‘Favela’, was inspired by my experience of living in Rio de Janeiro for a year and a half, witnessing large-scale protests, and the true story of Amarildo de Souza; an innocent man who was killed at the hands of Rio’s police. This is the first opera I have written and it was first performed for my final piece of work for my Postgraduate Diploma in Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Musically it’s heavily rhythmic, influenced by baile funke, tropicália and samba. I hope to develop it further for performances in 2017 in collaboration with Clockwork Opera, directed by Tom Holland.
Samba. Guns. Baile Funke.
Amidst riots breaking out across Rio de Janeiro, Fernanda and Diego meet and fall in love at a favela party. Whilst some of their friends are on the wrong side of the law, both Fernanda and Diego are hardworking people, born and raised in the favela and wishing for a better life.
The party is broken up by Gustavo, the chief of police, as part of a frequent ‘pacification’ process to rid the favela of drug dealers and crime. Due to Diego’s popularity Gustavo believes him to be involved in crime and is after him. Fernanda steals a kiss from Diego and manages to get a photo of the two of them before running away. Diego returns home to find his house has been raided and his mother beaten. His mother pleads with him to run away as it is no longer safe in the favela.
At a meeting between Igor, the city mayor and Gustavo, Gustavo reveals his failed attempt to catch Diego which enrages Igor. As the two discuss a plan to quell the riots and catch Diego, they are interrupted to find Fernanda, Igor’s housemaid, has been listening whilst cleaning in the background. Gustavo searches Fernanda and finds the photo of Diego. Suspicious that the two are lovers, Igor orders Fernanda to arrange a meeting between her and Diego which would allow Igor and Gustavo to catch him once and for all.