n°3 – April 18, Sound, Theater

Space, voice, gesture between Nuova Musica and Nuovo Teatro Musicale

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Premier of GESANG DER JÜNGLINGE, 30 May 1956, WDR Cologne. ©


In the ‘60s, there was a liminal space where Nuova Musica’s compositions and Nuovo Teatro’s actions had put in place similar solutions, creating a complex cross-reference between theatrical action and musical compositions. Sometimes those compositions – not thought for the theatre – have deepened crucial aspect for Nuovo Teatro and sometimes anticipated what was happening in the theatrical-musical scene. The problematics raised from those compositions and the resulting reflections concern mainly the use of the acustic space, the voice and the body language. The first two (space and voice) are elements that Nuova Musica was thinking back since the ‘50s, before the actions of the Nuovo Teatro Musicale began to undermine the foundation of the traditional opera. After a short excursus in the practice of voice and space in the ‘50s, and after analyzing how the body language step inside the music’s composition process during the ‘60s, we analyze some compositions by Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio and Domenico Guaccero, searching for changes and afterthougts that can be grasped in compositions not directly designed for the theatre stage.

This article is available in: ITA


Daniele Vergni is a PhD Student in Performing Arts at the SARAS faculty of the Sapienza University in Rome. He is involved in Performance Art and New Musical Theatre in Italy during the second half of the twentieth century. He is the editor of the magazine «Sciami | Ricerche», member of the group Acusma and of Nuovo Teatro Made in Italy directed by Professor Valentina Valentini ( He collaborates with the magazine «Artribune» ( and has collaborated with «Alfabeta2». Among his publications Nuovo Teatro Musicale in Italia (New musical theatre in Italy) (1961- 1970) Bulzoni, Roma 2019. For the European Research Council “INCOMMON In praise of community. Shared creativity in arts and politics in Italy (1959-1979)” ( has published the essay Fare Musica. L’azione “teatrale” di Giuseppe Chiari negli anni Sessanta (in In fiamme. La performance nello spazio delle lotte (1967-1979), edited by Ilenia Caleo, Piersandra Di Matteo, and Annalisa Sacchi, Bruno Editore, Venice 2021, pp. 360-369).