Amal - Over the Wall
A youth opera for soloists, choir and orchestra
Libretto: Cornelia Köhler auf Englisch und Arabisch
Auftragswerk für den Amwaj Choir. Gefördert durch die Ernst von Siemens Musik Stiftung

Solisten, Chor und Orchester
Dauer: 60 min

The Opera
The libretto is drawn from The Oil's Secret Tale, a contemporary award-winning novel by Palestinian prisoner-author Waleed Daqqa, published in 2018 by the Tamer Institute for Community Education (Ramallah). Composer Camille van Lunen and librettist Cornelia Köhler note that ”At a moment when borders spring up once more, separating people and families, this enchanting and thought-provoking tale is more relevant than ever.”

The Plot
The four siblings Amal, Sabri, Faizah and Rami miss their father. They want to play with him, get his help for their homework and show him their school reports. They are sitting by the wall they cannot pass feeling sad. Yet help comes from the animal world: rabbits, birds, cats and dogs want to aid the children.
But this can only be achieved by working together. So the animals who normally regard each other as enemies have to set their prejudices aside to help the children. Even the cats and the dogs manage. ”The dogs are not our enemies. They are different from us but not inferior.”
However, before the children can finally embrace their father, the courageous eldest sister Amal has to reveal the ancient olive tree's secret.
Amal succeeds, thus becoming a symbol of feminine strength - ”girl power”. The oil lends the children magic powers which is why our opera has a utopian ending. They have succeeded in turning the adult world upside down through non-violence and solidarity.

Amal, 15 years old, and her three siblings
The wall: choir group
Their father: speaking part for an actor
The olive tree: cello solo/speaking part
It's branches and leaves: girls' choir group
Rabbits, birds, cats, dogs: children's choir groups
String orchestra and percussion

Impressions of the first Scene
The olive tree - Cello Solo in ”Sprechgesang”
Accompanied by sostenuto low notes, interrupted by short bowed figures
Punctuated in the background by the girl's choir singing an Arabic folk tune

2000 years - a very long time
A time full of history. Which story, whose story?

2000 years - a very long time
I lived in peace and freedom, in wartime and upheaval

2000 years - a very long time
I met Jews and Greeks and Romans and Arabs, crusaders and soldiers, peasants and herdsmen.
I met girls and boys, wise and foolish, brave and strong, happy and sad.
I met men and women, working and loving and kissing and fighting and struggling for life.

2000 years - a very long lifetime
But never had I seen a wall before...