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NO AI DI

Dance opera

Contemporary dance opera NO AI DI (in Sámi language noaidi, noaydde means shaman/-ess) was created based on Sámi tales and legends. It tells a story about an old shaman living in a cave, who feels that her death is approaching. Shaman is waiting until someone will hear her joik (specific form of ethnic Sámi songs), since prior to leaving this world she wants to leave her wisdom to people and share her experience one last time. The woman desires to remind people that the entire world around them is alive and possesses the spirit that shall be respected.

NO AI DI is a story about the quest for the purpose of life and the place of human being in the world, about the meaning of suffering and pain out of which the good is born. It is a reminder of lucid and innocent human nature, about the essential principle that all the big things have small beginnings. The key idea or the piece refers to the fact that we see things not as they really are, but rather as we ourselves are.

Elements of Sámi folk music are combined with modern academic music language. The mood in the music changes from the chilling roars to warm operatic cantilenas, from sounds of perishing frost to minimalist string quartets, enlivened with bells quivering in the wind, from whispers and prayers of the shamaness to joik, a specific manner of singing in Sámi music.

Composer Rita Mačiliūnaitė

Characteristic, precisely synchronised dance represented frost and cold, as well as human pursuits, suffering, spiritual coldness and the longing for warmth. Modern dance scenes did not bore, to the contrary – in the background of cold set they had captivated the audience’s attention. It was an interesting idea to perform Sámi music with a Lithuanian instrument and indeed, kanklės did not sound foreign or disrupting the overall musical style.

Simona Smirnova, Literatūra ir menas

The very beginning was truly captivating – a woman squirming in snow-covered cocoon, nearly separated from her own shadow. Lifting of action closer to the ceiling was also enjoyable. A kind of acrobatic opera. <…> Video is praiseworthy – one could nearly smell the miracles and old Russian cartoons about Eskimos and the northern wind.

Agnė Biliūnaitė, Bravissimo