THE VILLAGER’S OPERA
A story of thwarted love, set in Lebanon, told through typical dance and music of the Caracalla Dance Theatre, “the king of the musical theatre world in the Middle East.”
The inaugural show at this year’s Rimini Meeting is an exceptional event. Directly from Lebanon, the Caracalla Dance Theatre Company presents “The Villager’s Opera.”
More than 50 dancers, actors, and singers from around the world will be onstage, with costumes rich in colors and glittering accessories, scenery that is both modern and Baroque, and intoxicating, intriguing music. The Lebanese company has been called “the king of the musical theater world in the Middle East,” and it arrives at the Meeting with a universal theme – the love between two young people and the conflict between their families. The result is a spectacle of great emotional and popular impact, rich in details and simple in its narration, as it strives to speak to audiences from all countries. Caracalla is also a dance school, open 12 hours a day, which draws around 1,600 children of different ages, traditions, and religions.
The Villager’s Opera: The Plot
The village square is a meeting place where the spirit of the city is concentrated, and where the rhythm of life is such that the old and new generations meet and mix.
A quarrel has divided the village into two distinct zones. While village elder Cheikh Finianos attempts to resolve all the conflict, citizen Sitt Handoume, in his thirst for power, hopes to give his daughter Leila in marriage to Faldo, the naïve but rich son of Bou Faldo, a member of the bourgeoisie who continues to fancy himself a noble… Meanwhile, the valiant young Mezyan – in love with Leila, who loves him in return – attempts to impede the marriage at all costs. However, the girl’s disapproving parents do all they can to block his efforts.
On the day of Leila and Faldo’s wedding, the unthinkable happens – a scandal that could destroy the marriage and reawaken the spirits of the population. But the solution to the conflict will be found in love which, at the end of any respectable fairytale, triumphs over all…
Caracalla Dance Theatre
In 1968, Abdel-Halim Caracalla founded what would eventually evolve into the first and most important professional dance theater in the Middle East, creating a language of bodily expression based on the disciplines of the dance of Martha Graham and combined with Arabic heritage, thus creating a unique “Caracalla dance style.”
The Caracalla Dance Theatre began its career in 1972, appearing at the Osaka International Festival in Japan with its first real production, Mystery of the Bizarre, followed by the world tour of The Black Tents (1978), a production that marked a turning point for the company by earning it the recognition of the international press. This success paved the way for its subsequent shows Shot of Glory (1980), Taming of the Shrew (1982), and Echoes (1985).
Inspired by Shakespeare, An Oriental Midsummer Night’s Dream (1990) found success with audiences and represented another key turning point in the company’s artistic journey.
Caracalla Dance Theatre has performed in the most prestigious theaters and cultural centers in the world, including the Osaka National Theater, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, the Frankfurt Opera Theater, the opera theaters in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the Center for the Arts in Los Angeles, and the Place des Arts in Montreal, in addition to numerous other sites and festivals throughout the world.
Caracalla has attracted the attention of the media throughout the world, including the Daily Telegraph, the Washington Post, the Evening Standard, and the Sunday Telegraph, which recognized in the company an original form of dance that reveals a rich and mysterious Orient harmonized with Western techniques.