Opera Village or Remdoogo

A utopian opera village in Burkina Faso


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Proche de Ouagadougou
BF Burkina Faso
Web http://www.operndorf-afrika.com/fr/accueil.html


About the project Edit

Remdoogo means “opera village” in Moré, the most widely spoken language in Burkina Faso. It is Christoph Schlingensief’s audacious project—the construction of an organically developing village dedicated to music, arts, and children, in the heart of Burkina. There is no equivalent to this project in Africa or anywhere else in the world. The remdoogo has the potential to become a complete work of art; the village has its own school that can accommodate up to 500 students, an infirmary, and a festival hall seating 600. Christoph Schligensief was an eclectic artist whose mediums included anything from producing B movies to staging of Wagner’s Parsifal in Bayreuth.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

This project brings to mind the Werner Herzog film, Fitzcarraldo, in which a would-be rubber baron attempts to build an opera house in the heart of the Amazon. Inspired by ancient Greek theatre and its curative properties, the vision here is of an opera in the middle of the savannah. It is based on cultural emancipation in which the remdoogo does not intend to import the music of Wagner or Bach. The idea to facilitate the emergence of a local means of expression through a dedicated infrastructure, utopian on paper but very real in its role as an “art cluster.”

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The remdoogo is a physical platform for learning, and artistic and musical expression, distanced from a downtown urban hub. Its goal is to provide local populations with access to an art form usually destined for the “elite” (opera is bourgeois art par excellence).

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

After Christoph Schlingensief’s death, the construction of the opera village was left to Francis Kéré, an architect from Burkina Faso and Schlingensief’s wife. Various German public cultural institutions have made financial contributions to ensure the project’s completion. The potential for such a project to expand and develop in other regions of West Africa and any other developing country is relatively low considering it’s utopian nature. However, if the remdoogo is successfully completed, it can “constitute jurisprudence” by demonstrating that it is possible to build this type of cultural platform in contexts where this was previously considered impossible.

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