentieth century and just put Cererols in the places of honor of the Spanish baroque.


Creation: Agrupación Señor Serrano
Dramaturgy and direction: Àlex Serrano y Pau Palacios
Musical dircetion and version: Javier Ulises Illán
Performers: Àlex Serrano, Pau Palacios, David Muñiz.
Vocal ensemble: Coro del Teatro Real / Nereydas
Instrumental ensemble: Nereydas
Dramaturgy assitant: Carlota Grau
Lighting design:
Costumes: Lola Belles
Technical direction: David Muñiz
Production chief: Barbara Bloin
Production: Paula S. Viteri

Management: Jordi Tort (FestArtist)

A Teatro Real and Teatro de La Abadía production.
With the support of Festival Internacional de Arte Sacro (FIAS 2022)

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