This Hostel Life Review: Direct Provision Explored Through Often-anguished Sounds - The Irish Times ★★★★

Saturday, 28 September, 2019
This Hostel Life

By David Byers


Staging of Irish National Opera work based on short stories by Melatu Uchenna Okorie in medieval crypt was inspired

Christ Church Cathedral’s spacious medieval crypt was an inspired choice for Evangelia Rigaki’s installation-opera in a production by Irish National Opera. The libretto is derived from three short stories by Melatu Uchenna Okorie, from her collection This Hostel Life based on her experience of over eight years in Ireland’s direct provision scheme, so much to the fore in recent news stories.

The crypt’s gothic arched cell-like “rooms”, its memorials, and even its Tom and Jerry mummified cat and rat, provided an excellent backdrop. There was room for the audience to walk around, exploring the often-anguished sounds which resonated and mixed and mashed together.

The setting and acoustic seemed in complete sympathy with the ritualistic movements, choral speaking and harmonies of the chorus, New Dublin Voices, directed by Bernie Sherlock. That was the all-pervasive backdrop for the “encounters” with three singers, each based in one of those gothic cells shared with a single instrumentalist, creating distinctive and expressionist sound worlds. Each had a deeply personal story to tell in separate sections like the movements of a cantata.

Read the full article via the Irish Times here.