(Photo: Vintage)

Starting on Friday, Bogota will host some of the most tragic and beautiful music ever written as part of the 16th annual “Opera Festival in the Park.” 

The event begins on Friday November 1 and will run until Monday 11th, with the headlining event being a free performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. The performance will take place on Sunday at 2 PM in the Metropolitan Park. The Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Enrique Diemecke, will accompany baritone Rodrigo Esteves, soprano Indra Thomas and tenor Jonathan Boyd, who will bring international stardom to the tragic opera by the celebrated English composer.

The opera will also be performed on Friday and Saturday at 7 PM  in the Teatro Mayor.

“Without doubt it will be a concert to evoke thoughts of peace in Colombia,” said event organizer Marisol Contreras of the story of the War Requiem, which uses poems by the most famous poet of the First World War, Wilfred Owen, to tell the story of the despair and tragedy of war, and the post-war reconciliation of European nations to honor the victims of World War II. It premiered on May 30, 1962, at the new Coventry Cathedral in England, the old one having been destroyed by bombing during the war.

Colombia has suffered from a 49-year internal conflict, although peace talks between the government and the country’s largest rebel group FARC – which began on November 18, 2012 – have shown some promise of bringing an end to the bloodshed. On the title page of the War Requiem Britten quoted Owen:

My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity…
All a poet can do today is warn.

The festival also boasts an opera adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, featuring three performances in different locations across the city over the week.

An adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker will also be performed by Spanish outfit Per Poc, using marionettes and shadow techniques to tell the timeless story.

The event heralds itself as “opera for everyone,” boasting a multitude of family-friendly events and opera theater workshops aimed at children.

Opera Festival in the Park Program


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