The Passion Play of Sordevolo
200 years of "Passion"; 400 actors (40 parts and 360 extras) between the ages of 5 and 80; 300 people working "behind the scenes" of the play; 39 performances in 113 days, of which 3 entirely performed by children; 29 scenes for more than 2 hours of active in each performance; and amphitheatre with more than 4000 square meters of space. These are just a few of the numbers that transmit the majesty of the Sordevolo Passion Play, the greatest choral performance in Italy. This impressive performance on such a sacred topic has been presented by the townspeople every five years since 1816. It involves the entire population of Sordevolo, a total of 1300 inhabitants, at the foot of the Alps around the Biella territory. The performance is held outdoors in an amphitheatre with a capacity of approximately 3000 spectators on suitably covered seating. In an area of 4000 square meters, a small part of Palestine is picturesquely depicted (the Upper Room, the Sanhedrin, Gethsemane, Herod's Palace, Pilate's Palace, and Calvary) where 400 characters, actors, extras, guards of the Sanhedrin, soldiers and Roman horseman bring the Sacred Drama to life. The scenography, made entirely with the means and skills of the citizens, is prepared in painstaking detail, with appropriate music, exceptional choreography and rare beauty. The text in the playbook dates back to the late fifteenth century. The work was written in verse by the Florentine Giuliano Dati, chaplain of the Church of the Holy Martyrs in Trastevere, Rome. The 2015 edition the Sordevolo Passion Play will be performed from 6 June to 27 September 2015. The Sordevolese performance of the Passion, according to popular tradition, celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2015. However, many elements suggest that its origins may be even more remote. In Piedmont, there is evidence of sacred performances, in particular Passion Plays, as far back as the 1400s.