Opera Prize 2020


01 / 13

Woman at Point Zero

LOD muziektheater


Woman at Point Zero is a new opera based on the classic 1975 novel by the Egyptian writer Nawal El Sadaawi. El Sadaawi describes her meeting with Firdaus, a woman on death row in Cairo, who shares her life story the night before her execution…

Burrowing into the hidden places where fear, violence and love are tangled together, Firdaus describes how she is trapped in a vicious cycle of abuse relationships, until the moment she commits a bloody crime in self-defense.

From this universal story of exploitation, erasure and the search for freedom, composer Bushra El-Turk, director Laila Soliman, writer Stacy Hardy and filmmaker Aida Elkashef create a new multimedia production that weaves together diverse creative visions and challenges conventions, to reanimate opera as a powerful voice for a new wave feminism without borders.

Intertwining lyrical poetry and genre-defying music with compelling documentary testimonies from contemporary women who committed similar acts, it presents a chorus of women’s voices — once deemed insolent, damaged, and shameful, now in the process of reclaiming and telling their own stories with wry humor, tender intimacy, and fierce freedom.

Composer BUSHRA EL-TURK, author STACY HARDY, director LAILA SOLIMAN and filmmaker AIDA ELKASHEF turn this 1975 novel into a multimedia production that collages documentary film and fiction, poetry and narrative, Western and non-Western musical traditions. Together, they form an interdisciplinary creative team of four powerful women from the Global South. They are advocates of a new politics of solidarity, wanting to decolonise and democratise opera and engage key concepts in feminist thought, namely “sisterhood,” “experience,” “community”. Their work aims to make visible what was formerly and forcefully hidden: trauma, violence, liberation, strength, and joy.


composition Bushra El-Turk
direction Laila Soliman
text based on Woman At Point Zero

by Nawal El Saadawi
libretto adaptation Stacy Hardy 

video Aida Elkashef
ensemble ZAR (recorders, classical accordeon, Japanese sho, Renaissance crumhorn, Slovenian fujara, Armenian duduk, Korean taegun, Arabic ney
2 singers tba

production LOD muziektheater

coproduction All Arias festival (deSingel Antwerpen, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, Concertgebouw Brugge, Muziekcentrum De Bijloke Gent, LOD muziektheater & Muziektheater Transparant Antwerpen), Royal Opera House London, Shubbak Festival London, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Snape Maltings UK

with the support of the TAX Shelter measure of the Belgian federal gouvernment, enoa: Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

Artistic Team

Bushra El-Turk

Bushra El-Turk


Laila Soliman

Stage Director

Aida Elkashef

Aida Elkashef

Video Artist

Co-producing Partners

Royal Opera House

United Kingdom

Shubbak Festival

United Kingdom

Snape Maltings

United Kingdom



Muziektheater Transparant


Concertgebouw Brugge



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