Desdemona by Toni Morrison and
Rokia Traoré with Tina Benko
Directed by Peter Sellars
Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 7PM
Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 8PM
Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 8PM
Sun, Oct 11, 2015 at 2PM
Freud Playhouse

“This is a remarkable, challenging and bravely original work.” The Guardian (U.K.)

Desdemona is the most fiery angel in Shakespeare’s creation—a radiant and radical woman of independence courage and love. She is now given an astonishing and provocative further voice by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, who reveals secrets in Othello that will change forever our reading of the play. In a time outside of time we discover the other African in Shakespeare’s play—Barbary, the nurse who raised Desdemona on African stories and songs, stunningly embodied by the great Malian singer Rokia Traoré.

As women’s voices fill the night air, we are in an intimate, spellbinding theatrical séance, both haunted and liberating, that moves in words and music across continents and centuries, connecting Elizabethan England to the Courts of Timbuktu to the future of the race—the human race—on this earth.

Toni Morrison, Text
Rokia Traoré, Music and Barbary
Peter Sellars, Director
Tina Benko, Desdemona
Mamah Diabaté, Ngoni
Fatim Kouyaté, Vocals
Marie Dembelé, Vocals
Toumani Kouyaté, Kora
James F. Ingalls, Lighting Design
Alexis Giraud, Sound Design
Antoine Audibert, Sound Engineer
Anne Dechêne, Production Stage Manager
Pamela Salling, Assistant Stage Manager
Diane J. Malecki
, Producer

Desdemona Opening Night Plus "Model Mavericks" Post-Show Benefit Dinner

Join us for our third-annual CAP UCLA Benefit. This year we celebrate Model Mavericks—women who have broken the mold in generous and bold fashion.

Our honorees are:

  • Susan Bay Nimoy—film director and arts advocate
  • Olga Garay-English—a leader in the Los Angeles arts community
  • Rokia Traoré—Malian musician and singer, composer and librettist of Desdemona

Immediately following the Los Angeles premiere of the towering achievement of our opening theater production Desdemona, we set the table for you to join us, along with members of the Desdemona cast and creative team and some very special honorees for more moments of sublime inspiration!

By purchasing a ticket or table to this event, you will directly support the Center’s Season Programming and Special Initiatives and help us honor our Model Mavericks.

Tickets are available for $500 and can be purchased  online.
Patron tables are available for $5,000.

For table sales, please call 310.206.6431 

CAP UCLA presentation supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Grant Endowment, Shirley & Ralph Shapiro Director’s Discretionary Fund and the Merle & Peter Mullin Endowment for the Performing Arts. Additional support provided by Diane Levine & Robert Wass and Anne-Marie Spataru.

Desdemona was commissioned and co-produced by Wiener Festwochen, Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers, Cal Performances, Berkeley, California, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, spielzeit’europa I Berliner Festspiele, and Barbican, London, Arts Council London and London 2012 Festival.

The premiere performance took place on May 15, 2011 at the Akzent Theater in Vienna, Austria.

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