On October 4, Winter Journey, the debut opera from Ludovico Einaudi, will open at the Teatro Massimo di Palermo. Commissioned by the Sicilian opera house and the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, the opera runs from October 4-8 and then in Naples for two performances on March 10-11– both featuring a starring role for the multi award-winning Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré (pictured above).
Winter Journey follows an archetypal un-named family as they seek a better life in Europe as refugees and the harrowing trials that the father, ‘Man’, encounters along the way. Librettist Colm Tóibín has adapted the drama into seven scenes relying on narration, the spoken word, a Greek chorus and affecting projections by Luca Scarzella to deliver what is a powerful contemplation of hope and desperation. The highly respected Italian film director and novelist Roberto Andò directs.
While 'Woman' (Rokia Traoré) is left alone in her native town surrounded by violence and death, her husband clambers to stay afloat in the waters of the Mediterranean. He's making the treacherous journey ahead of his wife and child to find a new life abroad and must put his worry for his family aside just so he can stay alive. Meanwhile, a Politician on Europe's shores exclaims to the people, 'This cannot be, too many, too many already... we do not want strangers on our streets'. The chorus concur and disagree, representing the divided voices of the citizens. 'Man' makes land in Europe before the borders close, but it is not too long until he finds out how different the reality of the holding camps is from the dreams he once had with his family.
Winter Journey (2019)
An opera by Ludovico Einaudi and Colm Tóibín
Woman (actor): Rokia Traoré
Man (actor): Badara Seck
Off-stage voice of ‘Man’: Mamadou Dioume
Child (actor): Mouhamadou Sazll (in scena)/Leslie Nsiah Afriyie (voice)
Politician & Narrator (actor): Jonathan Moore
Voice of the Greek Chorus: Elle van Knoll
Composer: Ludovico Einaudi
Librettist: Colm Tóibín
Director: Roberto Andò
Conductor: Carlo Tenan
Set and Lighting Designer: Gianni Carluccio
Costume designer: Daniela Cernigliaro
Video designer: Luca Scarzella
Sound designer: Hubert Westkemper
Since the beginning, with the work Time Out (1983), Ludovico Einaudi has been interested in theatre and dance, bringing to the stage his unique style comprising of minimalist constituent structures. So too has the concept of ‘the journey’ always fascinated Einaudi who, in 1995 with the opera/ballet Salgari (Per Terra E Per Mare) and in 2005 with Diario Mali, turns its eye on the multi-coloured world surrounding us. This year’s hugely successful seven-album release of Seven Days Walking only further illustrates this fascination.
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