Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble to Present World Premiere of Karmina Šilec’s ‘BABA: The Life and Death of Stana’

By Chris Ruel
(Photo: Marko Vanovsek)

The world premiere of “BABA: The Life and Death of Stana,” written, composed, and directed by renowned Slovenian artist Karmina Šilec, will be presented by Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble at Z Space in San Francisco from Feb. 23–26, 2023.

“BABA” explores the lives of Balkan Highlands women who live as men after accepting vows of chastity. In distant rural areas of Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Serbia, the tradition of sworn virgins remains ingrained in an antiquated social code.

Shira Cion, executive creative director of Kitka, in an official press release stated, “BABA brings to light a disappearing practice of women sacrificing their sexuality and transforming themselves into men as a means of survival in an isolated, impoverished and intensely patriarchal region of the world,”

Kitka is using an ensemble of 12 performers, including guests Shira Kammen and Beth Wilmurt.

Šilec will deliver a lecture on January 20 at 7:30 p.m. as a part of her residency at Mills College at Northeastern University. She will discuss the opera’s creation and her distinctive compositional techniques known as Choregie.