For over 40 years, Odaline de la Martinez and her ensemble Lontano have been championing an incredible range of contemporary music, performing hundreds of premieres and releasing 39 recordings on their Lorelt Label. This February they will stage their Seventh London Festival of American Music, a biennial series which has brought an astonishing array of music, most unheard in the UK previously.
Each Festival seems to surpass the last and this year which celebrates Odaline de la Martinez’s 70th birthday is no exception with the centre-piece being the world premiere of her opera trilogy Imoinda: A Story of Love and Slavery. The first Afro-Cuban opera, and the first modern opera about slavery it is based loosely on an original short novel by Aphra Behn titled Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave, A True History. It tells the story of Oroonoko and Imoinda, two people who fell in love in Guinea and remarkably find each other again at a plantation in the West Indies, when they are both slaves. Aphra Behn lived a remarkable life as the first female writer to earn a living through her work, besides also working as a spy for King Charles II. Oroonoko has long been seen as her finest work. It is unknown whether Oroonoko and Imoinda were fictional or real, however, Behn did likely travel through Surinam in the 1660s.
Other concerts in the festival, which this year brings a special focus on African-American composers include performances by the Ligeti Quartet, guitarist Michael Poll, soprano Alison Buchanan with pianist Eugene Asti and of course Lontano Ensemble. For full details and to find out more about please head to lontano.co.uk.
Composers Edition is proud to already publish two of the three parts of Imoinda trilogy:Odaline de la Martinez Profile & Works
The Seventh London Festival of American Music
24 February – 2 March 2019
Imoinda: A Story of Love and Slavery
Friday 1 March & Saturday 2 March, 7.30pm
The Warehouse, London
Tags: 70th birthday, A True History, Afro-Cuban opera, Aphra Behn, guitarist Michael Poll, Imoinda: A Story of Love and Slavery, Ligeti Quartet, Lontano, Lontano Ensemble, Lorelt, Odaline de la Martinez, or The Royal Slave, Oroonoko, pianist Eugene Asti, Seventh London Festival of American Music, soprano Alison Buchanan, The Warehouse