The 16th Sacrum Profanum Festival opens on 11 September. During the week-long festival, we will hear dozens of Polish and world premieres, with the finale featuring the opera ahat ilī – Sister of Gods. Tickets are already on sale at Eventim.pl
ahat ilī – Sister of Gods opera, specially commissioned from Alek Nowak and with an original libretto by Olga Tokarczuk. It’s the first ever opera with a libretto by this acclaimed, popular author.
ahat ilī – Sister of Gods will be the culmination of this year’s Sacrum Profanum Festival. The unique work was created by an extraordinary ensemble of artists: the music was composed by Alek Nowak, the libretto was penned by Olga Tokarczuk and the performance is directed by Pia Partum, with sets designed by Magdalena Maciejewska. “Although most of the characters in the story are gods, the protagonist is a man and his godly and ungodly nature,” says the Silesian composer. Nowak’s musical language is brought together by a highly distinctive idiom, intertwining different aesthetics and inspirations; we can hear nods to tradition, as well as the latest composition techniques.
The libretto is loosely based on Olga Tokarczuk’s novel Anna In w grobowcach świata. “Myths describe events which have never happened, but which are also always happening. The tale of the mutinous goddess who descends to the underworld to confront her own sister, the mistress of death, is one of humankind’s oldest stories, filled with presages of many later myths. This ancient legend has been asking pertinent and universal questions as far back as five millennia ago: questions on immortality, on the relationship between gods and humankind, on sacrifice. The captivating, audacious goddess Inanna remains surprisingly modern,” says Tokarczuk, stressing the universal themes in the opera. The director Pia Partum adds, “Death remains our unvanquished enemy. Humankind has always strived to overcome it. The cosmos – eternal, merciless order which provokes revolt. Humans have always revolted against their gods. Here, the ancient Sumerian tale carved into clay takes place at an unspecified point in the future, in a strange, futuristic city. The incomprehensibility of the intertwining languages which tell the story serves to stress its universal nature and the validity of the desires which drive it.”
Originally written in Polish, the opera will be performed in several languages: modern English for the human characters, and selected ancient languages – Acadian, Latin, ancient Greek, Proto-Slavic and Aztec – for the gods and demons.
We are delighted to reveal the dates of the festival finale, but this is just the start of our announcements of the Sacrum Profanum programme. The premiere of ahat ilī – Sister of Gods will be a pivotal moment for contemporary Polish music. We will be revealing the soloists and performers soon, followed by announcements on other elements of the festival programme.
Tickets are already on sale!