Royal Opera House Announces 2023 Engender Festival

By David Salazar

The Royal Opera House has announced its 2023 Engender Festival.

First up will be the UK premiere of “Woman at Point Zero” by Bushra El-Turk with a libretto by Stacy Hardy. Laila Solman directs the opera, which stars Dima Orsho and Carla Nahadi Babelegoto. Kanako Abe conducts.

“Woman at Point Zero” is a multimedia work tells a tale of abuse and emancipation that “blends Western and Middle Eastern traditions, and is performed on a unique mix of ancient folk instruments by musicians from all over the world.”

Performance Date: June 28 – 30, 2023

There will also be a brunch with lisa luxx as part of “Artivism and Opera.”

Performance Date: July 1, 2023 

Next up is “History of the Present,” a new experimental feminist opera-film about class and conflict. It features Héloïse Werner. The work is composed by Annea Lockwood and features a libretto by Maria Fusco, who also directs alongside Margaret Salmon.

“The opera-film features archival recordings of women’s voices from my own family recordings, made when I was a child. I’m interested in how you learn accent through tone and range, how the environment seeps into you, how you try to assimilate. I was deeply honoured Annea agreed to compose new music for the work; her pioneering work in field-recordings has been an inspiration for a long time,” said Fusco in an official press statement. “We utilised other archival materials, which Héloïse, a trained opera singer, improvises with ‘emblematic’ Belfast military sounds: a helicopter, a Saracen, and a riot. We made the decision in the work not to include any visual archival material, but instead to focus on the sonic. When I was growing up, you would often hide when a riot was happening, not stand staring out at it. Your experience of violence is largely sonic: you’re a reluctant participant.”

Performance Date: July 2, 2023