Posts Tagged ‘sex trafficking’

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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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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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 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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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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June 21st 2014
News from San Francisco!

The first night!

Following a triumphant first night in San Francisco, (left to right) Nicole Paiment (Artistic Director and Conductor of Anya17), Composer Adam Gorb, Shawnette Sulker (“Mila”), Brian Staufenbiel (Stage Director and Concept Designer) and Anna Noggle (“Anya”) enjoy a few moments after the USA Premiere before gearing up for further performances.

 

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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December 16th 2013
Together in Legislation…

uk-politics-25389760

All of us who have been involved with Anya17 are very encouraged to learn that the increased public awareness and pressure exerted by so many Anti-Trafficking / Slavery initiatives and organisations in the past years has resulted in proposed legislation to recognise and attempt to address the multiple issues of modern day Slavery in the UK.

 

Anya17 was written to raise awareness of modern day Slavery, and the Sex Trafficking of adults and minors in particular, and perhaps therefore surely we should take some satisfaction in having helped spread the message and raising awareness of these issues?

 

The real truth is that we know many of the NGOs supporting Anya17 have differing opinions and reservations about the proposed legislation as it stands. All of these conviction-driven NGOs are trying to do ‘the right thing’, so understandably many of these indispensable organisations attack the problems from slightly different angles.

 

Many are on ‘the front line’, dealing with victims every day, some are on ‘the front line’ but concentrate their efforts on rescuing children… or on rescuing adults. The greatest strengths of some are in advocacy, awareness, cooperation, legislation or in the prosecution of Traffickers.

 

The real work is therefore just beginning…

 

The important thing we all must recognise is that:

 

WE ARE ALL DOING THIS FOR THE SAME REASON – TO ERADICATE THE TRAFFICKING, EXPLOITATION AND SLAVERY OF HUMAN BEINGS.
The next few months will be a very difficult time – a time in which alliances may be brokered, broken and re-formed, perhaps ultimately to the detriment of less-influential organisations, or more importantly, to the victims.

 

Politics is a slippery, difficult game. I just hope that whatever becomes Law will be for the benefit of ALL victims – past, present and future.

 

LET THERE BE NO POLITICAL  ‘DIVIDE AND CONQUER’


It is far more important to provide a united front in terms of proposed legislation than to allow our different initiatives to fall into dis-unity. If this happens then the Government will be provided with a real opportunity to negotiate with various ‘major’ players and ‘pick and choose’ in terms of the legislation proposed. The Human Trafficking Foundation has provided leadership, a Forum and an ideas-exchange, and I hope that they will be able to pull together our disparate ideas but unified goals into a coherent initiative, against which any opposition to new legislation may not find any defence.

 

Only time will tell… but please let us not waste the time, nor the opportunity. Let’s just make it happen.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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December 7th 2013
Second Review of Anya17 in Germany

“No champagne this evening, no Premierengeschnatter (Premiere Chatter). Only concern. And silence. Then applause, roaring loudly after seventy minutes of silence…”

 

No champagne this evening, no Premierengeschnatter. Only concern. And silence. Then applause, roaring loudly after seventy minutes of silence. No known opera evening in Meiningen Kammerspielen, for many reasons. The subject is not a unusual in musical theater: the prostitute, the prostitute. But it is not those romanticized as the Alban Berg’s Lulu or Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata”. Instead, it’s about young flesh, fresh from Eastern Europe, numbered. Thus, no suitor has to bother with pesky name when he ordered the goods woman.

Forced prostitution. To raise this issue on a stage as well, as it creates through the means of music that pretends less images rather in the minds of the audience that has to Adam Gorb not a composer still married. “Anya 17″ has the Briton called his chamber opera, translation superfluous, as superfluous as the concrete location of the plot. Anya’s story could play anywhere between Eastern and Western Europe: A poor girl who loves for the first time. Want to believe the nice thing about this life in the West, which promises you the beloved. And then without it ending up in a dump. For money to buy, day and night.

Tell that everything is from the perspective of women to men has librettist Ben Kaye the marginal roles intended for, ugly roles: love vorgaukelnde decoy Uri that sex with love be confused Free Gabriel (both parts sung by Rodrigo Porras Garulo) and the brutal pimp Viktor . Stephanos Tsirakoglou shows him as a patronizing dealer who supplies the market only what this requires. And for that the hand is staying.

The market wants girls like Anya, whose dismay flashes her fate from each shooed views from every gesture, from each desperate tone of Anne Ellersiek. He also wants girls like Natalia (Carolina Krogius), happy girls, raped by father, clarified by strangers at age ten, twelve working the streets. He wants girls like the blind Elena (Camila Ribero-Souza), bruised resigned to their existence. But he does not want a girl like Mila (Elif Aytekin) whose body apparently suffers from this market than for a Free favor could find him. The reason has to die is disposed of.

Director Mareike Zimmermann leaves the four women occur in nude Suites, like bathing suits with sewn breasts and buttocks. The alienated, makes the scenes appear grotesque. The sex is just as ugly as those men who thus make a deal in this oppressive intensive production. The viewer comes when looking at the stage like a voyeur before looking to a container with mirror foil, the times reflected, sometimes gives a view of the scene free.

What happens twice in the music Gorb that makes kicks and punches audible. According opulent with two musicians on percussion is the fifteen-member Court Orchestra under the direction of the first Kapellmeister Leo McFall occupied. It leads – enriched with quotes – sound in two opposite spheres. After kicking off with folklore bonds it changes with the flight to the West. Commented it the glittering world of the goods ironically with Broadway and jazz. In the score, there are so cliché, as well as on stage plenty of cliche-affected can be seen, the touched yet or perhaps because. At the end of a little hope for Anya.

More still affected after all the pain, blood, fear. No known opera evening.

Further performances on 8./14. December 10 January 8 February every 20 clock

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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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