EXCLUSIVE: Unitel Group’s Unitel Classica label has boarded world sales for Unogumbe-Noye’s Fludde.
Mark Dornford May’s film will have its world premiere at Toronto next month.
It is Dornford May’s latest operatic collaboration with the Khayelitsha Township, South Africa-based Isango ensemble, which he previously worked with on Berlinale winner uCarmen eKhayeilitsa. The piece is adapted from Benjamin Briten’s Noye’s Fludde.
“Unogumbe follows the original opera plot closely but moves the action from medieval England to a present-day South Africa where the background and poverty of the township is a striking metaphor for man’s inhumanity to man,” say Mark Dornford-May. “Unogumbe is sung in Xhosa, with subtitles in medieval English and completely rescored for African instruments.”
Pauline Malefane [pictured] stars as Mrs Noah alongside Zamile Gantana as Mr Noah.
“In recent times, the opera is best known for its featuring in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom,” says executive producer for F&ME, Mike Downey. “The radical change is that Noye is now a woman and has to deal with a drunken husband and hold her family together as well as build the ark and collect the animals. The opera is a tale for children; however the threat of global warming and its consequences make the flood seem a closer reality, and maybe a fitting end for man if he continues to display inhumanity and a lack of care for the world.”
Isango is currently planning a version of Puccini’s La Boheme – Abanxhaxi, which F&ME also plans to turn into a film version to shoot later this year under the new F&ME/Isango banner.
Unitel Classica unites Unitel, producer and distributor of classical music on film and home entertainment, and Classica, the classical music pay TV station in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Japan. Berlin-based Cmajor Entertainment will also distribute as part of its deal with Unitel.