Bintou Were, un Opéra du Sahel will premiere on 17 February 2007 in a specially designed open air theatre on the bank of the Niger in Bamako, Mali. The Sahel Opera will subsequently come to the Netherlands, where it will be performed during the Holland Festival on 7, 8 and 9 June 2007. The opera will then embark on an African and European tour in 2007 and 2008.
The sudden death of executive producer and talent scout Michel Mavros made it necessary to postpone the premiere of Bintou Were, un Opéra du Sahel. Mavros died on 9 October 2006 in his home in Paris. Els van der Plas, director of the Prince Claus Fund, explains: "Michel knew everything about the Sahel Opera and was at the core of the process. Managing a performance that places eighty people on stage is an extremely complicated task, especially when the organisation takes an entire year. Luckily we were able to find a new executive producer after he died, and the tour will be able to proceed. Mali�s Ministry of Culture is co-producer. This has proven to be a major success factor for the project."
The opera tells the story of Bintou Were, a woman who travels through the Sahel towards Europe with a group of men. All of the travellers experience physical challenges, and numerous men claim to be the father of the child the woman is carrying in her womb. The closer the group gets to the European borders, the more they struggle with the question of where the child will grow up: in Africa or in Europe.
Bintou Were is an upbeat, satirical demonstration of how Africa and Europe differ while being linked to one another. It is a spectacular performance of the highest quality that strives to improve insight into the different cultures.