“Intolleranza 1960” by Luigi Nono: First Rehearsals

Rehearsals have begun this week for one of the major new productions of this summer, Luigi Nono’s “azione scenica” Intolleranza 1960. This key work of the 20th century was originally to be presented this past summer. It is now a central production of the second part of the centenary celebrations of the Salzburg Festival. This new production is particularly important to Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser, “because we wish to initiate a debate on what constitutes tolerance, justice, altruism and community”.

The Belgian theatre-maker Jan Lauwers, who directs this production and is responsible for its sets, choreography and video, is rehearsing this week in Salzburg with soloists of his Needcompany and dancers of the BOHDI Project and SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance), in keeping with strict safety regulations. It is a mark of esteem for SEAD that Jan Lauwers, who works with the world’s leading companies, has once again chosen it for collaboration. Together, they enjoyed great success at the 2018 Salzburg Festival with Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Markus Hinterhäuser, who has been bringing Nono’s works to the Salzburg Festival’s stages for decades – first as the creative force behind Zeitfluß, then as director of concerts and now as artistic director – is convinced that Intolleranza 1960 is the piece of the hour for our situation.

By way of illustration, we offer three important statements characterising Jan Lauwers’ work on Luigi Nono’s oeuvre:

“Art is always political; it is always tied to a society. And yet there is a clear boundary: if art is only a political act by an activist, that impoverishes the art. That is where we must be careful. If I am working inside my studio, the activist must stay outside. The mastery of great art lies within its transformation of the political, the social context. Nono turned an opera into an experience. This mastery was what made me want to direct Intolleranza. It is an incredibly powerful piece and wonderfully composed. Nono was an activist, that is true. But first and foremost, he was an artist. So form and content are wonderfully balanced. And it is this very balance which results in outstanding art.”

The Belgian director Jan Lauwers rehearses in Salzburg, under strict safety precautions, with solo dancers of his Needcompany together with dancers of the BODHI PROJECT and SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance) | Costumes: Lot Lemm | Photo: Jan Lauwers

“Nono’s oeuvre is fascinating in its many layers and facets: there is much to find there, a love story, even a bit of hope. I am very interested in this ambiguity. Once I have understood it, it is slightly less intriguing. If viewers leave the production telling themselves: ‘I am full of questions and did not receive any answers,’ then we have managed to produce something fascinating.”

“How will the pandemic affect art? We will see a lot of good art. Artists have been forced to stop and reflect. They are more conscious of many things. How can I make contact with the audience? What do I want to achieve by doing so? It is a time of rapid change, but it feels good. This period is making us more profound and emotionally deep. Even if an artist cannot work right now, he remains an artist. The themes keep on working within us – beyond the stage as well. We will emerge stronger from these demanding times.”

Luigi Nono (1924-1990): INTOLLERANZA 1960

Azione scenica in two parts (1961)
based on an idea by Angelo Maria Ripellino

Libretto by Luigi Nono using texts by Henri Alleg, Bertolt Brecht, Paul Éluard, Julius Fučík, Vladimir Mayakovski, Angelo Maria Ripellino and Jean-Paul Sartre

In Italian, with German and English surtitles

Ingo Metzmacher Conductor
Jan Lauwers Director, Sets, Choreography and Video
Lot Lemm Costumes
Ken Hioco Lighting
Paul Jeukendrup Sound Design
Elke Janssens, Kasia Tórz Dramaturgy


Sean Panikkar Un emigrante
Sarah Maria Sun La sua compagna
Anna Maria Chiuri Una donna
Antonio Yang Un algerino
Musa Ngqungwana Un torturato
Sung-Im Her, Yonier Camilo Mejia, Victor Lauwers, Misha Downey (Needcompany) Actors and Solo Dancers

Dancers of BODHI PROJECT and SEAD — Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance

Paul Blackman (Jukstapoz) Preparation and Assistant Choreographer

Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus
Huw Rhys James Chorusmaster
Vienna Philharmonic

Generously supported by
Freunde der Salzburger Festspiele e.V. Bad Reichenhall


Four performances: 15 August (premiere), 20, 26 and 29 August 2021