Searching for Zenobia
Music theater for mezzo-soprano, actress, Syrian vocalist, woman’s vocal ensemble, strings and Syrian percussionist
Lucia Ronchetti
Translation into German
Co-Composition, Vocals

Germany 2024: Zeina is dying. Her diary, which Zeina wrote to give her daughter Leyla a deeper insight into her life, falls into Leyla’s hands. Together with Leyla we dive into Zeina’s biography; once a Syrian archaeologist researching Palmyra and the story of the antique Queen Zenobia, she was forced by the war to leave Syria and seek refuge in Germany. Here her thoughts keep wandering back to her home country. In particular, it is the imaginary presence of Zenobia who is her constant companion and with whom she maintains an intimate dialogue.

Lucia Ronchetti and Mohammad Al Attar tell the story of two female Syrian figures: Zeina unites real and complex experiences of flight and migration for various modern women and contrasts her own biography to that of Zenobia. The musical element is guided by fragments from Albinoni’s Venetian opera of the same name combined with elements of traditional Syrian music. These influences are shaped by the vocals of Mais Harb and percussionist Elias Aboud, who – like Al Attar – come from Syria and are considered to be among the most outstanding artists of their culture in Germany today.

Composition and Libretto commissioned by the City of Munich for the Munich Biennale
Composition commission financed by EvS-Musikstiftung
A co-production of the Munich Biennale and the Staatstheater Braunschweig
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