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FULL The Nubian Word for Flowers, A Phantom Opera (Oliveros, IONE) New York 2017

Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO     
Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: International Contemporary Ensemble  
  • Date Published: 2021  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: nosubs  
  • Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO
PROGRAM NOTE During several journeys to Egypt, as a journalist and teacher, author/playwright/director IONE, was strongly affected by the diaspora (Higra) of the Nubian people of Egypt and the Sudan, as well as being inspired by a real life island of flowers in the Nile. IONE shared her experiences of the island and its colonial connections with her creative partner and spouse Pauline Oliveros while they were performing in Kitchener, Ontario. The name of the town opened floodgates of historical memory and Pauline was very moved by the story. Slowly, they began to develop an opera, encompassing the Nubian diaspora and the life of Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener of Khartoum. While working on the project they journeyed to Egypt together, following an ancient route, from Venice to Cairo; where they began collaborations with Egyptian and Nubian musicians. The Nubian Word for Flowers: A Phantom Opera uses live performance, electronics, and moving images to create a deep dream exploration of Nubian soul and Colonial Mind. At the time of Pauline’s death in November 2016, the opera was only 75 percent complete. During the year that followed, IONE, collaborated with International Contemporary Ensemble (performing ensemble), Monica Duncan (video artist), Senem Pirler (sound artist), Nick Demaison (conductor) and Zizo (singer/composer) to posthumously complete the work and give a full-scale world premiere at Roulette (Brooklyn, NY) on November 30, 2017, which was lauded as “warmly felt haunting” by The New York Times.
In December 2018 at a residency at Mount Tremper Arts we were able to re-shape the opera to be experienced in smaller locations; living rooms, meditation studios, and other non-traditional, intimate spaces. This new “pocket” version preserved the opera’s original live, performed animation and transformed the production into an even more intimate exploration of this important work. The “pocket” version premiered in February 2020 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor Gallery.
The evolution of this work has brought together a creative integration of Pauline and Ione’s meditation and dream awareness practice and traditional opera. The Nubian Word for Flowers continues to live beyond us in ways we can only imagine, leading to one of the most incredible communities of creative, passionate listeners and performers.
CREDITS Pauline Oliveros and IONE’s The Nubian Word for Flowers was supported by a Watershed Lab residency at Mount Tremper Arts, with lead support by the National Endowment for the Arts. Experiments in Opera’s 2017 Season was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the Casement Fund. The Ministry of Maåt’s 2017 performance of The Nubian Word for Flowers; A Phantom Opera was a made possible by The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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