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Storia di un Gesù – Enrique Irazoqui e il Vangelo Secondo Matteo di Pasolini


On the special occasion of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 100th anniversary, the Italian Institute of Culture, the Consulate General of Italy, the Consulate General of Spain in Edinburgh and the Instituto Cervantes in Manchester are delighted to invite you to the music event “Storia di un Gesù – Enrique Irazoqui e Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo di Pasolini” dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini and Enrique Irazoqui, the Spanish actor who interpreted Jesus in Pasolini’s film “Il Vangelo secondo Matteo”, with the Orchestra Filarmonica Vittorio Calamani, the Maestro Massimo Mercelli and the narrated voice of Guido Barbieri, on Tuesday, 4th October at 5:30pm at St Cecilia’s Concert Hall (50 Niddry Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LG).

Event in Italian with English surtitles. 


This is the story of a Jesus who never existed, a stone Jesus, with eyes of ink and black eyebrows, born among the Sassi of Matera and who died at the end of a film. This is the true story, in fact, of Enrique Irazoqui, the young Catalan anarchist and trade unionist whom Pier Paolo Pasolini, by chance and then by choice, selected for the lead role in one of his most controversial films: The Gospel according to St. Matthew, filmed in southern Italy between 1963 and 1964. It was a coincidence – or rather a synchronicity – that brought Enrique and Pier Paolo together in Rome, just as Pasolini was looking for a face, a body, a look for the Jesus he had in mind. And he realised that this 19-years-old boy, a Basque father and Italian mother of Jewish origin, who had recently arrived in Italy to collect funds for the clandestine university union in Barcelona, was his ideal Christ. “I have found Jesus, Jesus is in my house” – Pasolini said immediately after meeting him. He was not an actor, however, and would never have been an actor, even if his face appears, never as a main character, in about ten films shot in Spain and Italy in the following years. In fact, his existence followed very different paths. He lost his passport and was expelled from university for participating – according to the Franco regime – in a “communist propaganda” film, but in 1969 he managed to reach Paris, where he graduated with a degree in Economics. Then, thanks to the support of some Italian intellectuals such as Elsa Morante and Natalia Ginzburg, he moved to the United States where he studied and taught Spanish literature in several universities. Passionate about chess, he played professionally, and during a competition between the French and Spanish national teams, he managed to defeat Marcel Duchamp, also a top-level player, in a legendary match. In the 1970s, he began experimenting with the technique of playing against a computer, but disappointed with the performance of the existing programs, he improved a device that allowed two computers to play against each other. In the second half of his life he retired and went to Cadaques on the Costa Brava, a town famous for being the retreat of Picasso, Dali and Garcia Lorca, where he continued to organise chess tournaments and cultivate his deep passion for photography. He died in September 2020, at the age of 76.


The Vittorio Calamani Philharmonic Orchestra was founded with the aim of bringing together the best Italian talents in a structure that places artistic quality as the foundation of its activities. The activity of the OFVC aims to qualify as a positive contribution to the Italian and regional cultural heritage and to promote the social and cultural growth that the country needs. Great attention is given to today’s composers, as an important means of cohesion with modernity and comparison with the past. The Vittorio Calamani Philharmonic Orchestra is based in the Teatro Mancinelli in Orvieto and has performed in many of the most important theatres in both Italy and abroad. The orchestra has also been a guest of national and international prestigious artistic seasons and festivals.


Massimo Mercelli has been working during his career with the most interesting composers of our time. Star composers like Penderecki, Gubaidulina, Glass, Nyman, Bacalov, Morricone, Galliano, Sollima have written new works especially for him and his instrument and/or performed with him on stage. Massimo is the founder and artistic director of the Emilia Romagna Festival. Mercelli studied flute with the famous flutists André Jaunet and Maxence Larrieu. At just nineteen years old, he became principal flute at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, won the Prize Francesco Cilea, the “Giornate Musicali” International Competition, and the Stresa International Competition. He has performed as soloist in some of the world most prestigious concert halls like Carnegie Hall, Herkulessaal, Gasteig, Berlin Philharmonic , NCPA Beijing, Teatro Colon, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Turin Auditorium RAI, Musikverein Wien, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Victoria Hall, , San Martin in the Fields, Wigmore Hall, Rome Parco della Musica, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Hall , Moscow Čajkovskij Hall. Massimo has also world premiered the new Cantata “Vuoto d’Anima Piena” by Ennio Morricone, under the baton of the composer himself, has been a guest artist at the Penderecki 75 years anniversary Festival at the Warsaw Philharmonic, at the Penderecki 85 anniversary concert tribute and has world premièred the concert for flute and orchestra by Michael Nyman, written and dedicated to him by the composer.


Guido Barbieri is music critic for La Repubblica daily newspaper. He teaches History and Aesthetics of music at the Cesena conservatory Conservatorio “Bruno Maderna”. For many years he has been the voice for Radio 3 and now his work focuses on musical dramaturgy, the writing of librettos and readings for theatres in Italy and abroad, in collaboration with some of the most eminent Italian artists. He has dedicated himself to music in the real world such as a drama trilogy prepared with the students of the schools in Lampedusa, dealing with human rights issues of immigration. He is also a researcher and disseminator in the field of music studies; he writes papers for conferences at prestigious musical institutions and for many record companies. In 2009 he was awarded the Feronia Prize for music criticism.

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  • Organizzato da: Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh, Consulate General of Italy in Edinburgh
  • In collaborazione con: Consulate General of Spain in Edinburgh, Instituto Cervantes Manchester