For the past five years, Jewish community member Adeena Karasick has been working with Grammy Award-winning composer/trumpeter Frank London on Salomé: Woman of Valor, a total art experience, groundbreaking in its interplay of poetry, music, dance and film.
Karasick’s libretto, which she will perform live, is a mix of historical, pop cultural, midrashic and kabbalistic references. The score blends Arabic, klezmer, jazz and Bhangra musics by the recently knighted (for his contribution to world music) London; performed with Indian percussionist virtuoso Deep Singh and Middle Eastern keyboard player Shai Bachar; dance created and performed by two dancers on the New York scene, (fellow Jewish community member) Rebecca Margolick and Jesse Zaritt; video by Elizabeth Mak, which deconstructs Charles Bryant’s 1923 silent film Salomé; and directed by Alex Aron, co-creator of A Night in the Old Marketplace.
After years of research, learning there was no basis for the way Salomé has been historically represented, Karasick wanted to re-insert Salomé back into her rightful place in history as a powerful revolutionary. She refutes Oscar Wilde’s misogynist and antisemitic interpretation, and has translated the myth to (no surprise!) one of female empowerment, socio-political, erotic and esthetic transgression.
Creating a work of this scope is an enormous undertaking, and the creative team has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the production’s world première at Vancouver’s Chutzpah! Festival, and then to take Salomé: Woman of Valor on tour internationally. The total project budget is more than $40,000 and the team needs to raise at least $20,000 to make its vision a reality. Each $180 gets the creative team an additional hour of time in the studio.
There has been nothing quite like this – poetry as a spoken word opera of exceptional scale and scope. Salomé: Woman of Valor offers new ways of seeing, reminding us how there is never one story or perspective to be told and allowing the unvoiced be celebrated and heard.
All donations are tax-deductible. To donate, visit kickstarter.com/projects/womanofvalor/salome-woman-of-valor. The all-or-nothing campaign deadline is Jan. 12.