STARI MOST

Stari Most (literally, "Old Bridge") is a 16th-century Ottoman bridge in the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina that crosses the river Neretva and connects the two parts of the city. The Old Bridge stood for 427 years, until it was destroyed on 9 November 1993 by Croat military forces during the Croat–Bosniak War. Subsequently, a project was set in motion to reconstruct it, and the rebuilt bridge opened on 23 July 2004.

Grabbed Frame 14 Mostar_Brückenspringer_Trevor_Multi

THE STARI MOST PIECE is an extraordinary musical celebration by the com­poser Richard Chew.

 

The narrative is about Dino, a catholic championship diver remembering his youth when he was in love with Alma a muslim woman. During his remembrance of the times they spent together he recalls moments when he was the great hero diver and how Alma would watch him, with admiration and love, dive from the Mostar Bridge.

 

They both remember the war and how it separated them because of the division it brought between their religions. During the piece all these memories are illustrated in the music and libtretto and culminate in a dramatic finale.

 

The librettist is the outstanding playwright Peter Cann. He came up with a text that evokes the story of the purely pointless and vindictive destruction of the famously beautiful Old Bridge (Stari Most) that for centuries spanned the Neretva, and gives the bridge itself voice. Almost like a tender De Sica or Pasolini film, a poignant scene of doomed love between a girl and boy, one Croat, one Bosnian is evoked with the help of some splendid video and still projections overseen by Alex McEwen.

 

The visual sequence’s most forceful image is one of swimmers, old and young alike, diving into the waters from the bridge so as to lave themselves — and somehow us, the audience — in a kind of purifying baptism, as if the stains of brutal strife, of our generation and our forefathers’, too, might somehow be cleansed. This last image one could have watched again and again.

 

At its heart this is musical celebration. Richard Chew in a masterstroke assigned the voice of the bridge to a choir of children. So the Bridge sings to the audience a song of time and service until its destruction.

 

"Extracts taken from Richard Dunnits Review"

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