Today, Giorgio Battistelli's new opera, CO₂, with a libretto in English by Ian Burton, will be performed at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. It is a commission by the Theatre as a contribution to the theme of Expo Milano 2015, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.
The opera is divided into nine scenes, plus a prologue and an epilogue. The dramatic structure centres on the lecture given by a climatologist whose name is emblematic of the entire human race : David Adamson. As he attempts to explain the risks facing the planet and endangering the survival of humanity, he himself comes to realise the absolute necessity of loving the environment in which we live and for which we are all personally responsible, and not merely of respecting its ecology. In scene after scene, Adamson’s lecture is interrupted by and interspersed with episodes or insights, according to a postmodern narrative logic that generates a whirlwind of “short-circuits” in time and space. So, alongside David Adamson appear a range of diverse characters : four archangels (Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel and Michael) ; scientists and ecologists ; Adam, Eve and the Serpent ; Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess of the earth ; MrsMason, the sister of a survivor of the tsunami, and Mr Changtalay, a Thai hotel manager ; and also young people, travellers, women doing their shopping. (reproduced from the Scala website).