Pleasance brings Requiem For Aleppo for a special, one-off charity performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Wednesday 16 August

Requiem for Aleppo

Requiem for Aleppo

“Aleppo is no longer – all that is left are its stories”– Anonymous, Citizen of Aleppo

Following a sold-out world premiere of Requiem for Aleppo at Sadler’s Wells in April, this very special event takes place in Edinburgh on 16th August as part of the Pleasance’s programme for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017.

In response to the human tragedy of Aleppo composer David Cazalet has written Requiem for Aleppo, a personal lament in music which fuses Christian liturgy with early Arabic poetry, mixing the beautiful voices of Juliana Yazbeck and Abdul Salam Kheir with more formal choral composition and counterpoint.

Choreographer Jason Mabana has set the ‘big, evocative score’ (The Times) to dance, bringing together a ‘crack team of international dancers’ (The Stage) to emphasise the truly international element of this piece. The result is a uniquely moving performance interwoven with powerful real life testimony of former residents of Aleppo. Following the sell-out world premiere of Requiem for Aleppo at Sadler’s Wells last April, this powerful collaboration between musicians, dancers and those affected by war is already creating waves and is coming to Edinburgh on 16th August before touring the Middle East. Now is the chance to see this exceptional collaboration, a collective expression of solidarity with the people of Syria, and a way of donating money to those suffering in Syria as all profits from ticket sales go to the internationally renowned charity Syria Relief.

Fringe audiences will see a slightly reworked version of Requiem for Aleppo with a couple new pieces added to the show. Also, for the Edinburgh production the company is joined by Jacob O’Donnell – BBC Dancer of the Year 2015.

Anthony Alderson, Pleasance Director said: “In the year of 70th anniversary of Edinburgh’s Festivals, festivals created to reunite Europe and the world through art and creativity following war, this piece is not only an expression of our unity and support for the people of Aleppo in a period of conflict but also a poignant reminder of why our festivals were founded and what they celebrate.”

The work introduces 12 dancers from across the world. Cazalet’s original music is a combination of Requiem Mass lyrics set to choral music, linked by Arabic poetry from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, also set to music, and interwoven throughout with the voices of people from Aleppo telling their real-life stories – stories gathered from recent interviews and which have fed into the development of the work.

Syria Relief is the largest Syria focused charity registered in the UK. With a solid network of committed management and logistics staff on the ground inside Syria, Syria Relief operate in some of the most hard to reach areas of Syria, including besieged areas.

With this level of expertise on the ground, Syria Relief implements humanitarian projects inside Syria in a number of different sectors from education, healthcare, livelihood, protection to food security and sponsoring orphans in the most desperate areas. Syria Relief is directly supporting civilians and displaced communities while providing the tools and training to help them become self-sufficient in their altered circumstances. Since their work started in 2011, they have touched the lives of 2 million people distributing more than 75 million dollars worth of aid.

Composer David Cazalet said: “I want Requiem for Aleppo to be a reminder, now and ongoing, of the suffering of a people and what the world has lost. It is an appeal to our common humanity – an expression of grief articulated in movement, song and design. It is a refusal to pay silent witness to a humanitarian crisis”. Requiem for Aleppo is written in memoriam for the lives that have been lost, destroyed, dislocated and displaced, it is a lament for the destruction of a city of great sophistication, history and tolerance whose loss is humanity’s loss.”

The dancers taking part are Arabella Scalisi (Italy), Beno Novak (Slovenia), Elisa Chou (Spain), Hae Haeyeon Lim (South Korea), Ines Pinheiro (Portugal), Jessica Eirado Enes (Italy), Naima Souhair (The Netherlands), Raoul Riva (France), Rob Bridger (UK), Sarina Sitinjak (Canada), Simone Zambelli (Italy) and Wennah Wilkers (The Netherlands).

Further info on creative team can be found at www.requiemforaleppo.com.

‘…duets of softly curving and mutually supportive intimacy are outstanding… this is a powerful statement of intent’ – The Times

“Requiem for Aleppo is more powerful than the biggest bomb” – Dr Elie Elhadj, former resident of Aleppo

“Requiem for Aleppo is a brilliant act of love, remembrance and empathy… a celebration of our common humanity, values and hope.” Fardous Bahbouh, Journalist & Oscar-winning documentary translator