Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904) was an explorer, nomad, journalist, novelist, passionate romantic, Sufi, and one of the most unique and unusual women of her era. At age twenty, after the death of her mother, brother and father, she left her life in Switzerland for a nomadic and unfettered existence in the deserts of North Africa. She traveled extensively through the desert on horseback, often dressed as a man, relentlessly documenting her travels through detailed journals. At age twenty-seven Isabelle drowned in a flash flood in the desert. Song from the Uproar uses texts inspired by her writing to immerse the audience in the surreal landscapes of Isabelle's life; she describes the death of her family, the thrill of her arrival in Africa, her tentative joy at falling in love, the elation of self-discovery and the mystery of death.
In 2007, Mazzoli wrote the libretto alongside Royce Vavrek that shares “universal themes of her story – how much [Eberhardt’s] struggles, her questions, her passions, mirrored those of women throughout the 20th and 21st century. Isabelle made a great effort to define herself as an independent woman under extreme circumstances. She dressed as a man, seeing this as the only way to move freely and live the life of her choice. She let herself fall deeply in love but struggled to maintain her independent lifestyle.” (source)
The Kassia Ensemble, opera singer and producer Amanda Van Story Lewis, and DEMASKUS Theater Collective will perform the reimagined and all female presentation of Missy Mazzoli’s groundbreaking opera. This production is a collaboration intended to illuminate the importance women overcoming barriers in the performing arts who are seeking leadership opportunities, equal pay, and equal representation as producers, directors, writers, performers, and composers.
This unique performance of the acclaimed opera celebrates the lived experiences of women and people of color who create their own narratives, and who also serve to enhance the sharing of all stories by adding texture to the landscape of the entire system of arts and cultural production.