MUSIC

SPECTACULAR NEW OPERA TO DEBUT IN LUSAKA

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Fifty-strong cast showcases local talent

Opera singers Lulu Imbula (left), Stanley Musowe and Cathrin Mukupa rehearse for the premiere of Damyna, Damyna

Opera singers Lulu Imbula (left), Stanley Musowe and Cathrin Mukupa rehearse for the premiere of Damyna, Damyna

More than 50 classically trained Zambian musicians and singers will perform in the world premiere of a new contemporary opera at the Lusaka Playhouse next month.

The OperaZ Orchestra, Kanon Choir and Team Jiva dancers will showcase some of the country’s best talent in Damyna, Damyna, a story of drama, romance and intrigue that explores the conflicts of modern-day society.

Members of the OperaZ Orchestra rehearse for the premiere of Damyna, Damyna

Members of the OperaZ Orchestra rehearse for the premiere of Damyna, Damyna

Local performers will be joined by six guest musicians from the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Academy in Germany, and will be conducted by renowned conductor Theo Bross.

The opera stars soloists Lulu Imbula, Chrispin Lindunda, Paddy Mukando, Cathrin Mukupa, Stanley Musowe, Josephine Kachiza, Mate Mate and Portia Imbula.

Music direction is by Milupi Imbula; choreography by Michael Malambo; production design by Nadezda Chibanda; costumes by Charity Nyirongo; stage manager is Chris Mulambwa.

The OperaZ Orchestra brass section rehearse for the premiere of Damyna, Damyna.

The OperaZ Orchestra brass section rehearse for the premiere of Damyna, Damyna.

Sponsors include Manzi Valley, Proflight Zambia, ProCharter, Amatheon Agri, Ngoma Dolce Music Academy and Langmead & Baker.

Rehearsals are at an advanced stage for the collective’s first performance of the opera, which explores the conflicts between traditional rural life in Zambia and the attractions and challenges of modern urban living. Essentially a love story, the allegory also examines controversial issues surrounding orphans, donor influence, the gap between rich and poor and the everyday struggles of rural life.

The opera is composed and written by long-term Zambia resident Dr Peter Langmead, who has spent much of his working life travelling throughout Zambia for his work, drawing inspiration for the composition from his experiences and observation.

Damyna Damyna is about the realities of life familiar to many people, but the show also has magical touches and quite a few surprises.” said Dr Langmead. “It is also an opportunity for people to see the remarkable – and often hidden – talent that we have in Zambia.”

Members of the OperaZ Orchestra string section rehearse for the premiere of Damyna, Damyna.

Members of the OperaZ Orchestra string section rehearse for the premiere of Damyna, Damyna.

Dr Langmead’s vision is to restore opera’s reputation as an entertainment event for ordinary people, rather than an elitist art form. He aims to encourage and stage new compositions by new composers, and break the mould, rather than dwell on the traditional Western classical pieces.

Instead he hopes to impart his enthusiasm and passion for contemporary classical music to a new generation of young performers and artists who are keen to break down the barriers between old and new, traditional and modern, and classical and contemporary music.

The opera will be staged at the Lusaka Playhouse at 19hrs on Thursday, April 3, Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5. Tickets are K200 and can be reserved by calling 0976 750044 or emailing OperaZ@langmead.com