Nuccio Ordine, professor and philosopher
Nuccio Ordine, who teaches italian literature at the university of calabria, is an expert on Giordano Bruno and the renaissance and a philosopher in his own right. his works include the usefulness of The useless and Classici per la vita.
What does obsession mean?
Ariosto and Shakespeare, for instance, gave marvellous illustrations of the destructive obsession caused by jealousy in Orlando, who loses his mind and his dignity as a paladin (Angelica’s betrayal drives him mad and leads him to lay down his weapons), and Othello who (by falling into Iago’s trap) loses his faithful Desdemona and his very life. However, there is another creative form of obsession based on the impossibility of attaining the object of one’s desire. If Petrarch’s thoughts had not been riveted on Laura, for example, many of his works would have remained unwritten, and but for his love of philosophy, Giordano Bruno’s “frenzied hero” (the Latin word “furor”, or “frenzy”, also indicated obsession) would never have been able to undertake his tireless exploration of knowledge. In literature there are even obsessions which turn “defeats” into “glorious victories”. Suffice it to recall the great Don Quixote, whose obsession with chivalry reveals the corrupt reality of his time when “vice [triumphed] over virtue”.
Do the arts and humanities have therapeutic effects on present-day individuals? Or do they perhaps not even realize they are necessary?
Regrettably there’s an obsession nowadays with money and profit, which causes only destruction. Anything that is of no practical or material use is considered “useless”. Throughout the world there is an increasingly prevalent idea that the free market model, with its forms of organization and its rules, must predominate in all fields of society and this idea is applied to everything from school to university, from scientific research to public administration, and from culture to the artistic heritage. We have to realize that by continuing to ignore the importance of what is “free of charge” or “disinterested” we are speeding up the programmed desertification of the spirit...
Is a philosopher of any use in present-day society?
Genuine philosophers, people of letters, scientists, artists and musicians – all those who are truly active in the field of culture and who often make culture and their own lives overlap – ought to (I emphasize: ought to) make people realize, as Michel de Montaigne pointed out, that the human being is made up of a body and a spirit and that feeding only the body amounts to killing an essential part of our human nature.
How should an opera house connect with society?
An opera house is a living example of the combination of music, art and literature: poetry, scenography, singing, the figurative arts and dance interact with one another while ensuring that the relationship with myths, history, tragedy, comedy, and the great questions that permeate our lives remains alive.
The obsession of jealousy: Ariosto, Cervantes and Mozart
Juny 2021. Date to be determined.