Music by Paul Davies, libretto by Daniel Helfgot
During Summer/2021, the Aquilon Music Festival will pre-premiere OURLAND, an opera in two acts and 12 scenes recently composed by Paul Davies with libretto by Daniel Helfgot. Ourland is a dystopian country where many societies can easily find themselves reflected. It is the story of Othien, a young man who was born across the border and now lives in Ourland with his adoptive parents and their daughter Landsis. Othien is being scrutinized by a military Doctor, a Churchman, and a Policewoman. Eventually, a Foreign Woman, Othien’s birth mother, crosses the border to see her estranged son and reveals that he is the fruit of her relationship with Othien’s father. The truth comes out too late to prevent the unfortunate outcome.
OURLAND was created with the idea that the power of the "singing theater" can express the life and death consequences of bigotry, the angst provoked by the suspicion, resentment, and hate of the foreigner. Daniel Helfgot, being from Argentina, a country endemically sick with bigotry, saw that there was an opera waiting to be written, an opera about the intolerance towards the ‘other’, the foreigner, the different, the minorities. OURLAND is Helfgot's second major opera libretto.
With his first opera, CARLOTA, Empress of Mexico, Paul Davies’ had addressed the issue of a foreign power intruding in the lives of Mexicans, utilizing a musical idiom that was right to flesh out the tragedy of someone transplanted into an intolerant populace. His own Mexican heritage gives Mr. Davies the tools to express cross-cultural scenarios as he does again in OURLAND, a Dystopian State.