A poet weeps and rages among the abandoned ruins of their beloved city. 2500 years later their words still cry out a haunting requiem to the devastation and dispossession that ravages the lives of refugees.
LAMENTATION is a contemporary-classical chamber cantata presented by actor counter-tenor Glenn McKenzie. Created for Refugee Week 2019, this meditation on loss and grief features three 'Lessons of Darkness' from the ancient book of 'Ekah!' based on a celebrated setting by Baroque composer Francois Couperin. The voices of Shakespeare, Bonhoeffer, and Annie Lennox frame his music to connect us throughout time and across culture with all those who have suffered the devastation of displacement and homelessness.
LAMENTATION explores a fusion of classical and popular music to explore an emotional landscape that reminds us of the universality of the human experience; an experience that transcends all attempts to separate and divide us. Today, in the wake of the Christchurch Mosque attack, and the context of governments determined to exploit suffering as an instrument of state, the ancient book of 'Lamentations'( 'Ekah' in Hebrew - "Alas!") cries out a haunting requiem to dispossession and overwhelming desolation.
Couperin wrote 'Leçons de Tenebres' (Easter 1714) for voice with continuo, and for this performance McKenzie has realised the principle arias in various contemporary styles featuring expansive 'cello counter-melodies. The three Lessons are placed within poetic and political texts, including Shakespeare's stirring, if little known, contribution to 'The Book of Sir Thomas More' condemning racist prejudice against refugees. McKenzie also sets four of Coverdale's 16th century translations of the Psalms to modern grooves - Psalms 10/52 becomes a rap tirade against Tyrants. The work concludes with Annie Lennox's stirring anthem for the 2018 film "A Private War".
Throughout, texts in Latin and Maori are also sung in English. The venue is wheelchair accessible, and the performance will be relaxed with audio description. Proceeds will be donated to Refugee Charities.
Glenn McKenzie is a disabled Kiwi actor, musician, and writer based in Sydney who has spent the past 35+ years performing on concert platform and in theatre throughout England, NZ, and Australia. An accomplished Counter-Tenor, with a broad repertoire ranging from Bach to Björk, he recently spent 5 years singing as a Lay-Vicar Choral and soloist in the great cathedrals of England. He currently tours internationally his acclaimed chamber theatre work 'Evensong' - the fictional biography of Shakespeare's lover and muse, Mr W.H.
"McKenzie is a consummate performer, both as a musician and an actor" - Theatreview NZ
"A dignified, elegant, and thoroughly authentic performance by a distinctly accomplished artist" - Melbourne Notes
Fringe Tags; Music, Literature, Performance Art