Launch of St Kilda - A European Opera
01 March 2007
01 March 2007
Live performances in each venue will be set against a backdrop of a vertigo-inducing film of the French vertical dance company Retouramont performing a dramatic aerial ballet suspended from the Hebridean cliffs. This film was shot by Keith Partridge of Touching the Void and recently won the Innovation Award at the 2006 Kendall Mountain Film Festival against 300 entries from 26 countries. The result is nothing short of stunning.
This international celebration of St Kilda achieved the maximum grant of €885,000 from the European Commission’s Culture 2000 fund towards an overall budget of over €2 million from the 5 participating countries. Scotland’s Gaelic Arts Agency – Proiseact nan Ealan (PNE) - is the lead partner in the consortium which has attracted a total of €1.6 million from European sources and additional support from the Scottish Arts Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, EventScotland, Gaelic Media Services, Bord Na Gaidhlig, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar and others.
The Scottish Executive, this week announced an award of €150,000 with Patricia Ferguson, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Leisure commenting: “This innovative project will offer audiences across Europe an insight into a fascinating chapter in Scotland’s history, which has been treated here to a fresh interpretation for theatre-goers in the 21st century.
“St Kilda is a first for the Gaelic language and culture – a European opera, which will greatly increase the profile of the language at home and abroad and importantly, demonstrates that Gaelic has an important contribution to make to mainstream Scottish and European arts today.
"Gaelic is a valuable part of Scotland's heritage and culture, and for this reason the Executive is committed to ensuring its status is secured in the future.”
With contemporary music composed by Jean-Paul Dessy and David Graham, traditional Gaelic singers in each venue, script and libretto written by Iain Finlay Macleod, dramaturgy by Thierry Poquet, film contributions from Gilles Combet and Nadege de Peganow and creative direction by Lew Bogdan and Malcolm Maclean, ‘St Kilda’ - or ‘Mac-Talla Nan Eun’, to give it its Gaelic title – it is a genuinely international experience.
Producer Lew Bogdan, of Le Phenix in France said : ‘‘ June will see the culmination of a dream I had five years ago. That dream has grown into this hugely ambitious work of major European significance, which has been fulfilled only through the hard work, dedication and joint working of our European partners - doing it together!’
His co-producer Malcolm Maclean, of Proiseact nan Ealan in Scotland said: ‘ St Kilda is the UK’s only UNESCO double World Heritage Site. Its isolated location and unique cultural and natural heritage make it a wonderful subject. The simultaneous performances in five countries break new ground in creative collaboration, live theatrical connectivity and the resurgence of the Gaelic arts.
The ‘St Kilda’ event reconnects the ancient Celtic heartlands of Hallstatt in central Europe with the continent’s extreme outer reaches. It also reminds us that the Celtic languages, such as Gaelic, were once heard all across Europe and retain a fascination for European audiences. It is a privilege to work on a project of this scale and quality.”