The singers for the lead roles are confirmed as Gilberto Gil, Teresa Salgueiro, Arnaldo Antunes and Reis.
Choreography and dance by Raghunath Manet.
Director John Dew.
Negro Amor is based on an original classical text of the highest level of Indian poetry.
The translation, in a classical literary form, is married to contemporary music, rich and full of ancient emotions.
The creative vision of the piece is true to the original founding vision of "opera" with a belief and commitment to create a "total work of art", integrating all art forms into an artistic whole: theatre, poetry, music, and dance.
"Negro Amor" is a true crossover project. After doing many projects with Opera singers and Dancers, the idea of combining pop artists, dancers and opera singers thrills me. The added element of crossing cultural boundaries is a challenge. I will try to find unifying elements that will fuse the desperate elements into a new whole.
The Gita-Govinda written by Jayadeva is a lyrical-dramatic poem composed in the India of the 12th Century. This is widely acknowledged to the most important canticle of love of classical Indian literature.
THE LIBRETTO AND TRANSLATION
The libretto is from the recent Portuguese version by Rogério Duarte. He wrote about his work of translation:
“In poetry form and content are inseparable. Knowing this, knowing it would be impossible to reproduce the literal syntax and semantics, sound and rhythm that are so refined in this text, I settled on a translation of feelings, aiming to remake the narrative of the poem in the form of Brazilian popular song instead of a translation that would be formally perfect yet in the end artificial.”
The Gita-Govinda sings of the inexhaustible love adventures of the young Krishna.
First with many girls with “round, smooth, nearly elastic flesh" and then with his beloved favorite among the thousands of brides, Radha.
The basics of every love story – the erotic jealousy, the fantasizing languor, the separation, the thrill of meeting again – speak here in luxuriant images. It is as if every pulse of the feelings explored dilates in the Cosmos, trailing behind it a sumptuous parade of metaphors.
The poem is divided into three parts.
In the first part of Negro Amor we see the embraces of love between Krishna and Radha in the forest of love. Marguerite Yourcenar describes this as “a voluptuous delicacy, the ability to live the divine by the physiological".
In the dazzling moment of their embrace the smallest act of Krishna seems to pulverize any superstitious terror of sensual reality. But then Radha, "more beautiful than the spring" is left alone. Her friend tells her that "the great seducer is among his many lovers embracing without shame".
Radha feels hurt, humiliated and leaves the forest of love, while growing her anger against Krishna. Yet her eyes, furtively, still seek the image of her Beloved.
Meanwhile, Krishna, leaving the other girls, feels an arrow enter in his body. this is the God of Love, which he calls "Negro Amor". He seeks Radha in the forest, without success. Radha's friend tells him "Mad with passion, Radha wanders, sighing for you ... her body lies in a sore fever of love, her heart stifled, crying, raving and seeing mirages."
Krishna asks the friend to bring her back and waits, lonely.
Radha, now that she knows that the loving Krishna waits for her expectantly, begs leave from everyone to return to the forest of love where Krishna mourns her absence.
In the second part of Negro Amor, Radha is alone, wondering if her friends have not lied. She asks why Krishna has not come. Was he attracted to another woman? She has a vision: a group of beautiful young girls having fun with Krishna. In the midst her vision she sings of the pain of jealousy and anger.
The narrator is transformed from author into god - the God Vishnu himself (who is an incarnation of Krishna). He speaks in cosmic metaphors about the sensuality of every part of the body of Krishna and his acts of love.
Radha reponds longingly “only when I meet him again I will be free from the infinite void of his absence”. But then her jealousy returns: “He who lives in me, lies with others!”. In her next song she returns to angry denunciation “I do not want to hear your cynical lies. Be damned! Leave me forever!”.
The narrator, her friend and the friends chorus almost hypnotize Radha like a swarm of bees in her ear “when the wind of spring draws honey do not be so haughty."
Once Vishnu begins a new song Radha listens carefully “He loves you when you hate him; when he looks at you do not look; when he is looking for you, flee”.
Krishna reappears and, with beautiful metaphors, declares his love to Radha.
In the third part of Negro Amor we meet Radha in her hut. She dresses to go and meet Krishna in the flowering bower that he has prepared.
Seeing how brilliantly Krishna shines, adorned with diamonds and gold as he waits for her, Radha stands on the threshold, frozen with fear.
Her friends and the narrator encourage and animate her with verses of dazzling sensuality.
Radha rings the little bells around her ankles, the little sounds penetrating to the silence where Krishna is waiting for her.
At that instant all hidden emotions explode, sweat beads become pearls. Radha, struck by the arrow of love, the Amor Negra, loses all restraint.
At last Krishna sings and Radha sings, verses without shame, as the light of dawn deflowers the virgin night.
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