Chamber opera as a crossroads
On 5 May, Jasper Charlet and Michèle Delagrange will enter a conversation with their coaches Wim Henderickx and Benoît De Leersnyder, led by moderator Klaas Coulembier. Heyra is not only a crossroads in the careers of its makers, but also brings together different perspectives. Music, text and language are woven into a unique unity in this production. Coaches and makers go deeper into each of these aspects and give you more insight into the making of Heyra. Liesbeth Devos and Aaron Wajnberg perform a few arias from the opera.
What if there was a new branch with only one language within the Indo-European landscape? A language that not only obeys the rules of language evolution, but also has a complete history behind it, from Narbonne (France) to the Iberian Peninsula and even to Argentina? And what if the new culture that inevitably accompanies it has legendary stories to tell?
With this in mind, composer Jasper Charlet has written his first short opera for five singers (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and bass) and a ten-piece ensemble (woodwind quintet, trumpet, trombone, percussion, cello and double bass). By comparing existing myths and searching for a common origin, Klaus Gjika and Jasper Charlet came up with a fictional myth that tells the story of Heyra.
Heyra, a young woman engaged to her lover, is appointed high priestess of the Moon Goddess. She must put away her marriage vow and swear to remain a bachelor forever. When the king demands her as a bride, Heyra must choose between her own faith and marrying this selfish monarch. However, she wants neither and decides to flee with her fiancé. Although the couple receives the blessing of the moon goddess, the king cannot reconcile himself to this decision and kills Heyra’s fiancé. The grief for her lover is so grand that Heyra takes her own life. Together they rise as the first stars in the sky. The king is cursed and is erased from everyone’s memory as a punishment.
The libretto is written in Carite, a conlang that has been worked on for the past five years by an international group of young artists with a fondness for historical linguistics. Carite is a passion project of Jasper Charlet and J.D. that they developed as a new language within the Indo-European landscape, a little sister language of Greek and the Celtic languages. Their aim was to create a new language according to the rules of language evolution, in such a way that hypothetically it could actually exist (have existed). Their very detailed approach takes into account all possible historical influences: the emerging Roman Empire driving them out of their original environment, the short but very influential reign of the Visigoths, the invasion of the Arabs and the Reconquista that followed after. The Carite that the singers chant feels like a living, breathing language and reflects the poetic form that would have existed in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula in the 12th century.
Concept Jasper Charlet
Music Jasper Charlet
Libretto Michèle Delagrange in corporation with Jasper Charlet’s concept and Klaus E. Gjika in a translation to Cariet by Charlet, Gjika and J.D.
Conductor Martijn Dendievel
Coaching Francis Pollet (artistic director), Benoît De Leersnyder (director) and Katherina Lindekens (dramaturg)
Vocal lead Heyra Liesbeth Devos
Vocals, 4 supporting roles, auditioned by students Koninklijk Conservatorium Antwerp
Ensemble of students of the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp with 4 musicians of I SOLISTI
This project is part of I SOLISTI MakerSpace, a development trajectory for young makers.