Our Reply to Violence-Poverty

Young Choristers & Musicians in Kinshasa, Congo

Young Choristers & Musicians in Kinshasa, Congo

Tired of political corruption in developing countries?

Do you wish you could help the children and youth of these countries, but can’t because of feeling overwhelmed by the domination of this corruption?

OPERAnauts has a way. It is unconventional and it is grass-roots. It is about working with the community to produce opera — simple right? There are music festivals popping up all over the globe — an exciting way to engage the masses in the community and support art and culture. OPERAnauts wants to help youth by giving them a music festival, and we’re starting in the country where there is the greatest opportunity to make a difference: Congo.

In 2015, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was rated #8 of the top 10 most violent countries and #2 of the top 10 poorest countries in the world.

The social issue that Congolese face is a cycle of violence-poverty. We could spend pages defining that term in a research paper for you, but now is not the time for complex language. What we need is plain speech and powerful action.

The start of the cycle is violence: murder and rape, followed by grief-stricken poverty, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of hope, smuggled weapons, and greed, thereby bringing more violence and perpetuating the cycle. By the wayside are strewn the cycle’s fallout: lack of education for children, lack of trash pick-up, lack of electricity, unsanitary conditions, burned villages, oil excavation in fishing lakes, malaria, chronic air pollution, unpaid workers in the mines and army, wrongful arrests, looting, inflation, and more.

OPERAnauts brings an opera intervention.

Remember the flash mob music events we used to see on YouTube? It’s like that, but longer. A community rallies together to produce beautiful collaborative art involving dancers, singers and other musicians, composers, directors, caterers, ticket-takers, security officials, lighting technicians, set builders, and carpenters.

At the performance, the individuals in the community can relax and enjoy, perhaps experience a cathartic moment with the story, or be brought to tears by the music. In all cases, the audience sees and hears and experiences something beautiful they have never experienced before or even thought possible in their country.

This will be our response to violence.

Music is all we have to hold onto, and all we need to change the world.