THE OKAVANGO MACBETH
A chamber opera with a libretto by Alexander McCall Smith. Set in the Botswana Okavango Delta, it tells a story of the struggle for power among competing baboons in their matriarchal society - thus drawing parallels with the Macbeth story.
Male Primatologist (baritone),
Assistant (baritone, can also sing Duncan),
Female Primatologist (soprano),
Lady Macbeth (soprano),
Lady Macbeths friend (mezzo-soprano),
Chorus (with solos).
Piano accompaniment OR Nine-piece chamber group (comprising 2 x violins, viola, violoncello, bass/bass guitar, piano/harmonium, saxophone, horn in F and percussion).
The idea for this opera came when Alexander McCall Smith was on a wildlife safari holiday with friends in Botswana's Okavango Delta. He says: "I knew that there were two distinguished American primatologists, Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth, in the region who had spent some years researching baboon behaviour. I asked our river guide if he could take our boat across to where they worked. I had read their remarkable book (Baboon Metaphysics) which looks at how baboons view the world. I was struck by the hierarchical nature of baboon society and by the status and role of powerful females. It seemed to me that the essential elements of the Macbeth story could well be told in the context of baboon society. I sounded out the composer, Tom Cunningham, and we decided that this was a theme worthy of opera."
First performed on 3rd October 2009 at the No.1 Ladies Opera House, Gaborone, Botswana
Vocal scores and the full score and parts for the chamber group accompaniment are also available on hire from Goodmusic.
Before staging this work, a performing licence must be obtained from Goodmusic.
Duration 90 minutes
CLICK HERE to visit the Okavango Macbeth website
A selection of songs from the opera is also available - see GM135
A CD recording of the opera is available on Delphian DCD34096