Karmina Šilec, conductor and director - author

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Karmina Šilec, conductor and director - author

Karmina Šilec is a conductor and director - author, artistic director of Carmina Slovenica and new music theatre Choregie


The life and death of Stana



The Life and death of Stana  

Music theatre by Karmina Silec

Performers: Kitka ensemble and guests

       for vocalists of extended vocal techniques, instruments, electronics 

BABA is inspired by the sworn virgins – the women who, after taking vows of chastity, adopt a man's name and identity, wear men's clothes, do men's work, smoke, drink rakia, play the gusle ... and join the men's world. The music theatre will draw on anthropological research on this practice to develop a multi-faceted performative form.

BABA offers a journey through places and times that bend under the fruits of the romantic Western imagination. Homer, the virdzina, the muškarača, the tobelia, the blind woman, and Stana live in the region that today we call the Balkans. The performance creates an intuitive conceptual network between music, theWestern view, sweet sorrow, hetero-romantic ideology and Adam’s rib, phallocentrism and virginity. It talks about the otherness, the institution of sworn virgins, and about the dilemma over whether virdzina’s becominga man is an illusion, violence, or salvation.

BABA is a canvas on which the contents of society's consciousness, its beliefs, the history and the present, knowledge and delusions are projected. It reminds us of the narrow-mindedness of the society that condemns every step and every action; it sang praises to women with a vocabulary adorned with the notions such as tradition, family, honour, and dignity, and caching mythomania and misogyny behind them. It reminds us who created and buried the heroines Flora, Liljana, Suni, Lindita,...

BABA holds a mirror to the constraints and choices relating to gender and sexuality that are coming to light today.The theme that revolves around the sworn virgins resembles a translucent curtain, behind which the viewers – while perceiving the events on the outskirts of Europe, somewhere in the mountains of the Balkans – stay aware of the fact that what they are watching is "neither the only time, nor the only place". 


Supported by / in cooperation with:

The Hewlett50 Arts Commissions

The National Endowment for the Arts

New Music USA

Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts Fund

Alliance for California Traditional Arts

Mills College Performing Artists In Residence Program

Berkeley Repertory Theater Ground Floor Artist Residency Program

Djerassi Resident Artists Program

Radcliffe Institute for advanced studies Harvard University

STIAS  Institute for advanced studies, Stellenbosch University

Kebataola ansamble and Carmina Slovenica

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