Early 1940s, eighty some years after Garibaldi’s victory in Southern Italy that unified the country under the Savoia moarchy, the great promise made to the peasants is not made good under unification. Their lives did not improve under the new monarch and soon, the King will be driven out just as the Spanish Bourbons were driven out in “1000”. The hard-working peasants, tired of poverty, see new hope in a leader promising a rightful return to an era of greatness. But worry and distrust return when it is still unsafe to speak out, unsafe to question, unsafe to go against the State. The complacency that comes with feelings of futility makes deeper imprints while the questioning mind is taught to focus on survival. The protagonist, an undercover revolutionary, tries to awaken the peasants that are no better off than their ancestors in “Villanella.” He wants an uprising before its too late. Life and politics begin to resemble the card games the men play in the piazzas and taverns. He asks them, “What is a King, and who puts him on his thrown? ” Risks are measured. Sacrifices are bartered. Only one fork in the road leads to freedom, but it comes at a heavy cost. Each person is given their cards: now they must play them.

Romina (voice, piano), Drew Jurecka (violin), Rebekah Wolkstein (violin), Shannon Knights (viola), Rachel Pmedli (cello) and Roberto Occhipinti (double bass).

Peter Thorn takes up the sword, behind a mask, for the magic class
It’s for the best you hide your name.
Patriot songs, the chant a-longs, up in the square, in the mountain air
The men hold court and play card games

(They say) “The King always wins, that how it is; ‘cause the king is a king, it’s always been – now play!”
(He says) “The King is a king when he’s on the thrown, the King is a man, that’s given this role – it’s a game!”

Procedamus in pace, in nomine Christi, amen.

Everyday, you play the game, you follow suit, fit in the frame
waiting for the day your real life begins
Hear no evil, see no harm – there’s always a job in the devil’s army
We sacrifice ours souls to win.

(He says) “Loyal poverty is daily bread; resistance poverty is death or dread – you choose.
Do you know the stakes of your sacrifice? How high are you willing to pay the price? – Can you live with what you’ll lose?

Procedamus in pace, in nomine Christi, amen.

King of coins, king of swords, which man is the wolf in the white lamb’s clothes?
We know a wolf from what we’ve seen!
But wolves return in modern clothes, with modern talk, and a popular vote
Which one’s the wolf? Which one’s the sheep?

Rebellion to doctrine, and doctrine to creed; and a counter-regime to the new regime – now what’s right?
They put the saints at the head of the Party and State, pray to the flag and make Heaven the bait – (They say) “The King is on our side!”

It’s no use, they know it’s you
you’ve gone astray, you’ve chosen to choose
Into the woods, into the veil of snow
Angels close in, the bugles blow
The howling lifts and summoning rings
the silence cut, the end begins
her legs sink deep, the run is done
the howls of hunger have begun
the hunter rises and dips below
The lamb holds still in the frozen snow
The wolf trots low, the howling grows…
the howling grows…
the howling grows…

Procedamus in pace, in nomine Christi, amen.

Words and music by Romina Di Gasbarro © 2018 Romina Di Gasbarro (SOCAN)
Orchestration of piano part into strings by Roberto Occhipinti.