Requiem for Aleppo is a new production bringing together 12 dancers from across the world. The original music is a combination of Requiem Mass lyrics set to choral music, linked by Arabic poetry from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. This represents the richness and diversity of Aleppo’s musical heritage. The score is interwoven throughout with people from Aleppo telling their stories. The voices are from young and old and represent all parts of society. Their testament is designed to get to the human tragedy beyond the politics.
AN APPEAL TO OUR COMMON HUMANITY,
AN EXPRESSION OF GRIEF ARTICULATED IN MOVEMENT, SONG AND TESTIMONY.
IT IS A REFUSAL TO PLAY SILENT WITNESS TO A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS.
About The Production
Ensuring Aleppo remains in the public consciousness
Requiem for Aleppo is an intensely personal response by the creator and composer David Cazalet to the tragedy of Aleppo. Below is David’s opening speech for our premiere at Sadler’s Wells, April 2017.
Aleppo as remembered by Aleppans
– Ben Faccini, Writer in Charge of Testimony
“I didn’t know what to expect when I started collecting the real-life testimonies of former residents of Aleppo for the Requiem, but the more people I interviewed the more the city grew in my mind, until I felt like I really understood what it used to be like for all those who once lived there.
Some days I could almost taste, smell and see Aleppo through the words of those I interviewed. Most of all what struck me throughout all the many interviews was how daily life in Aleppo, until the violence began, was pretty similar to life in Europe, and how the descent into armed conflict changed everything from one day to the next.
As Ahmad said to me: “If you were living in Aleppo, it was not that different from London.” And Ruqueya, who now lives in eastern Turkey, summed that up further: “I was a university student. I had many plans for my life, I had plans for ten years. I was planning to have a car, a nice home, maybe meet someone and marry, and be stable in my life. And all this changed in a day.”
If there is one thing I hope we achieved with the Requiem, it is to help people understand that no-one chooses to flee their home without good reason, and that exile is not some abstract issue.
An honest response to the tragedy unfolding in Syria
– Jason Mabana, Choreographer
‘Requiem for Aleppo has been an exciting and challenging piece to make. We only had only 3 and a half weeks to create the show with 12 dancers of different nationalities, who did not know each other, who speak different languages, who have never worked together before. It was incredible to see how each dancer brought a different part of their personality to the piece – it really is a true coming together of many different spirits, cultures and backgrounds to form one coherent piece.
It has been an enormous pleasure to work with such a group – having chosen them from well over 500 applicants for the first audition. All the dancers have worked incredibly hard and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the time they have put in and the love they have given this project. This piece, for me, represents love, community, and simplicity. I believe that a message is easier to communicate when it is simple. I would describe the work as my simple honest response to what I feel when I hear, read or see what is happening in Syria’.
ONGOING FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Via National and International touring to serve as an ongoing means of channelling money to Syrian causes.
TO ACT AS A REMINDER
Now and ongoing, of the suffering of a people and what the world has lost
GIVE VOICE TO THE PEOPLE OF ALEPPO
The testimony which interpolates the music will be spoken by people from Aleppo, telling some part of their lives, their memory. In the words of one witness .. ‘ Aleppo is no more, all that is left are its stories’.
To bring together people as the world becomes increasingly polarised.
To act as an ongoing vehicle through performance, social media and crowdsourcing for people to support what the UN has termed ‘the largest humanitarian crisis of a generation’