Storia di un Gesù - Edinburgh

Storia di un Gesù - Edinburgh
DATA: 04-10-2022
SOLISTA: Guido Barbieri & Massimo Mercelli

In collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Consulate General of Italy in Edinburgh, the Italian Cultural Institute Edinburgh, the Consulate General of Spain in Edinburgh and the Instituto Cervantes Mánchester.


St Cecilia's Hall: Concert Room & Music Museum

Edinburgh, Scotland


Massimo Mercelli

Narrated voice
Guido Barbieri


Soloists of the Vittorio Calamani Philharmonic Orchestra

Tommaso Santini & Roberto Ficili - Violin

Arianna Bloise - Viola

Laura Pascali - Cello

Nicola Memoli - Double bass

Filippo Proietti - Harpsichord




This is the story of a Jesus who never existed, a stone Jesus, with ink eyes and black eyebrows, born among the Sassi of Matera and who died at the end of a film. It is the true story, in fact, of Enrique Irazoqui, the young Catalan anarchist and trade unionist whom Pier Paolo Pasolini, by chance and then by will, chose for the lead role in one of his most discussed and controversial films: Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel according to St. Matthew), shot in southern Italy between 1963 and 1964. It was coincidence - or rather synchronicity - that brought Enrique and Pier Paolo together in Rome, just as Pasolini was searching for a face, a body, a look for the Jesus he had in mind. And he realised that this very boy of nineteen, Basque father and Italian mother of Jewish origin, who had just arrived in Italy to raise funds for the clandestine university union in Barcelona, was his ideal Christ. 'I have found Jesus, Jesus is in my house' - Pasolini said immediately after meeting him. He was not an actor, however, Enrique, and never would be, although his face appears, never as a protagonist, in a dozen or so films shot in Spain and Italy in the following years. And indeed, his existence followed very different paths. Deprived of his passport and expelled from university for having participated - according to the Franco regime - in a 'communist propaganda' film, he nevertheless managed to reach Paris in 1969, where he graduated in Economics. Then, thanks to the support of some Italian intellectuals such as Elsa Morante and Natalia Ginzburg, he moved to the United States where he studied and taught Spanish literature in several universities. A chess enthusiast and professional player, during a tournament between the national teams of France and Spain, he managed to defeat Marcel Duchamp, also a top player, at the end of a legendary match. In the 1970s he began experimenting with the technique of playing against a computer, but disappointed with the performance of the then existing programmes, he perfected a device that allowed two computers to play against each other. In the second half of his life he retired to Cadaques, on the Costa Brava, a town famous for being the buen retiro of Picasso, Dali and Garcia Lorca, where he continued to organise chess tournaments and cultivate his deep passion for photography. He passed away in September 2020, at the age of 76.