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Work of the Week – Chaya Czernowin: Zaïde / Adama

An impossible love in the midst of an eternal war: with Zaïde / Adama by Chaya Czernowin, Theater Aachen has added an opera to its programme that takes place against the backdrop of the resurgent conflict in the Middle East. The premiere will take place on 27 April 2024 under the direction of Chanmin Chung and Mathis Groß. The director is Ran Chai Bar-zvi.

Zaïde / Adama are actually two incomplete operas that complement each other to form one work. Zaïde was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who in 1779 posed the question of the possibilities of a dialogue between Occident and Orient. It is a kind of tragic version of the Abduction from the Seraglio, which ends happily. Zaïde was never completed and remained a fragment. The overture, the dialogues and the finale are missing - the ending is open.

Zaïde / Adama von Chaya Czernowin: Love between Israel and Palestine

With Adama , Czernowin has added a work with modern orchestral accompaniment to Mozart's unfinished singspiel Zaïde . While Mozart's work is about a European couple in Turkish captivity, Adama is about the love of an Israeli woman for a Palestinian man.

The lovers themselves speak two different languages and encounter each other as strangers. Adama is not a completion of Mozart's fragment and the work Zaïde / Adama is not a closed whole. Rather, Adama is about entering into correspondence and contradiction with an unfinished historical work. The two works interpenetrate and alternate again and again. The different musical levels are interwoven and enter into a dialogue. This sonic co-operation and opposition opens up the possibility of listening to the other musical cosmos with new ears or discovering unexpected similarities.

It depresses me when people are harassed by a nationalistic doctrine that kills all humane impulses.Or when the masses have the power to destroy an individual.If you want to obey the voice of the community against your own individual needs, then you are lost.This was a very important reason for me to compose Adama - especially at this time. (Chaya Czernowin)

Four days before the premiere, on 23 April 2024, Theater Aachen invites you to the "Work in Progress" format, during which parts of the piece will be performed and the composer Chaya Czernowin and the director Ran Chai Bar-zvi will talk to the audience. Zaïde / Adama can be seen in Aachen in six performances until 22 June 2024.

Further Reading:

Chaya Czernowin: Composer Profile 

Zaïde / Adama: Work Details and Online Score

Website Theater Aachen

photo: Theater Aachen / Matthias Baus


Head of Promotion | Concert Opera Media Division

Schott Music Mainz :: Work of the Week, Composers and Repertoire