The Golden Stool
or the story of Nana Yaa Asantewaa
In this AfrOpera, Gorges Ocloo pays tribute to Nana Yaa Asantewaa. Around 1900, she takes the lead in resisting the troops of the British Empire. Along with the women's brigade she founded, she held out for a year in a battle for the 'Golden Stool', throne and pride of the then Asher Empire in Ghana, where Ocloo's roots also lie.
The Asante had been slaughtered for years in the hunt for timber, gold and cocoa. The industrial revolution in distant England demands resources, many resources, like a hungry beast. The claiming of the Golden Stool by the British was the last straw for Nana Yaa Asantewaa and her women. The Golden Stool must not leave the country!
Ten women, including soprano Nobulumko Mngxekeza-Nziramasanga and mezzo-soprano Nonkululeko Nkwinti sing, perform and dance the story of Nana Yaa Asantewaa and her courageous struggle. They do so to the tones of famous arias from the classical Western opera repertoire, which Gorges Ocloo has appropriated for the occasion and mixed with influences from African classical music. Handel, Bizet, Shostakovich, Verdi, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Orff,... they are all there. The opera is the portrait of the radical woman who nevertheless got the last word.
"Rarely do we see a performance with such a sense of experimentation and urgency. And who can say he single-handedly put a new musical genre on the map?" — De Standaard
"Ocloo has filled every inch of the stage with dance and every cubic metre of air with sound. All the stops are pulled out in this enthusiastic and charming performance that recalls a quote by Puerto Rican rapper Residente: "with Ocloo, you eat even when you are not hungry." – Etcetera
• As a multidisciplinary artist, Gorges Ocloo's track record is diverse from modern dance, performance, community arts, visual arts and scenography to composing music for theatre and dance. He has in recent years been at Kaaitheater years the musical performances Moby Dick, at last Queequeg speaks (2021) and The Butcher (2022).
concept, direction, libretto, composition, set design & costumes Gorges Ocloo | soprano Nobulumko Mngxekeza-Nziramasanga | mezzosoprano Nonkululeko Nkwinti | choir, dance & percussion Doris Bokongo Nkumu, Nathalie Bokongo Nkumu, Gloria Abena Biney, Titilayo Oliha, Saar-Niragire De Groof, Briana Stuart, Maïmouna Badjie & Somalia Williamson | advice choir composition & choir master Joris Minten | co-libretto & dramaturgy Josse De Pauw | musical advice Katherina Lindekens | assistant director Chiara Monteverde | costume design Kasia Mielczarek | execution set & costumes Atelier Toneelhuis | light Pino Etz & Gilles Roosen | sound Victor Hidaldo | video technics Wim Piqueur | video recordings Gorges Ocloo | audio recordings Isa Tubbax | production manager Eva De Wolf & Noor De Graaf | production LOD muziektheater & Toneelhuis | coproduction Opera Ballet Vlaanderen & O. Festival Rotterdam | with the support of enoa & the Creative Europe Programme, the tax shelter measure by the Belgian Federal Government | tax shelter partner Flanders tax shelter | with thanks to Lukas Vanhoutte, Naomi Lampariello, Peter King, Wilhelmina Donkoh, The Queen Mother of Ejisu, The Women Commission Office of the Koforidua Technical University