10 February 2020
Two myths, the East and the West, the worlds of Europe and the Middle East: they seem to be poles apart, yet love within them is equally strong, yearning is equally heart-rending, and death leaves the same void. The Greek myth of Orfeo and Euridice, and the Arabic story of Leila and Majnun, show that although cultures may differ in many ways, human desires and passions are similar wherever you are. This combination and unity are the very backbone of the multistage Orfeo and Majnun social project, during which we will invite the community to dozens of free events, put on an opera together at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, and organise a city parade with fabulous animal dolls made by the participants themselves.
20 March 2020, 7pm
ICE Kraków Congresse Centre
The productions staged in various European cities have attracted a selected group of musicians and soloists, and involved community ensembles and choirs composed of talented music fans. Evidence of the integrative character of Orfeo & Majnun is the fact that the opera’s sonosphere was created by three artists: Moneim Adwan, a French Palestinian composer, musician, and singer (author of the vocal parts sung in Arabic and their co-orchestrator), Howard Moody, who works freely in various styles ranging from jazz to classical, a composer, conductor and pianist (who contributed the choir parts of the opera), and Dick van der Harst, Belgian composer and musician (who was responsible for the “Western” music in the opera, but also worked together with Moneim Adwan on the orchestration of the “oriental” sections). The originator and author of the libretto is Austrian writer and director, Martina Winkel, who shared the artistic vision of the Orfeo & Majnun opera with Airan Berg, an Israeli-Austrian director specialising in large-scale participatory projects.
20 June 2020
Hundreds of people of all ages will build animal dolls and masks designed by Roger Titley, before gathering together on 20 June for a city parade that will accompany the Wianki – Make Music Day – Fête de la Musique! We will be holding doll-making workshops in the Small Market Square before the start of the parade, to animate as many animals as possible for the procession around the Cloth Hall. At a certain stage of the tale, Orfeo and Majnun’s only audience for their music were animals. The joy and peace of this group creates a utopian image of a peaceful society united under a musical spell. Mythical creatures and animals carry a plethora of meanings as they are involved in the ancient myths and legends of various cultures, thanks to which why everyone can relate to them, independent of age and background. Recalling the histories of Orfeo and Majnun is simultaneously an invitation to create figures of animals and other creatures from the world of myth, and to take them to the streets to enjoy together the variety of creation, and the power of poetry and music. Young and old, adults and children, take part in the process of building animal figures, learning their specific moves, and finally participating in a city parade.
Artistic workshops and cultural community events will be conducted throughout the city between January and June. They will be run by professional and experienced visual artists – culture animators – who will work with various social groups and communities drawn from Kraków’s districts. We are open to a broad range of types of workshops, whether comics, dance, cooking, theatre or literature: all means of artistic expression are worth following. We would like the stories of our heroes reach as wide an audience as possible, which is why we will run some of our workshops outside the usual cultural hubs in the centre of Kraków, involving people who find it difficult to access culture in their daily lives. June will be the month of Orfeo and Majnun as once the workshops are over, we have planned a series of shows in various urban spaces to showcase what they produced. In squares, parks, and on bridges, we will show the people of Kraków how inspiring mythical love can be today. We want this series of workshops to mark the start of the urban laboratory: a creative space that will impact integration and the social development of local people with the use of cultural tools.