the tragic story of “Chief Hijangua” It was brought to life in the thrill of soaring vocals, impressive staging and orchestral prowess. Namibian National Theater last Friday.
It was premiered in front of an appreciative audience who gave a standing ovation, some dressed to impress. The German-Namibian production made history as the first Namibian opera.
Sung in Ochiherero and German, the opera opens in a prosperous, peaceful village in a sparkling valley behind mountains of water.
Here, Hijangua has found love, but his lover, Matthijua, is engaged to his brother Guti. Unable to bear Matifa being with others, Hijangua runs away and crosses the wilderness to the sea. There lambs and jackals appeal to the light and darkness of his nature.
When he collapsed from thirst and exhaustion, Hijangua was rescued by a German missionary/pastor and his daughter Maria, who offered Hijangua a home near a military fort where they learned about their people, Christianity, and how guns should be. increase.
Chief Hijangua, directed by Kim Mira Meyer and starring Sakiwe Mukosana (Hijangua), Henrique Henok (Matifa), Galilei Ouajanenisa Njembo (Nuguti), Natasha Njiharine (Maria) and Yonwabo Mbo (Pastor) ‘ is a terrifying story based in Namibia. Beautifully told myth and history.
Providing amazing music to a tale of love, betrayal and the devastating effects of German colonialism, the Namibian National Symphony Orchestra features a remarkable soloist and a dedicated choir (Vox Vitae Singers) for a swell of soul. Moves the mind to provide story and texture within. A moving aria and an evocative ensemble.
From the jubilant sounds of a vibrant Namibian village to the heartbreaking tones of a devastating finale, the music of “Chief Hijangua”, composed by Eslon Vakomboka Hindundu, is opera’s brightest star among stars. .
Attending the premiere of an opera sung at Ochiherero was a majestic and historic experience for all in attendance. ‘Chief Hijangua’ bent the classics towards a contemporary representation of Namibia’s German colonial past, full of the spirit of nature and the sounds of music. African drums surrounded by modern, minimalist staging and costume design.
Although the opera is set in this colonial history, it only provides a prelude to the staggering loss of land, violence, the destruction of families, and the disappearance of indigenous beliefs, customs, and traditions.
But in the libretto and poetic subtitles written by Nicholas Frey, the absurdity of the idea of ”discovering” so-called new lands is clear.
“Mighty ships travel the endless circles of the sea. They go, discover, orbit the world we already know.”
Artfully political and employed masked live quote artist Isabelle Kachabivi’s “They Tried to Bury Us” recalls the Ovaherero and Nama massacres (1904-1908) and the imminent future of the time. is a link to A villager and a German missionary.
Mbo, as a German pastor, offers comical comfort as he laments the Namibian heat and considers a return to Wuppertal and Reinult Tsepo Moagi. An incident that crossed the color bar.
Mondo Masimini as Hangane is the first chief of opera, and his fate is the collapse of the old world and something new that rebels against established cultures that irrevocably transform indigenous communities. It announces the arrival.
A commendable feat by Hindundu in adding something unique to Namibia to the global canon of opera, ‘Chief Hijangua’ enhances the talents of vocal, music and theater production in Namibia, Germany and South Africa while also promoting history, Myths, scenes, symbols of the land we call home.