by Toni Morrison, Peter Sellars and Rokia Traore. Featuring Tina Benko

19 - 20 July 2012 / 19:30

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Watch Toni Morrison and Peter Sellars in conversation about Desdemona

The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is re-imagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, acclaimed opera director Peter Sellars and Malian singer songwriter Rokia Traoré, featuring actress Tina Benko

Morrison's response to Sellars' 2009 production of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. Morrison gives voice and depth to the female characters, letting them speak and sing in the fullness of their hearts.

Directed by Peter Sellars, with original songs by Rokia Traoré, who performs the role of Barbary, the interweaving of African and Western melodies intensifies the intimacy of the evening with delicate, probing and gently luminous tones.

‘A rare and delicate show that shines a new light on Shakespeare’s tragedy.’ La Croix (France)

‘The often meditative music gives the piece poetic depth.’ Wiener Zeitung (Austria)

‘Traore’s rich and mesmerizing voice, regal bearing and fluid movement has enchanted critics.’ New York Times

Peter Sellars will give a pre-performance talk in the Barbican Hall from 6.30pm on 19 & 20 Jul.

Post-show talk
Peter Sellars and Rokia Traoré will give a post-performance talk in the Babrican Hall directly after the performance on Thu 19 Jul.

Part of World Shakespeare Festival

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Part of London 2012 Festival
Part of Summer Music 2012

Desdemona is commissioned by the Barbican; Wiener Festwochen; Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers; Cal Performances, Berkeley (California); Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York; spielzeit'europa I Berliner Festspiele; Arts Council England and London 2012 Festival.

Barbican Contemporary Music
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