الملك Hamed und الأميرة Sherifa
Children’s opera for three soloists
and instrumental ensemble
Libretto by Ina Karr and Anselm Dalferth
King Hamed is furious: because he is disappointed with his wife, he banishes all women from his kingdom – except his mother. But Princess Sherifa refuses to stand for such nonsense. Disguised as Prince Sherif, she travels to Hamed’s kingdom and makes friends with him. Hamed likes his new friend very much, and is increasingly confused by what he feels: Is Sherif really a man? And how do you actually tell what is typically male and what is female? The Lebanese composer and sculptor Zad Moultaka asks the audience the question of masculinity and femininity through his music, too, because all the roles in the children’s opera, which premiered in 2015, are sung by three men. Moultaka’s score, written for an ensemble of oboe, bassoon, double bass and two percussionists, is a fascinating and humorous blend of European musical theatre tradition with its “Western” music and traditional Lebanese music.
Introduction to the work 30 minutes before curtain-up on 8 and 13 April
King Hamed returns from the war to find that his wife has been unfaithful to him. He immediately banishes all women from the country, allowing only his mother to remain. Princess Sherifa refuses to stand for such nonsense. She disguises herself as a man and secretly gains access to the court where she wins the King’s trust. Hamed becomes unsure of himself: Is this handsome young gentleman really a man? Sherifa passes every trial designed to test true manliness: at the bazaar she is keen to try out weapons, she shows no mercy to prisoners and any seasoned robber chief would be floored by the hotness of her food.
When Hamed finally tries to discover the naked truth by inviting Sherifa to the beach for a swim, he finds his “buddy” has suddenly disappeared across the ocean. Until Hamed is able to take his unmasked Sherifa in his arms and women are again allowed to enter his kingdom, he (and the audience) has plenty of time to think about what masculinity and femininity really mean.