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Documentary And Opera The Murder of Halit Yozgat – directed by Ben Frost – Added To Ephemera Festival Program. Andrzej Nowak Postponed to 2021.

Ben Frost opera EN

Warsaw’s Ephemera festival – which started in September this year, produced by Unsound – was to conclude this month with the debut performance of the mysterious Polish composer Andrzej Nowak. The pandemic, however, has a habit of changing festival programs and plans – and the artist is stranded on a Pacific Ocean island. You can read his letter of explanation on the festival page, as well as listen to a short musical piece he sent us (streamable here). We hope to welcome Mr. Nowak to the second edition of Ephemera in 2021.

We’ve managed to find a worthy replacement: on November 15, we’ll present the premiere of a film documenting Ben Frost's opera The Murder of Halit Yozgat, via the new TR Warszawa online streaming platform.

The starting point and the main inspiration for this work was Forensic Architecture collective’s 77sqm_9: 26min, investigating the murder of Halit Yozgat in 2006 in Kassel. This crime was part of a series of 10 murders committed the German neo-Nazi terrorist group NSU, all targeting immigrants living in Germany. The work of the Forensic Architecture group was adapted by Ben Frost into the language of opera in a way that shows the enormity of the crime and violence that took place in the banal setting of an internet cafe.

Work on finalizing the opera was interrupted by the pandemic and the initial lockdown period in Germany. Knowing that the premiere could not take place with the participation of an audience, Frost invited collaborators Richard Mosse and Trevor Tweeten – known to Unsound audiences from the Incoming and Enclave exhibitions – to document the opera and its creation process. The result is a visually stunning work that is both a meticulous recreation of a brutal crime and a record of a performance without an audience during the pandemic in the Hannover Opera House.

The video will be available to viewers of Ephemera here from November 15th, 6pm CEST, for 72 hours. The premiere will be preceded by a meeting with the creators, which will take place online – more information on this is coming soon.