The Tragedy Of LGBT Oppression Told With Opera
There is this intriguing connection between queer theory, gay men, love of opera and the adored opera singer. Especially the glorification of the Prima Donna! Goddesses like Price (my personal favorite), Cotrubas, diDonato, Nilsson, Baker, Freni, Netrebko, coucntless others, and above all Callas!
So strong is this love that ”Opera Queens” have been in the spotlight for academic research and several books.
The mission now, is to create an album based on true LGBT stories. Since I'm an opera singer the aim is to use primarely opera arias to make these stories more accessible to the world.
Aslan and his boyfriend had been revealed as lovers. This resulted in the boyfriend being convicted in his own home by his family and later killed by them. But before they took his life he managed to smuggle a letter out to Aslan. He knew his life was in danger. Therefore he implored Aslan in his letter to do what he could to devote his life to the fight. The fight for the right to live, and love, with dignity, as an LGBT person.
When Aslan found out about his beloved's murder he understood his time had come to flee as soon as possible. Flee before another ”honor killing” would erase for his life too. With tears in his eyes, the letter in his pocket, a couple of T-shirts and a tiny amount of money he took his passport and ran head over heels from the soil where he had been born, learned to love and was so devastatingly betrayed.
He left everything and ran from a well respected family in Turkey. From a job he loved, a good position with a generous salary. From a comfortable life with friends and fun. From a place where he could not be who he was. Where being true to himself equaled death!
He slept on the streets, freezing and starving on his way to what he hoped would be safety i Sweden. We have liberal laws here. Same sex legislation and supposedly you can seek asylum as an LGBT refugee. Sometimes they say yes. Sometimes they say no...
Aslan got to stay!
His story still brings a lump to my throat. Because even if you read about these fates and you see the pictures. Sitting in front of a person, listening to what he went through hits you between the eyes. It's more than words. It's a vibration and you can't say "no" to a vibration. The vibration of a sound penetrates everything. Steel or flesh, makes no difference. You can’t close your eyes or put earplugs into your ears to avoid the tremble of a voice...
The Coming Album
9 years ago I left the imprisonment of the vocal type system. I was no longer a soprano, coloratura or mezzo. I decided to come out as an all over opera singer and just sing. At the same time I started to cross over not only with my clothing but also with taking on male repertory. Like the song "Let Beauty Awake" intended for baritone in my introductory video above.
Songs Of Travel is a set of wonderful songs! I sang the whole cycle in "Trousers Envy?" where I adressed women cross dressing through time. The Vagabond is the first one.
Opera, ”Bigger Than Life”.
For this new project I will sing opera arias. What would be more fitting for Aslan’s sad story than Cavaradossi’s aria from Tosca? A desolated man, knowing he will be executed in the morning, writing his last words to his beloved... E lucevan le stelle (And the stars were shining).
Tenor? Yes, tenor arias! There are so many fitting songs, ”Bigger Than Life”, within the opera repertoire to these gruesome stories. I’ll brake some rules. Do what is blasphemy within my trade. I’ll ignore the norm yet again, and I’ll record it too!
Breaking The Norm
Since 1996 I've done recitals from a different perspective than most classical singers.
I started research to find women's music throughout the centuries. Many sad, heartbreaking, hopeful and otherwise interesting stories surfaced. They where women breaking the norm and through my feminist lens I started telling these tales while introducing their work.
From this work I found this song by Clara Schumann.
My wonderful collaborator at the grand piano is Conny Antonov. We both live in Malmö, Sweden. He with his husband, Måns Holt-Ekström, art historian. Myself with Elvira Haxhiaga, iconic profile on personal development in Balkan.
I don't know how many times I've been asked: Do you have any albums for sale? And every time I've had to say - No! For this coming recital I will have an album ready so I can say - Yes!
To forward the vibration to which you can not close your eyes or use earplugs I need your help! Any small sum will bring this music to its audience and the stories of those sacrificing their life and safety because of who they where won't be in complete vain.
Costs will include the recording, pianist, rehearsal time, studio time, the physical album, copy writing and art director.
Here is an estimate for cost of the recording time:
- Recording 4 days incl.
20h Redaction och mixning sv.kr 22000 or $3,100
- Mastring & PQ-coding sv.kr 3200 or $451
- Transport sv.kr 300 or $42
- Tax 25% sv.kr 6375 or $898
All in all recording,
including sound check sv.kr 31875 or $4,491
(Redaction/mixning extra per hour, not included: sv.kr 480 /hor $67/h)
I will add other costs here as I get them figured out.
If you have no money at this point, dont worry! :-) Spreading the message to your tribe will help immensely. Use the links for your FB, Twitter, Instagram and any other social network where people gather. Or send someone an email. Your simple act of sharing the information can be what makes or breaks this project to come into fruition.
When I open the project there will be a small pledge starting around $3. Every $ counts!
If this seems like a worthy cause to you, please stand in line for the early invite of this project. There is no cost, you just make sure you won’t miss anything.
Scroll up to the top now, and put your adress in the box!
Thank You for taking Hate, Honor, Hope into consideration!
ps. You can share righ now with the buttons! Thanks!! :-)