Rithaa – ein Jenseitsreigen II

Music theatre performance featuring Arabic laments and death rituals with Kamilya Jubran und ensemble dialogue

Rithaa - Dance of the Afterlife, a music theatre piece based on Arabic dirges and mourning rituals from Egypt, was created in collaboration with the Swiss composer Mela Meierhans. It was the second part of the "Afterlife Trilogies" based on death rituals of the three major monotheistic religions. In this joint production between the Berliner Festspiele / MaerzMusik and the Gare du Nord, Bahnhof für Neue Musik Basel, two radically different musical cultures clashed - Arabic folk music and contemporary European music. Rithaa - Dance of the Afterlife was divided into five musical scenes - death, shrouding, vigil, burial and memorial.
The strong influence of language and poetry on Arabic music was an essential aspect of this composition. The piece was performed by Kamilya Jubran (voice, oud), an Egyptian female mourner (Adi'id, in the film), a female singer and musicians of the ensemble dialogue. The ensemble dialogue specializes in classical music and its members are well-versed in improvisation and play instruments generally used in traditional Swiss music.

Artistic director/ Composition: Mela Meierhans
Composition/ Vocals / Oud: Kamilya Jubran
Lighting and set design: Martin Müller (CH); choreography: Charlotte Frisch; visual arts: Thea van Woland (F); film: Sandra Gysi and Ahmed Abdel Mohsen (Assuan, E); project coordinator: Johanna Schweizer and Ursula Freiburghaus;

ensemble dialogue and guests: Kamilya Jubran (vocals/oud), Leslie Leon (mezzo soprano), Anna Spina (viola), Claudia Eigenmann (violoncello), Cristin Wildbolz (double bass), Meinrad Haller (clarinets), Diane Eaton (horn/alphorn), Anita Kuster (trombone/alphorn), Françoise Rivalland (percussion/santur), Mela Meierhans (conductor).

A co-production of Gare du Nord/Bahnhof für Neue Musik Basel and MaerzMusik.

Venues and schedule:
World premiere: MaerzMusik Festival Berlin, 27 March 2010 (dress rehearsal) 28 March 2010 (premiere), 29 March 2010
Bahnhof für Neue Musik, Gare du Nord, Basel, 13/15/16/17/18 October 2010
Markan, Egyptian Center for Culture and Art, Cairo, November 2010