Alya Al-Sultani is a British-Iraqi dramatic soprano and composer of new opera living in London. Her work focuses on integration - of a diaspora identity, varied musical loves, the organic beauty of the human voice and the digital hum of modern life, structure and free improvisation.
Two Sisters is a full-length opera in one act, with Arabic and English libretto, with an ensemble of three sopranos, turntables, early music recorders, double bass, electronics, piano and trumpet. The opera is set on the border between two countries, a no-man’s land in the Middle East, and tells the story of two sisters and their mother. It is not a “refugee story” but a vehicle through which to explore the human experience of choosing to stay in relative safety or to take a risk towards our own happiness, a theme that has infused all of our lives during a pandemic that has many of us thinking radically about our lives and choices.
I cannot live in this grey cloud for one second longer, Maisa. Here I am neither rain nor shine. Here I am neither living nor dead. Here I am nothing to nobody. Here I have no past and not future. I need to live beyond this moment I am in, beyond this one single breath.