programme de l’ensemble In Medias Res à Wroclaw (anglais)

In medias res

Journey through the Holy Week

 Friday 9 November 7pm

Wrocław, Na Grobli Studio

This project involves a multinational group who work under the auspices of the Grotowski Institute, in collaboration with the Site for Theatre Practices Lavauzelle

 With Alessandro Curti, Jean-François Favreau, Piotr Górka, Marta Grundwald Wilantewicz, Marie-Geneviève L’Her, Orest Sharak, Adam Skobliński

In Mediterranean Catholic culture, and particularly in the islands such as Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, the Holy Week is a key focal point for the community. It is a time of crisis, of the midlife experience of darkness and death – a theme similar to one developed by Dante in his Divine Comedy. The Holy Week has other aspects as well: it is the time when spring is stirring up, a checkpoint for the community, and a moment to remember, evoke and confront pain and loss. It has a definite dramatic structure with narrative and meditative aspects – from the Palm Sunday gathering to the famous Lessons of Darkness (fourteen stations of the Via Crucis texts in connection with the Entombment and the Apocalypse) to the way up towards resurrection, sun and life. These rites, still present in anonymous chants passed down the generations by lay community members, originate in the Gregorian tradition. They testify to the continuity of the tradition in Latin culture and of its connection to the Orthodox world and pre-Christian cultures.

This work presentation is the direct result of practical research into this sonic and cultural phenomenon in the oral traditions of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, and into written sources, conducted under the guidance of French and Polish holders of the Gregorian tradition. Each of these songs is a picture, a milestone of our actual experience in medias res – a meeting, person, place or moment of research. Through them, we aim to present the superposition of old cultural forms and our existence as young contemporary practitioners.

In medias res is a group of practionners from Poland, Italy, Ukraine and France, led by Jean-François Favreau. In medias res is based in the Grotowski Institute, in collaboration with groups such as Teatr ZAR, Schola Gregorianna silesiensis, as well as traditional singers and confraternities…

This work started as a consequence of the first VoicEncounters meeting in 2010, entitled “The phenomenon of Latin confraternities”. It is presented now in Wrocław as a side event of the second edition of the VoicEncounters session focused on Armenian culture: “My silent sister”.

This presentation is dedicated to our masters in singing – and living : the Cunfraterna di a pieve di a Serra, Tempvs Fvgit (Corsica), the Confraternita Oratorio di Santa Croce and Cuncordu de Orosei (Sardinia), the singers of the archiconfraternity of Mussomeli and the lametatori of Montedoro (Sicily), the Schola Gregorianna Silesiensis (Wrocław), and individuals such as Jean-Charles Adami, Robert Pożarski, Jean-Etienne Langianni,  Bernardu Pazzoni…

Jean F.  Favreau

Journey through the Holy week


1 – A Biasgina – corsican profane song (a paghjella), staging the seasonal migrations of the herd up to the mountains – which corresponds to the time of the Holy week (Pianellu)
Dumane mi ne muntagnu, faciu’un felice viagiu. E mi lasciu la mia amica…
Tomorrow, to the mountain, I’m going to have a happy travel, and I leave my friend…

2 – Gloria, laus et honor celebrating the arrival of Jesus inJerusalem, sang in Palm Sunday, opening the Holy week (Montedoro,Sicily)

Entrance in the Triduum

(3 days, lasting from Thursday to Sunday morning)

3 – Deus in adjutorium, usual opening of the office of the hours, interrupted during the Triduum (here, polyphonic variant from Castelsardo,Sardinia)
Deus in adjutorium meum intende. Domine, ad adiuvandum me festina
God assist me with your help. O Lord, hurry to rescue me

4 – Media Vita (gregorian chant from dominican source, around 1260)

Media vita in morte sumus : quem  quaerimus adjutorem, nisi Domine…
In the midway of life, we are in death; whom could we call for help, if not the Lord…


Office of darkness

Good Friday’s Nocturnal, sang on Thursday’s evening

Repertoire based on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, describing the destruction ofJerusalem (repertoire from A Serra region,Corsica)

     *5 – Psalm 2
Quare fremuerunt gentes et populi meditati sunt inania?
Why do nations rampage and people meditate empty thoughts?
   *6 – Psalm 21
Deus, deus meus, respice in me, quare me dereliquisti?
God, O my God, look at me, why did you abandon me?
     *7- Lessons of darkness – lesson 3 (monody on the lamentations of Jeremiah),
Aleph – me minavit et adduxit in tenebras, et non in lucem
Aleph – he had led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light

*8 – Miserere (have mercy), Psalm 51

 9 – Velum Templi (Gregorian chant dating back to 9th century, Dominican source)
Velum templi scisum est et omni terra tremuit
The veils of the temple was torn apart, and all the earth trembled


Saturday’s nocturnal

sang on the Good Friday’s evening

10 – Christus factus est… (Mussomeli, Sicily)
Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. 
Christ made himself the subject of death, death on the cross
11 – Sicut Ovis (Gregorian chant from Franciscan manuscript found in Corsica)
Sicut ovis ad occisionem ductus est
He is led like a sheep to the slaughter

Quotation from the funeral liturgy

12 – Libera me domine (Free me, O God), A Serra region,Corsica
…Tremens factus sum ego et timeo, dum discussio venerit atque ventura ira
…Here I become trembling and fearful, in front of the judgement to come, and the wrath to be

Stabat mater

13 – Stabat mater dolorosa (manuscript from 16th century – Ostuni, Italy)
Stabat mater dolorosa, juxta crucem lacrimosa
The mother full of pain was standing close to the cross, crying

14 – Cuntempla coro induradu : « Gozos » variant, in sardinian language (Orosei)

Easter mass

15 – Sub tuum praesidium (Under your guidance), Chant dedicated to the protection of Mary, oral tradition variant from San Damianu,Corsica

16 – Sanctus (2 parts Franciscan Baroque manuscript, Bastia, Corsica)
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus dominus Deus, Sabaoth
Holy, holy, holy is God the lord, the head of the armies /the multitudes

17 – Benedicamus dominus, alleluia (antiphonary from Poor Clares order,Krakow) Farewell song


18 – Dio vi salvi regina – Corscian hymn to Mary (in Tuscanian language, dating back to 17th century), also used as a war hymn. It generally ends gatherings
 Voi dei nemici nostri, a noi date vittoria ; è poi l’eterna gloria in paraisu.
Upon our enemies give us victory; and the eternal glory in heavens