This opera project, which started in Burkina Faso in 2019, took four years to finally reach completion. During this period, two coups took place in Burkina Faso. Currently, under the leadership of the world's youngest president, Ibrahim Traoré, national sentiment is running high as the country aims to create a new national structure and achieve true independence from postcolonialism.
Our opera aims to convey to the people of other parts of the world through poetry, songs, and music a part of the sentiments of the people of Burkina Faso who are seeking 
true independence and peace at this important time in history. 
We are finally going to perform on international stages, starting with the Osaka World Expo.

Moyi MBOURANGON, who won first place in the writing competition "Dis-moidix mots"   sponsored by the French Congo Institute in 2011, has been active as a rapper for many years.  Not finding satisfaction within this artistic form, he sought a new realm of expression and embarked on his first full-length novel.  I am making an opera based upon that novel.
  Moyi naturally thinks in Lingala -his mother tongue- but writes in French.
  In the French-speaking countries of Africa, various local languages are actively spoken, and most people are multilingual rather than bilingual.  However, the spread of education is still insufficient, and many people do not understand the official language of Burkina Faso, French.
  Moyi's creation, which is extremely sensitive and conscious in this special language environment, is very attractive and alluring; and the following three points are expected to emerge upon making it into an opera.
  1. The unique linguistic sense and thinking processes of Africa are expressed in French, opening up a new horizon in the French language.
  2. When the original French text is translated into an African language other than Moyi's mother tongue, Lingala, a variant is created from subtle differences found within African ethnic sensations and customs.
  3. When these become the lyrics of the opera, they will be united with the expression of music, which transcends language, and we may, in part, be released from the yoke of the verbalization of consciousness, in the process, regaining the original richness of consciousness.  
  I would also like to add that the content of the novel itself is Moyi's autobiographical work in a way, which is sufficient to stimulate and promote the interest and understanding of European and Japanese people in African society. 


Opera Summary from the performance in 2022

For the opening scene of the opera, we witness Liso arriving in Burkina Faso.  As a child, Liso knew a refugee, Uncle Bosco, who had escaped from Angola, but he never imagined that one day he too would become a refugee.

Une fleur, un coeur et un poing (A flower, a heart and a fist)

The dream that he had, after he fled, exhausted, and fell asleep, was about the death of his father, which occurred when he was yet very young. As soon as his family received news that his father, who lived far away, had died, his two paternal uncles and an aunt expelled Liso, along with his mother and brother, from their house. That painful memory traumatised Liso.

Là-bas ou ici… (There or here)

 Enduring a harsh life in a foreign country, the sound of the sea echoes in his ears, although there is no sea in this country, and he reminisces, whilst watching the passing women, immersed in the fragments of memories of his mother.

Mama n’aime pas les termes des mindele (Mother doesn’t like the white men’s terms)

 Whilst raising Liso, his mother worked every day selling food. She talked about beings called "white masks - black skin." These are white-educated black-skinned children, educated in schools built by whites. This scenario carries with it both pros and cons — one idea of ​​them being bright stars of hope, who will create a better future for the country, and another idea of ​​them being traitors to their ancestors. Whichever of these may be true, she says, remains uncertain.

 The comedian ironically discusses the state of the people living in a situation of civil war, and various rumours about the abhorrent treatment of those who undergo illegal clandestine abortions.

Bimôgôg ya (The behaviour of people these days)

 In the song that follows, he mourns the distrust amongst people, that sometimes even relatives and siblings are doubtful and skeptical of each other, and sings that they can never be completely sure about the true nature of the society in which they dwell.

Mer… (Sea…)

La Benjamin malgré lui… (Benjamin, in spite of himself)

 In his refugee life, he is always thinking of his mother, whom he left behind in their hometown. If he were to return to his country, in its current situation, he would immediately be arrested, and therefore has no idea when they will again be able to reunite. He sings his poems, expressing his feelings for her. On his last night in Congo, wanted by the police, he visited his mother in the darkness to say goodbye to her, and then, whilst fleeing his hometown on a bus, his first poem was written.

Mimaho dimigna lé (Do you observe the world?)

 Suddenly the phone rings and he receives the bad news. This scene is a real-life story of the singer Maboudou, not Liso. There was a terrorist attack at Inata in November which left his cousin missing. We still don't know if he is alive or dead, but even the slightest hope begins to fade as the days pass. Is this a world dominated by murderers?!?

Petite fleur à la peau huile de palme… (Little flower on the palm-oiled skin)

 After the blackout, the memory of his younger sister, who died of malaria at a very young age, is sung, together with memories of the sweet scent of gently falling rain. The feeling of shock at losing her is still vivid within him, as though it happened yesterday, even though 30 years has since passed by. During the interlude, the comedian speculates as to who her father was. The church priest is the most likely candidate ...

La paix (The peace)

 The song for peace is a common cry heard throughout all Africa.

 His mother's words echo in his ears: ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’ Demain la Terre… (Tomorrow the Earth)

Encouraged by this, he projects his beliefs into tomorrow and continues walking.

Sebeko (Papers)

 The final song invites all the public onto the stage!  Let’s dance together! 


*The opera story is based on “L’Aube d’un avenir avorté…” written by Moyi MBOURANGON aca Martial Pa’nucci and all song texts were taken from it except Bimôgô Ya, La paix and Sebeko. Those texts were written by Maboudou Sanou. 

Early history of the project

In 2019, I met Francis Kéré, a world-famous architect from Burkina Faso, in Germany and heard about Village d'Opera initiated by Austrian director Christoph Schringenzief.  Ten years ago, the site complex was built in proximity Ouagadougou, with the dream of creating a new opera, never before seen, through a collaboration between Africa and Europe.  It was named Village d'Opera.

However, shortly after the commencement of construction, Shurigenszief passed away, and the opera house, which was planned to be built in the center of the site, seems to have no prospect of its construction being completed.

I told Francis, outside the opera house, that it ougt to be a priority to complete at least one opera, in collaboration with Africans, to be performed at the site - an opera that befits into the African climate, music, and culture as a whole, and suggested to him that it is appropriate to imagine an opera house based on the accumulation of those experiences.  Outdoor performances are possible in Burkina Faso's climate. 

Francis whole-heartedly agreed with me, and is also very attracted to the idea of producing operas in collaboration with Japan, not being limited to only European interest. We planned to create and perform the first opera in Gando, Francis' home village where, together with the community, he built a school.

That's why I originally visited Burkina Faso in July 2018, visited Gando and the school, and started interacting with people.  However, not only because of Covid-19, but also the necessity for myself to learn African traditional music and culture, I began the opera project in the capital city, Ouagadougou, with African traditional music heirs (people called griots) instead of at the school in Gando. 

Finally, I can communicate in the local language (Moore).  A collaboration with griots is in progress, and on April 23, the first act of the new opera will be announced at the local Institut Français.  So far, I've personally financed the making of an album with griots, and played small concerts.  Despite a lack of funds and the hardships of the influence of Covid-19, I spend as much time as I can learning from the African people, providing them new elements from myself, and sharing in the joy of creation together.

 After all, Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, and I was, at first shocked by the impoverished way people live, but gradually gotten used to it, and even built myself a modest house, a home. Now I am producing opera whilst living life in the same ways as, and side-by-side with the local people.