Caruso a Cuba (Opera Forward Festival)
Caruso a Cuba is a new composition by the Dutch composer and poet Micha Hamel, whose other works include the tragic operetta Snow White and his Requiem for our ideal of civilisation, which he created in 2012 when he was the 'composer in focus' for the Holland Festival. His opera Caruso a Cuba was based on the novel Como un mensajero tuyo (1998) by the Cuban writer Mayra Montero.
Aida in Havana
When the world-famous tenor Enrico Caruso sang Verdi's opera Aida in Havana, a bomb exploded in the theatre. Caruso fled out into the street, straight into the arms of the Chinese-Cuban Aida Cheng. The singer, in full make-up and operatic costume, must have turned quite a few heads ... Aida Cheng's godfather is a powerful clergyman in the Afro-Caribbean religion; he predicted the explosion, as well as Aida Cheng's love affair and Caruso's death.
The story is exciting, rich in metaphors and references. Caruso and Aida are of course linked to Radamès and Aida from Verdi's opera, but they are also incarnations of the Afro-Cuban gods Changó and Yemayá. A curse rests on the love between these two gods. They are eternally looking for earthly bodies to live in.
Hamel composed Caruso a Cuba as a chamber opera, which is accompanied by the Dutch Chamber Orchestra. A company of eight singers interprets a total of fourteen roles. The colour of the chamber orchestra is enriched by synthesizers, sound effects, an out-of-tune piano and an Aida trumpet.
Dutch Chamber Orchestra
The Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra | Dutch Chamber Orchestra has been a regular orchestra partner of The Dutch National Opera for over thirty years and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Every season, the two orchestras play the majority of opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra provides a versatile concert programme in Het Concertgebouw and also performs in other Dutch concert halls and on foreign stages and festivals.
Micha Hamel (1970) is a composer, poet and conductor. His concert music has been performed by almost all major Dutch orchestras and ensembles. He also composed music for dance and theatre, such as for the Dutch National Ballet and the National Theatre. In 2012 he was 'composer in focus' at the Holland Festival. He successfully made his debut as a poet in 2004 with Alle enen opgeteld. Hamel is also active as a lecturer and guest speaker, and since January 2015 he is a member of the KNAW Academy of Arts.