Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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July 27th 2016
Anya17 Review Los Angeles July 2016

Anya17 Los Angeles

Anya17 Los Angeles

“The musical score for Anya17 is rich and evocative, performed by a 14-piece orchestra under the baton of Kristof van Grysperre, who also conducted the recent Long Beach Opera productions of Fallujah and Candide. The sonorities are modern and thorny, often percussively reflecting the violence meted out to young girls beaten into submission as they lose their identities and connection to former lives. But there are also lyrical passages where characters recall episodes from the past and fantasize about better futures. In those places some bluesy – and boozy – sounds are heard. If your operatic tastes end with La Traviata, you might not enjoy this music; but experienced in the context of the important drama on stage, Gorb’s musical palette does grow on you convincingly.”

Full Review here…

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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April 3rd 2016
Anya17 at Sadler’s Wells April 2016

Sadlers Wells Logo

Graham Vick CBE is one of the world’s most respected Opera Directors, so we are delighted that it will be under his direction that scenes from Anya17 will be performed by The National Opera Studio at Sadler’s Wells on April 20th and 21st this year.

Anya17 will be in august company at this showcase event at The Lilian Baylis Studio. Scenes from other Operas by Michael Tippett, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Thomas Adès and Ryan Wigglesworth will also be revealed as part of National Opera Studio’s “Contemporary Scenes 2016”.

The National Opera Studio plays an essential role at the heart of British opera. The NOS is engaged by Arts Council England and the UK’s leading Opera Companies – English National Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera North, the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera.

Graham Vick CBE is at the top of his profession. In demand all over the world and working with many of the greatest singers in major Opera Houses, he is established as one of the foremost Opera Directors of our times. His productions have been seen at La Scala, Milan; Metropolitan Opera, New York; Mariinsky Opera, St Petersburg; Maggio Musicale, Florence, Glyndebourne and many more.

Details & Tickets

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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February 17th 2016
Anya17 goes to the Heart of Human Trafficking in the USA

Angels Vocal Art Logo JPG

I am thrilled to announce that the award-winning opera Anya17 has just been confirmed for performances in Los Angeles in July this year.

Anya17 was created by composer and Royal Northern College of Music Professor Adam Gorb with librettist Ben Kaye to highlight the personal tragedies behind Human Trafficking, a criminal “industry” worth an estimated annual revenue of over £20,000,000,000, second in scope only to the Drugs and Arms trades.

Angels Vocal Art, featuring Artistic Director Kristof Van Grysperre conducting and internationally-acclaimed director Tanya Kane-Parry will be bringing to life a fully-staged production of Anya17 with orchestra.

Los Angeles is THE top point of entry into the USA for victims of slavery and trafficking and is number #1 on the list of the FBI’s highest child sex trafficking cities in the USA.

Premiered in 2012 by the Royal Northern College of Music and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10 in Liverpool and Manchester, Anya17 was feted by the UK Government and endorsed by 14 National / International Charities / NGOs including The United Nations before going on to performances in Timisoara (Romania), Meiningen (Germany) and San Francisco (USA).

As Anya17 continues “her” journey around the globe to raise awareness of Human Trafficking, can I please take this opportunity to recognise two unsung heroes who have freely dedicated their time without any recognition whatsoever: Anna Celeste Watson and Stu Jones. Thank you for your everything you do… for nothing.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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May 21st 2015
“Riveting Art”

ANYA17 makes the “Best” List of the Bay Area’s Classical Music Scene for 2014.

 

“Anya 17, a modern treatment of sexual slavery and trafficking, was premiered by Opera Parallele last June. This gifted opera company has moved from edgy productions of twentieth century to their second premiere, and it was a humdinger.

 

A multi-layered score by British composer Adam Gorb and a haunting libretto by Ben Kaye took this most uncomfortable subject and turned it into riveting art. Go to anything this company does. Anything!”

 

 

Repeat Performances

Online reviews of events in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond…

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 29th 2014
They didn’t want to believe it…

Some didn’t believe Anya 17’s story, thinking that it was too extreme.
I knew it was true because I spent a year researching every aspect of it with thirteen different Anti-Trafficking organisations.

If you don’t believe that “this kind of thing” happens on our streets every day, be prepared for a wake-up call.

Read this
 

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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July 2nd 2014
Four men and a woman have been jailed for conspiring to traffic women into the UK for sexual exploitation.

The gang trafficked more than 100 women into the UK, some of whom were forced into prostitution and raped…

 

It couldn’t happen here in the UK, could it?

Story here…

 

I’m assuming that WordPress will not work to display this link, so here is the link in full:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-28123869

 

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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June 26th 2014
Seven people from the same family have been sentenced to 66 years in prison between them after they were convicted of trafficking three Polish nationals into the UK.

We continue to hear from some people who simply do not believe that Human Trafficking exists.

Thank you to City Hearts, who were instrumental in the rescue of three Polish people Trafficked into the UK and the successful prosecution and jailing of seven Traffickers.

Extract:

The three victims were lured to the UK with the promise of paid work and a better life.

As soon as they arrived, their identity documents were confiscated

The victims were subjected to a catalogue of violence and degrading treatment.

One night, having been held captive for approximately 12 months, one of the victims managed to escape, subsequently living on the streets for four months before finding assistance from a charity called City Hearts.

Sound familiar?

www.itv.com/news/london/update/2014-06-20/7-people-sentenced-for-human-trafficking-offences

#‎freedom‬ ‪#‎cityhearts‬

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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June 25th 2014
Audience reaction to Anya17 in San Francisco

 

“It is an extraordinarily powerful and emotional work. A tough and uncompromising story and the fact that it was in the form of an opera seemed as natural as breathing. There has never been anything like this on stage in San Francisco. Bravo a tutti at Opera Parallele.
While we were in the theatre some very young women being held as sex slaves were rescued in a trafficking sting mere blocks away. “
Mike – 23 June

“STRONGLY recommend ANYA 17. Today at 4pm is the last show, if you haven’t seen it go get your tickets. It’s more than just an opera… it’s an amazing, eye-opening msg bringing awareness around human trafficking… I saw it on FRIDAY and I am still thinking of it. THANK YOU Opera Parallele for bringing awareness on such an important subject to our community through music and theater.”
Raeeka – 22 June

“I saw Anya 17 tonight. I want to say amazing, but in truth it was difficult and disturbing. I think that is the point… Congratulations to you and everyone else for such a difficult piece.”
Quincy – 22 June

“Really proud of Opera Parallele…they are doing important things. Experienced a great piece of theatre tonight.”
Leah – 20 June

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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June 24th 2014
FT Review: The Scores are in! Mozart – 4, Adam Gorb – 3!

Local premieres for two operas, one wryly whimsical, the other grimly hard-hitting.

The Classical Style, Berkeley/Anya 17, San Francisco – review
[Review of Mozart’s “The Classical Style” removed – Four Stars]

More sober fare came from Opera Parallèle, the community’s leading purveyor of contemporary music theatre. Last weekend’s North American premiere of Adam Gorb’s Anya 17, at the Marines’ Memorial Theater in San Francisco, billed itself as the first opera to deal with human trafficking (though a case might be made for Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri centuries ago). Sincerity counts for much in Ben Kaye’s libretto drawn from the headlines and in the British composer’s eclectic, tart score, which adroitly mingles mild dissonance with jazzy riffs and sour Weillesque lyricism.

In recounting the sad saga of Anya and the other women kidnapped and brought to a brothel in western Europe, Gorb, in one disturbing scene after another, dwells on the brutality inflicted upon these unfortunates at the hands of a pimp with all the compassion of an iceberg. The irony is thick in the air: compassion for Anya comes only from an old customer. It’s all pure melodrama…

Anya 17 was directed starkly by Brian Staufenbiel amid a blizzard of projections. Nicole Paiement conducted her 14-member onstage orchestra with brave commitment. Soprano Anna Noggle’s Anya led a cast imbued with a sense of grim purpose. Show Boat this was not.

Three Stars

Allan Ulrich – Financial Times
24th June 2014

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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June 23rd 2014
REVIEW: Anya17 emerges a true work of art

Anna Noggle- left- and Shawnette Sulker with Victor Benedetti in background

 

The American premiere of this opera about human trafficking and sexual slavery rises above agitprop and emerges a true work of art.

Earlier this year a film called “Twelve Years a Slave” walked away with the Best Picture award at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes. The true story of a free American man of color who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. and sold into more than a decade of involuntary servitude in the antebellum South shocked well-bred audiences. How could such a thing happen? Well, as I drove through San Francisco’s tough Tenderloin District on my way home from Opera Parallèle’s searing “Anya17,” I looked up at darkened windows and wondered what kind of tragedy was being enacted behind the curtains. How could such a thing happen? It’s happening every day, here and all around the world.

 

“Anya17,” a new opera by composer Adam Gorb and librettist Ben Kaye, deals with human trafficking, especially the abduction of young girls from underdeveloped, poverty-stricken countries. Lured by the promise of jobs and riches in the West, these women end up as virtual slaves, their bodies a commodity and their lives in ruin. According to the program notes, this is a $32 billion industry, second only to the drug trade. Yet, it goes largely unnoticed. If “Anya17” is agitprop, it is so in the best sense of the term. And leave it to San Francisco’s adventurous Opera Parallèle to bring it to our attention.

 

It also is art. Gorb’s score is listenable, modern with touches of jazz, and appropriate to the subject (although I’m not ready to buy the record). Sometimes the melodic line is in the orchestra (ably directed by Nicole Paiement), with the singers’ voices riding atonally atop it. Sometimes it is the other way around. There is a beautiful Britten-like orchestral interlude (Gorb is British) following the death of one of the girls.

 

Kaye’s libretto is pure poetry — even when he is writing about women as meat on display in a butcher shop (a powerful aria sung by Viktor, the villain of the piece). Brian Staufenbiel’s direction and design is exceptional, as it has been in every Opera Parallèle production I have seen. Portions of the orchestra are visible through screens at the back of the stage. Projections of buildings and fields rushing by give you the feeling that you are traveling to “the West” with the girls. A brutal rape scene is all the more horrifying for remaining offstage.

 

The tale of Anya (a powerful Anna Noggle), betrayed by a man she thought loved her, and two of her fellow-abductees, as well as those who are profiting from their servitude, plays out in 11 short, tense scenes, with two dancers (Janet Das and Quilet Rarang), clad in plastic, moving props (notably a stained mattress) comforting and, occasionally, threatening the girls. Anya’s companions are well-sung by Shawnette Sulker as Mila, a young mother hoping to provide a better life for the child she left behind, and, especially, Laura Krumm as the lovely Elena, blind, addicted and heartbreaking.

 

San Francisco Opera regular Catherine Cook is her usual fabulous self as Natalia, an older woman, once trafficked, now turned trafficker. Her jazzy, tragic, autobiographical aria is a show-stopper. Her accomplice, the cruel Viktor, is well-sung by the impressive baritone Victor Benedetti and Andres Ramirez plays Anya’s lovers, one false and one true. Cook also doubles as a hospital social worker who tries to get through to the traumatized Anya after her escape.

 

Yes, Anya does escape and the opera ends on a note of hope as she begins to piece together the shards of her shattered self. But, in the real world, for every girl who gets away, many more remain stuck in a life of degradation that they did not choose. By shining a spotlight on this tragedy, Opera Parallèle has given us more than a work of art. Well done!

 

Suzanne Weiss – CultureVulture
June 20-22, 2014

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