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The Golden Stool, or The Story of Nana Yaa Asantewaa

or the story of Nana Yaa Asantewaa

Toneelhuis, LOD muziektheater, Gorges Ocloo

Who is Nana Yaa Asantewaa? Why was she important? And what is her legacy? 

Around 1900, she led the resistance against the troops of the British Monarch as an old woman and, together with the women's brigade she formed, held out for a year in the war for the Golden Stool, the throne and pride of the Asante people in Ghana. 

The British had been slaughtering the Asante to gain access to timber, gold and cocoa for years. The industrial revolution in faraway England required resources, many resources, like a hungry beast. For Nana Yaa Asantewaa and her women, the British Monarch’s claiming of the Golden Stool was the last straw. The Golden Stool would not leave the country! 

Nobulumko Mngxekeza-Nziramasanga (soprano), Nonkululeko Nkwinti (mezzo-soprano), Doris Bokongo Nkumu, Nathalie Bokongo Nkumu, Abena Biney Gloria, Titilayo Oliha, Saar-Niragire De Groof, Briana Stuart, Maïmouna Badjie and Somalia Williamson sing, act and dance the story of Nana Yaa Asantewaa and her courageous struggle, to the sounds of famous arias from the classical Western opera repertoire – which Gorges Ocloo has appropriated for the occasion. Handel, Bizet, Shostakovich, Verdi, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Orff... they all pass in revue. With this AfrOpera, Gorges Ocloo reveals his roots.

Mixing the Western opera repertoire with African percussion and beats? For that, you need a delightfully unorthodox composer like Gorges Ocloo. In The Golden Stool, or the Story of Nana Yaa Asantewaa, he strikes out on unexpected musical paths.

Charlotte De Somviele in De Standaard , 28 April 2023

"Ocloo has filled every centimetre of the stage with dance and every cubic meter of the year with sound. As Asantewaa/Mngxekeza-Nziramasanga declared while pointing to the audience: ‘They always told us silence is golden.’ But silent it will no longer be. All the stops are pulled out in this rousing and charming performance that brings to mind what Puerto Rican rapper Residente once said: With Ocloo ‘…you eat, even if you’re not hungry.’"

Paula Rodríguez Sardiñas in Etcetera , 28 April 2023

"The Golden Stool, or the story of Nana Yaa Asantewaa, est une déclaration extraordinairement puissante qui se sert du répertoire de l’opéra pour enfin raconter des histoires différentes, tellement plus nécessaires et d’orientation non occidentale. "

Els Van Steenberghe in Knack Focus *** , 5 May 2023

"I just love opera. The melodies are beautiful. But often the orchestration revolves around embellishments that are nothing but repetitions. You might as well leave them out. So, I started turning arias into new compositions. Carmen for instance, but also a piece from Rinaldo by Georg Friedrich Händel. And further away from opera, Ode an die Freude from Symphony No. 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven, plus the famous waltz An der schönen blauen Donau by Johan Strauss and on the other side of the spectrum, Respect by Aretha Franklin."

Gorges Ocloo

"That new hybridity of theatre, in interweaving performance styles and diverse cultural source material can be very enriching, especially today in the resilience of women of colour. With great care, Ocloo gives a voice to the forgotten strong women who have resisted and also paid an expensive price for it."

"Gorges Ocloo and Saar-Niragire De Groof are guests on Heleen Debruyne's show. They talk about Gorges' journey to Ghana, forgotten stories, and musical choices. Listen to the interview."

"Gorges Ocloo is making 'Afropera' for Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. Listen to the interview with Gorges Ocloo."

concept, direction, libretto, composition & costumes

  • Gorges Ocloo

soprano

  • Nobulumko Mngxekeza-Nziramasanga

mezzo-soprano

  • Nonkululeko Nkwinti

choir, dance, percussion

  • Doris Bokongo Nkumu
  • Nathalie Bokongo Nkumu
  • Gloria Abena Biney
  • Titilayo Oliha
  • Saar-Niragire De Groof
  • Briana Ashley Stuart
  • Maïmouna Badjie
  • Somalia Williamson

advice composition & choir master

  • Joris Minten

co-libretto

  • Josse De Pauw

dramaturgy

  • Josse De Pauw

musical advice

  • Katherina Lindekens

directing assistance

  • Chiara Monteverde

set

  • atelier toneelhuis

costume design

  • Kasia Mielczarek

realization costumes

  • atelier toneelhuis

videotechniek

  • Brecht Debackere

video-opname

  • Gorges Ocloo

audio-opname

  • Isa Tubbax

production management

  • Eva De Wolf
  • Noor De Graaf

production

  • Toneelhuis
  • LOD muziektheater

coproduction

  • Opera Ballet Vlaanderen
  • O. Festival Rotterdam
  • Romaeuropa Festival

with the support of

  • enoa & the Creative Europe Programme
  • de Tax Shelter van de Belgische federale overheid
  • Flanders TAX shelter

thanks to

  • Lukas Vanhoutte
  • Naomi Lampariello
  • Peter King
  • Wilhelmina Donkoh
  • The Queen Mother of Ejisu
  • The Women Commission Office of the Koforidua Technical University

All data

  1. Thursday 19 September 2024 — 20h00 — Les Arts, València
  2. Monday 14 October 2024 — 20h00 — Barbican, Londen, Londen
  3. Friday 18 October 2024 — 20h00 — Romaeuropa, Rome
  4. Saturday 2 November 2024 — 20h00 — Chassé Theater, Breda
  1. Thursday 27 April 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  2. Friday 28 April 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  3. Saturday 29 April 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  4. Sunday 30 April 2023 — 15h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  5. Friday 5 May 2023 — 20h00 — VIERNULVIER/Theaterzaal, Gent
  6. Wednesday 17 May 2023 — 20h00 — O., Rotterdam
  7. Saturday 14 October 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  8. Sunday 15 October 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  9. Thursday 9 November 2023 — 20h00 — CC Brugge/Stadsschouwburg, Brugge
  10. Tuesday 14 November 2023 — 20h00 — 30CC/Schouwburg, Leuven
  11. Friday 17 November 2023 — 20h15 — HNT/Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag
  12. Thursday 23 November 2023 — 20h00 — Cultuurcentrum, Strombeek-Bever
  13. Sunday 26 November 2023 — 20h00 — CC Sint-Niklaas, Sint-Niklaas

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