Archive for November, 2013

Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 28th 2013
“I used to be… ‘beautiful Elena from Tulica’”

With the fully-staged world premiere of Anya17 less than 5 hours away, there’s just enough time for me to give you a glimpse of Camila Ribero-Souza, who plays the blinded “Elena”.

“They beat me so hard… I thought I would die. Then, I hoped they wouldn’t stop – I longed for death…”

“I used to be… ‘beautiful Elena from Tulica’, now I’m just ‘The Blind Girl’…”

“At least I don’t have to look anymore at their drunken… sweating… grunting… faces…”

 

Camila Ribero-Souza plays Elena, blinded by her Traffickers

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 28th 2013
Behind The Scenes

How many people does it take to change a light bulb?

I don’t know the answer to that ever-philosophical question,
but I can tell you that if your opera includes a fight sequence, and you therefore
find yourself chatting not only to The Director, but also with the specialist “Fight
Director”, you will suddenly realise that you are in Germany… and just how
seriously opera is treated in over here.

I think that there are only about two or three of the Anya17 cast “in shot” in this photo. All the
essential others you can see are from the Ensemble, Lighting, Costume Design, Prompting,
Props, Set Design, Choreography, Audio, Video, Hair, Makeup, etc. etc. – you name it.

It’s a different world over here!

Only hours to go before the premiere now…

 

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 26th 2013
Stunning Full Dress Rehearsal of Anya17 in Germany

I was privileged to be at an extraordinary event last night; the first fully-staged dress rehearsal of Anya17 performed by the truly talented international cast and musicians of Das Meininger Theater.

To say that the performance took my breath away would be a master-stroke of British understatement.

Nearly 24 hours later, I still haven’t had the time to fully absorb the power of the show, and revise my appraisal from a series of stammering superlatives to a more objective view. I just can’t begin to describe it.

Adam Gorb and I spent a portion of this morning doing a Radio follow-up to an earlier TV interview – I’ll let you know if either will be available on the net.

In the meantime – another full run-through tonight, so more news tomorrow!

The blinded Elena (Camila Ribero-Souza) drinks as Anya (Anne Ellersiek) tries to come to terms with her plight

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 21st 2013
Breaking News: Slavery in the UK today…

Many thanks to Richard Wistreich at the RNCM for alerting the Anya17 team to this story. I can only say that fact is often more terrible and disturbing than fiction:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/21/three-women-rescued-from-decades-of-slavery-live-coverage

Apologies all if this link doesn’t work – I’ve only tried three times.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 16th 2013
The Calm before the Storm

In about a week, I will be heading down to Meiningen Germany to Das Meininger Theater to attend the fully-staged world premiere of Anya17 (and many subsequent performances over the coming months).

When you are in the midst of a long-term project, it can be all too easy to look forward with trepidation and be forced to accept the sudden realisation that you have “so far to go…”

Today (for a change) I decided to take the opposite view and “stopped on the mountainside” to look back and see just how far we had actually come.

From the genus of an idea, the amazing Anya17 team has:

1. Premiered concert performances with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10 and The Royal Northern College of Music.

2. Gained extensive coverage to raise awareness of Human Trafficking on the brilliant BBC and with many many others (as far afield as South Korea and Australia).

3. Premiered Anya17 in Romania and received an invitation to take the opera all over Romania by The Ministry of Internal Affairs (in conjunction with The UK-Romania Friendship Foundation and their wonderfully-successful International Human Trafficking Symposium).

4. Secured a USA premiere with Opera Parallele in San Francisco in 2014, and used the opportunity to engage a swathe of Human Rights groups and Media in America.

5. Won the “Best Film or Stage Production Dealing with Human Trafficking” Award at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards last year at The House of Commons, promoted by The Human Trafficking Foundation.

6. Gained the official endorsement of thirteen Anti-Trafficking NGOs, many of whom we hope will attend the German premiere.

7. A performance in Feb next year in Wales is currently awaiting confirmation, whilst other potential performances in the UK with the original Cast are at such an early stage that… let’s just wait and see…

Yes, we do have a long way to go.

Sometimes though it’s good to look back and gain confidence and inspiration for the future, from the successes of the past.

I haven’t met any of the Singers or Musicians who will be performing Anya17 in Germany. I haven’t even yet met the Director, the Conductor, the Costume Designer or any of the others.

I did though receive an email from one of the Singers, who is playing the part of “Elena” in Germany. I won’t relate the email because all these thoughts will be appearing on the blog soon.

All I can say is that “the passion lives on…”

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