Donnerstag, 23.05.2024 07:59 Uhr

Hamed and Sherifa

Verantwortlicher Autor: Nadejda Komendantova Chamber Opera of Vienna, 15.04.2024, 19:04 Uhr
Nachricht/Bericht: +++ Kunst, Kultur und Musik +++ Bericht 3884x gelesen

Chamber Opera of Vienna [ENA] Zad Moultaka's "Hamed and Sherifa" offers a thought-provoking exploration of gender identity and societal norms through the lens of a whimsical children's opera. The Austrian premiere of this production presents a unique blend of musical traditions, weaving together elements of European opera with traditional Lebanese music, all while challenging conventional perceptions of masculinity and femininity.

The narrative revolves around King Hamed, who, embittered by disappointment in his wife, decrees the banishment of all women from his kingdom except his mother. Princess Sherifa, unwilling to accept this decree, disguises herself as Prince Sherif and infiltrates Hamed's realm, forming an unexpected friendship with the king. As Hamed becomes increasingly fond of his new "friend," he grapples with confusion over Sherif's true identity and the blurred lines between masculine and feminine traits.

Moultaka's composition cleverly mirrors the opera's themes, with all characters portrayed by male singers. This artistic choice serves as a catalyst for exploring the fluidity of gender expression and the complexities of societal expectations. The score, tailored for an ensemble comprising oboe, bassoon, double bass, and two percussionists, masterfully integrates Western musical traditions with elements of Lebanese heritage, resulting in a captivating and lighthearted sonic experience. The libretto, crafted by Ina Karr and Anselm Dalferth based on Andrea Gronemeyer's play, navigates sensitive themes with a delicate balance of wit and sincerity.

The characters' interactions unfold with a blend of humor and introspection, inviting young audiences to contemplate the nuances of identity and acceptance. In terms of performance, the production's success hinges on the talents of its three male soloists, who skillfully navigate the multifaceted roles of Hamed, Sherifa/Sherif, and the Queen Mother. Each singer brings a distinctive flair to their characterizations, capturing the emotional depth and comedic undertones of Moultaka's libretto.

The instrumental ensemble, under Moultaka's baton, breathes life into the score, infusing each passage with rhythmic vitality and melodic charm. The incorporation of Lebanese musical motifs adds a layer of cultural richness, enhancing the opera's cross-cultural dialogue and thematic resonance. Thematically, "Hamed and Sherifa" prompts introspection on the fluidity of gender roles and the importance of empathy and understanding in challenging societal norms. Moultaka's playful approach to these topics fosters an environment of curiosity and inclusivity, encouraging young audiences to engage with complex ideas through the accessible medium of opera.

While Moultaka's exploration of gender identity is commendable, the opera occasionally struggles to strike a consistent tone, veering between light-hearted comedy and more contemplative moments. Some narrative elements may also require a nuanced understanding of cultural context, particularly in relation to Lebanese traditions referenced in the music. Overall, "Hamed and Sherifa" represents a commendable effort in pushing artistic boundaries and fostering dialogue around themes of identity and acceptance. Moultaka's innovative blend of musical styles and thought-provoking narrative offers a valuable entry point for young audiences into discussions on gender diversity and cultural appreciation within the realm of opera.

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