This publishing initiative with its operatic title takes as its starting point the most celebrated aria in Giuseppe Verdi’s de ‘Il trovatore, Stride la vampa’ (“the flames are roaring”), which has its setting in Vizcaya. This episode inspired a search for the connections between two epics: the growth of industry and the economic wealth it brought to the region, and the construction of an opera. The aesthetics of industrial archeology set against those of the rehearsals, the stage scenery, the props, the pipes and the machinery, in an endeavor which conjures up a rich play of associations or, at least, invites us to take a fresh look at the landscape of our daily lives.
The BBVA Foundation and ABAO-OLBE have been unstinting in their commitment to the ‘Stride la vampa!’ project, convinced of the originality of a work which, for the first time, takes the history of Vizcaya’s industrial development and relates it to the staging and accessory elements of the Verdi opera. For a rigorous analysis of the industrial content, they turned to Manuel Montero, professor and former chancellor at the University of the Basque Country. The poetic recreation of ‘Il trovatore’ was the opportunity for musicologist José Luis Téllez to exercise his finest literary fantasies. The well-known Bilbao photographer Mikel Alonso was the plastic surgeon recreating an industrial past of which fewer and fewer vestiges remain, while providing us with unaccustomed views of an opera performance.
In the role of coordinator-editor, another native of Bilbao, Juan Ángel Vela del Campo, cultural editor of ‘Tutto Verdi’, has successfully woven together these three strands. The results are there to see in the pages of this book. ABAO-OLBE adds a new dimension to our understanding of the hidden side of the opera world and its relationship with the social fabric, and the BBVA Foundation continues with its innovative approach to cultural forms and content, in tune with contemporary sensibilities.