Ostrava to become the center of contemporary opera again: NODO 2020

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The last days in June will be dedicated to new opera and progressive forms of music theatre for the fifth time: Czech and international premieres that can truly impact us. Artistic teams from Europe, the USA, and Japan, as well as the international orchestra Ostravská banda, will arrive in the Moravian-Silesian capital. They will rehearse and perform seven unique productions of chamber opera in two weeks in four different spaces in the center of Ostrava: Antonín Dvořák Theatre for opera, Jiří Myron Theatre for musicals, the post-industrial building of Old Bathrooms in Hlubina Coal Mine, and the abandoned Pavilion G at Černá louka exhibition ground. The 5th NODO /New Opera Days Ostrava biennial is open daily from Friday 26 June to Tuesday 30 June.

The festival will start with the Czech premiere of one of the biggest stars of contemporary music theatre Salvatore Sciarrino. Superflumina will be his fifth production staged in Ostrava. Cooperation between Czech composer Michal Rataj and German director Katharina Schmitt in the new music and theatre production Aphasia Studies inosculates so much that both of them claim they are the authors of the premiere. The question Who Is Speaking? is just as important as the question of who is not speaking or is not heard. What is aphasia? The impediment in speech, the inability to accept and send the symbolic codes – spoken or written, speech losses with deep roots. NODO in Ostrava will see the encounter of the American and Japanese team, including actors and dancers in the famous Noh theatre, who will perform the new experimental opera based on rhythms in Buddhist songs. The author is the composer based in New York, a famous koto player, experienced improviser and teacher at Columbian University (NY) Miya Masaoka. The traditional and exotic poetry from the East will merge with the contemporary Western world. The Long Arc of Time in the world premiere in the Hlubina Coal Mine. One of the representatives of Czech music will be the composer and pianist Marek Keprt, who plays with ambiguity and poetic, often humorous anagrams with many meanings. One of the lines in his first opera is degustation sounds (e.g. smacking, sniffing and swallowing). Ana Sokolović, the Montreal-based composer, will present her opera The Wedding and six girls, who are preparing their friend for a wedding. The last one of three female composers at this year’s NODO is the Afro-American performer, rapper, writer and activist Camae Ayewa, who is known as Moor Mother in the USA and Europe. Her uncompromising, raw and truly relevant performance with being an antithesis to everything we imagine as opera and – what is more – her topic is the last hours in the life of Elizabeth I.

The NODO festival reacts to the desire for contemporary opera, revealing strong, up-to-date and timeless topics, and processes them in a music language close to contemporary listeners. All operas will be staged in Ostrava and the production of most of them was inspired by the NODO incentive. The organizers of NODO are the Ostrava Center for New Music and National Moravian-Silesian Theatre.


Kristýna Konczyna, abridged