18 Aug 2011 19:00 - 19 Aug 2011
A chamber opera inspired by the lives of Margaret Mee, a British botanist and artist explorer, and Chico Mendes, a Brazilian environmentalist and political activist. They take us on a journey full of magic, mysticism, human struggle and undying hope. Libretto by Eva Danickova.
THE MOONFLOWER OPERA: SYNOPSIS
A woman artist explorer and a man who died fighting for human rights meet in the afterlife. They look back on the one thing they have in common: love for the land of fragile beauty and great power which is hard to conquer despite the force of human greed and destruction. They reminisce about their lives, mainly their fight to preserve the mystical Amazon. Moonflower is a story of human struggle, cruelty and greed, but also of unimaginable beauty and strength of the human spirit.
Inspired by the lives of two remarkable people, Margaret Mee (British botanist and artist explorer) and Chico Mendes (Brazilian rubber tapper, an environmentalist and a freedom fighter), this chamber opera begins at the end. Margaret and Chico, who didn't meet during their lives, meet as souls who cannot rest. They have one thing in common - their love for the Amazon rainforest which they both tried to preserve. Their memories, hopes and fears, become the foundation of the stories and the poetry of The Moonflower.
The story consists of three tales, all inspired by the Amazonian rainforest. The Moonflower is the leitmotif, holding the whole piece together. A metaphor of struggle, fragility and ultimate futility of human life.
More about Margeret Mee:
Mee is remembered for her minutely detailed paintings of flowers from Brazilian
forests. Her collection of Amazon flower paintings resides at the Royal
Botanical Gardens, Kew, near London. Margaret was born in England and trained
as an artist in London. She moved to Brazil in 1952 and spent thirty-six years there. She
was never afraid of calling for the conservation of the natural world, the
Amazon forest, its animals and plants in particular. Margaret died in a tragic
accident in England in 1988.
More about Chico Mendes:
called ‘The Ghandi of the Amazon’, Chico Mendes was a rubber tapper who lived
and worked in the Amazon rainforest. During the 1980's, Chico became a political
activist interested in protecting the rights of the rubber tappers against the
invasion of cattle ranchers. His struggle caught the attention of international
environmentalists who saw Chico’s resistance movement as a fight to save the
rainforest. Chico was murdered in 1988.
More about the Moonflower:
Strophocactus wittii, the generic name from the word strophe (twisting, curling) referring to the manner in which the flattened leaf-like stems wind themselves around Amazonian trees. Also known as the ‘Queen of the Night'. The generic name is derived from the Greek selene, meaning moon. The Moonflower opens very rarely and its blosssom lasts for one night only.
Margaret Mee found the Moonflower in a flooded forest and
included its painting in her collections.
Box office: 020 8237 1111
Online bookings: http://www.riversidestudios.co.uk/cgi-bin/page.pl?l=1308670448
Supported by Embassy of Brazil in the UK.
Showing as part of Tête à Tête Opera Festival (4 AUG - 21 AUG 2011)
Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London W6 9RL
From: 18 Aug 2011 19:00
To: 19 Aug 2011