Desdemona - Barbican Hall
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
DESDEMONA, a collaboration between Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré and director Peter Sellars, receives its UK premiere at the Barbican on Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20, 2012.
In response to Peter Sellars’ 2009 staging of Othello, Rokia Traoré and Toni Morrison (women of African and African-American origin) have created a work inspired by an ‘invisible’ character from one of Shakespeare’s most racially charged plays: Desdemona’s African nurse Barbary.
Moving beyond centuries of colonialism and racism, the two characters share stories, songs and hope for a different future, against a backdrop of African and Western musical textures.
Traoré herself sings the role of Barbary and the part of Desdemona is played by actress Tina Benko, who performed the role in the production in Paris, Berlin, New York and Berkeley.
Desdemona is commissioned by the Barbican; Wiener Festwochen; Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers; Cal Performances, Berkeley (California); Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York; spielzeit’europa I Berliner Festspiele; Arts Council England and London 2012 Festival.
Desdemona is part of the World Shakespeare Festival and part of London 2012 Festival.
Pre-performance talk by Peter Sellars in the Barbican Hall on Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20 at 6.30pm.
Post-performance talk by Peter Sellars and Rokia Traoré in the Barbican Hall on Thursday, July 19.
NB: The talks are free to all ticket holders.
For more information call the box office on 0845 120 7550 or visit www.barbican.org.uk/.