Avant-première - The Channel / Crossing Borders - Opera XXI
On a beach near Calais a young refugee prepares himself to swim across the Channel, towards his new future. On the English side, on the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head, a (transsexual) woman bids life goodbye; in a few instants she will jump to her death.
The new text by author Gaea Schoeters is mirrored by recently recovered Shakespeare-text, in which the sheriff of London tries to calm a mob of citizens who want to lynch a group of migrants. The scene shows scary resemblances to the current refugee crisis. Migration is a phenomenon of all times, and so is our primary reaction to it. Each organism repels what is foreign to it: the strangers have to go.
Composer Annelies Van Parys uses the Shakespeare-text as a libretto for a cycle of songs, which set the refugee theme in a historical perspective. The soprano is also the intermediary between past and present, audience and play; via other spoken Shakespeare fragments she sets the story in a different perspective, turning the personal stories into a sharp reflection of society, both in the 16th century and today – because the similarities are, alas, striking.
Text Gaea Schoeters Composition Annelies Van Parys Direction Gable Roelofsen & Romy Roelofsen / Het Geluid Maastricht Actors Katelijne Verbeke & Adams Mensah Vocalist Naomi Beeldens Lute/guitar Maarten Vandenbemden
Produced by Antwerp Queer Arts Festival
In coproduction with Muziektheater Transparant, Het Geluid Maastricht, Opera Days Rotterdam