October 25, 26, 28 at 7 pm 925 Balmoral Road — Soprano Miriam Kralil and the Aventa Ensemble will perform Ayre, a one-hour opera, composed by Jewish Argentinean Osvaldo Golijov and produced by Pacific Opera Victoria (POV). All three performances take place at The Baumann Centre, 925 Balmoral Road, Victoria at 7:00 pm on Thursday, Oct. 25, Friday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 28. Ticket prices (general seating) Adult $35, Student $15. Limited tickets per show: purchase tickets from Pacific Opera Victoria Box Office, call 250-385-0222 or www.pov.bc.ca…
Ayre (meaning “melody” and “air” in medieval Spanish) draws its 11 songs from the three cultures –Jewish, Christian, Muslim – that intermingled in 15th century Spain. An eclectic fusion of traditional Sephardic melodies, ancient Biblical lamentations, Christian-Arab Easter songs, and contemporary Palestinian poetry, Ayre is a gorgeous collision of cultures, chameleonic in its mix of beauty and savagery.
Here are stories of murder and love, war, seduction, and exile, told in music that veers from classical and klezmer to folk and opera, with a soundscape that includes harp and electric accordion, clarinet and laptop, and the lush, fiery colours of the soprano voice.
The song tells of an epic battle between the Moors and Christians, during which an admiral named Rondale is taken captive. In this excerpt, a Moorish princess offers to marry Rondale (note the seductive riffs on the clarinet as she promises him gold and property). But Rondale has a wife in Paris and angrily refuses her.
Argentinian Jewish composer Osvaldo Golijov created Ayre in 2004 for the great American soprano Dawn Upshaw. The work has an eloquent new exponent in Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil. In Golijov’s words, No one singer … “owns” this piece in the way that Miriam Khalil does — I cannot even begin to express the emotion I feel when she sings Ayre: it is as if she were born to sing it … Hearing and seeing her is a wild journey that leaves one exhausted and exhilarated at end.
Osvaldo Golijov’s bio here http://www.osvaldogolijov.com/bio.htm
A careening, vital, emotional, wild concoction that demonstrates … that all human emotions … are shared and shareable, and that texts in Arabic and Hebrew and music from Islamic, Christian and Jewish traditions can be woven together into a crazy quilt of unity, ecstatic in its total completeness and fullness.
And soprano Khalil … is a mesmerizing, gorgeous presence.