MADDALENA CALDERONI Soprano and Art Director of Fondazione Tones on the Stones

Maddalena Calderoni leaves her native city on Lake Maggiore, north of Italy, at a very young age in order to follow her artistic ambition.

Her career begins performing in operas followed by concerts in Europe and all over the world, including Japan, USA, Argentina, Egypt, Kazakistan and Ukraine.

In 2007 a new challenge is on its way and Maddalena’s visionary attitude brings her to where no one else dares: the landscapes made of quarries and stones in the area of Verbano and Ossola, where she grew up, can be turned into a spectacular natural stage: Tones on the Stones was born.

It’s a festival where music, theatre and dance meet surrounded by marble and granite quarries still alive, and it gets huge attendance and amazing reviews since its very first performance.

It is considered one of the most interesting places of performing arts in Europe, and its own signature style is based on the use of digital technologies to produce immersive shows.

In 2020 Tones Teatro Natura aims to be a permanent theater to welcome the productions and the projects of Tones On The Stones Foundation inside a former industrial site. Can you talk about Tones Teatro Natura?


Tones Teatro Natura is a new ambitious project created by Tones On The Stones in 2020 during lockdown. Thanks to an environmental redevelopment process, the former industrial site Cava Roncino was turned into a permanent theatre surrounded by nature; it’s a space dedicated to innovation, performances, wellness, workshops and knowledge.

It’s a wide ecosystem with culture and environmental awarness at the center of it all in order to serve as catalyst for younger generations to build a sustainable future for everybody.

The former Cava di Gneiss, now Tones Teatro Natura, is in Oira, in the suburbs of Crevoladossola, in between forests, terraced vineyards and ancient stone villages of Valle Ossola.

The surrounded landscapes show how the history of this land is definitely linked to the extraction of stone and its use in rural architecture.

An historical heritage, both economic and cultural, that Tones on the Stones always tries to represent and enhance.

Turning an industrial site into a ‘Place of Culture’ is the focus of the new generations as well as their aim in building a wide community to exchange views and bold ideas just like an open gate to the world. How the idea of ‘The Witches Seed’ was born and how such an amazing cast was involved?


I got the inspiration from the violent witch hunting born after the Dominican Inquisition in the Ossola valleys and in the Alps arch. To my surprise, Stewart Copeland immediately accepted the invitation calling some of his incredible friends and colleagues such as Jonathan Moore and Chrissie Hynde.

Being such a cruel tale with fantasy settings in order to show the harsh reality, I asked Manfred Schweigkifler to direct the opera. Also, I called the visual artist Edvige Faini, and with these two incredible artists, we could take this opera into what I really had in mind.

Just like a magical trick, everything was created in a very short time, with the whole orchestra directed by Eimear Noone, who is full of energy and professionalism; just like Edvige, she’s into gaming and fantasy, so the whole team is moving on with a great level of harmony.

When I sew the very first seed, I would never have ever imagined how many amazing artists took part in such an ambitious project and that’s an immense personal satisfaction. How did you get Irene Grandi involved in ‘The Witches Seed’?


Once read the score and the lyrics, and after listening to Chrissie Hynde songs, I immediately thought that Irene Grandi was the obvious choice for the main character role. I talked to her and she was thrilled to be involved in such a challenging experience with a musical theater. We’re all so happy to have her in our cast as she can really bring a contagious energy on stage. What about Stewart Copeland and Jonathan Moore? How did you get in touch with them for your project?


I simply took courage and sent an e-mail to Stewart to tell him about my idea and about Tones Teatro Natura; also, being myself a witch, I did a little magic and he said yes!

Stewart usually works with Jonathan Moore and we thought it would be a natural choice to have them both once again on this project; we were absolutely right as the libretto is a masterpiece. How did you feel about working with Stewart side by side during the orchestral rehearsals and the promotion you did in Italy?


I spent an amazing week working with him. We were all so thrilled and a bit worried about his arrival as we wanted to be ready and live up to his standards, mainly about the orchestra and the cast. Stewart and Eimear were definitely satisfied about the whole event. There will be future performances of ‘The Witches Seed’ in the future, both in Italy and abroad?


We’re thinking about a theatrical production, considering that Tones Teatro Natura is such a unique ‘stage’; we have to adapt the opera in a different setting.

‘The Witches Seed’ will surely have a bright future and we’re thinking about more performances not only in Italy. Tones on the Stones Foundation is already working on it.

July 11, 2022 SC.NET