Following in the footsteps of Mary and Henry Wreford in the mid-1800s in Capri where freedom of expression opened the doors to magical villas and gardens to artists and progressive intellectuals from all over Europe.
Organised by the Italian Ministry of Culture in association with the Town of Capri.
Artistic Director Mauro Gioia
Charlotte Cushman, Lowes Cato Dickinson, John Gibson, Jerome Le Franc, Edmonia Lewis, Marie Modiano, Béatrice Muthelet, Clèment Noel, Peter von Poehl, Fabrizia Sacchi, Anne Elsa Tremoulet, Henry Wreford, Mary Wreford
Béatrice Muthelet – alto, Clément Noel – oboe, Anne-Elsa Tremoulet – violin, Jerome Le Franc – cello
Notes never heard, stories never told, erased artists who after centuries finally find their voice. Without prejudice, without gender, as Henry Wreford loved to do, the pioneer of inclusiveness who made Capri a freer place. In his footsteps, three rendezvous at sunset at Villa Lysis, a space symbolic of the fluid identities of the nineteenth century created by Baron Fersen, will begin Capri Art's journey to reclaim gender. It begins on 16 September with the concert Music and Silence on the notes of Fanny Mendelsoohn, Pauline Viardot, Clémence de Grandval and Cécile Chaminade, mid-nineteenth-century composers finally brought back to life through the performance of their music by the Ombra felice String Quartet of Beatrice Muthelet, Clèment Noel, Anne-Elsa Tremoulet and Jerome Le Franc. And on Friday 17 September, a number of magnetic characters from Capri's 19th century will come back to life for one night. They will be evoked, in an artistic séance, and materialise in the music and words of Peter von Poehl and Marie Modiano in the show Ballad of the Spirits. The last act, on Saturday 18 September, is dedicated to Charlotte Cushman, the iconic American actress who in the mid-19th century created a fertile community of female artists in Rome. The actress Fabrizia Sacchi will tell her story in a reading of letters and memoirs, accompanied by the Quartetto Ombra felice.
Villa Lysis, known otherwise as Villa Fersen, was commissioned in 1904 by Baron Jacques d'Adelsward-Fersen, a Parisian aristocrat who had fled to Capri where he lived in exile from sexual scandals associated with his unconventional manner of being.
The Wreford Archive, held at the Villa Croce in Capri, has recently revealed a web of relationships and political-cultural intrigues connected to the vision and existence of individuals and ante-litteram culture within the realm of gender.
In the 1860s, Henry Wreford promoted a movement of women artists in Rome known as the "12 Star Constellation" amongst whom were Charlotte Cushman, Margaret Foley, Harriet Hosmer, Edmonia Lewis, Emma Stebbins. Henry Wreford was a figure of curiosity for historians and literary experts of the time but remained relatively unknown to the wider public despite his substantial role within the political world of pre-unified Italy and his promotion of the culture of gender.