Thurs 13 July 2017, 7.30pm
Pre-concert talk, 6.15pm
Available to ticket holders only
LSO St Luke’s
Shubbak joins forces with The Royal Opera and Abu Dhabi Festival to present works by composers from the Arab world.
This evening in two parts will share and celebrate short works by five composers, centring on the premiere of scenes from Bushra El-Turk’s new opera Woman at Point Zero.
Woman at Point Zero is based on the seminal novel by Egyptian author, feminist and doctor Nawal El Saadawi – an allegorical tale of historical female oppression in Egypt that questions what true freedom and empowerment can mean for women today.
Preceding extracts of Woman at Point Zero are the UK premieres of chamber works by the four participants of The Royal Opera and Shubbak’s inaugural Arab Composer Residency programme: Amir ElSaffar (Iraq/US), Nadim Husni (Syria/Poland), Bahaa El-Ansary (Egypt) and Nabil Benabdeljalil (Morocco).
Woman at Point Zero
The novel which this work is based on, Woman at Point Zero, is developed from Nawal el Saadawi’s encounter with a woman called Firdaus in a prison in Cairo while Saadawi was researching neuroses in female prisoners. Firdaus has been sentenced to death for murder. She agrees to tell Saadawi her story, her upbringing in rural Egypt, her schooling, her arranged marriage to an old man, how she ran away from him, became a prostitute and, through this, even a rich and influential woman, and eventually killed her old pimp in self-defence. The novel explores subjects such as women’s freedom and rights, patriarchal societies and FGM. Despite the bleak subject matter, the novel is ultimately a celebration of a woman of extraordinary strength and dignity, who, paradoxically, found a sense of freedom and peace in prison.
Produced in partnership with The Royal Opera. The development phase of Woman at Point Zero has been commissioned by Shubbak with Abu Dhabi Festival with support from The Royal Opera and Snape Maltings and PRS for Music Foundation. Additional support from British Council for presenting Bahaa Al-Ansary and Jerwood Charitable Foundation.