Paredes’ new opera ‘Harriet’ stuns HCMF

Hilda Paredes’ operatic monodrama Harriet stunned the audience at the HCMF last night (20th November, 2018), in a performance given by Flemish theatre group Muziektheater Transparant, at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.  Harriet, the story of the slave Harriet Tubman (ca. 1820-1913), was delivered to the audience in a mesmerising performance by a star cast of two singers and 3 instrumentalists from the HERMES Ensemble, plus electronics.  The magnificent soprano Claron McFadden gave a heartfelt, beautiful and masterful performance as Harriet, supported by the wonderful mezzo-soprano Naomi Beeldens as Alice. 

Paredes’ impeccable and innovative writing incorporated a vast array of sounds and musical techniques, and this, together with the strong cast, electronics, scenography and video, gave the impression of a much larger production.  The musicians were Wibert Aerts (violin), Nico Couck (guitar) and Gaetan La Mela (percussion), with impressive electronics and sound design by Monica Gil Giraldo.  Harriet, whose libretto is based on poetry by Mayra Santos-Febres and a selection of dialogues by Lex Bohlmeijer, tells the story of Harriet Tubman, who escaped her childhood of slavery and helped others to freedom via the Underground Railroad, a network of safe routes to the free states.  Harriet became known as the Moses of her people.  The music, electronic sound, video, lighting and scenography came together to make an enthralling and seamless whole.  The performance was conducted by Manoj Kamps, with direction and scenography by Jean Lacornerie, video design by Miwa Matreyek, light design/digital lighting/scenography by Peter Quasters and costume design by Lieve Pynoo.  The performance of this fantastic and thought-provoking opera was received to much acclaim.  UYMP offers many congratulations to Hilda and to Muziektheater Transparant, and wishes them much success in their continuing tour of the opera.   

(21 Nov 2018)

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