DIFFERENCES IN DEMOLITION
This was the first collaboration between Tina Ellen Lee of Opera Circus and Nigel Osborne, the composer. Nigel had gone to Bosnia as a young man and returned repeatedly to Sarajevo while it was under siege in the mid 1990’s during the Bosnian War to bring music to children suffering form the trauma of the continually bombardment and death around them. Because of his history he knew the local music, called Sevah, well and had long wished to bring to it his modernist musical ideas to create a new opera.
They involved a long time friend of Nigel’s, the Bosnian poet Goran Simic, to write the libretto based on one of his most beautiful metaphoric poems, the title of which became the title of the opera.
After a tearful world premier in Mostar, a town which also suffered terribly during the war but which is considered the very centre of Sevdah music, the opera went on to London and to astounding reviews. At the end of 2011, it was invited to be performed in Vienna in front of many politicians and ambassadors concerned with the present day problems of Bosnia and the Balkans.
Tina of Opera Circus twined Vienna, one of the richest cities in Europe with Srebrenica, one of the poorest towns in the region, so that the opera would be performed in both places. In that the story is based on the plight of three brothers as the country is based upon the conflicts of three ethnic groups, the message was not lot on audiences.
During this period, the young people that Tina and I had been working with were involved in the process and invited to Vienna to see ‘their’ opera performed in a splendid palace. The little film is a testament to that episode in the life of the opera.