Nigeria: Muson Festival Glams Up October

18 October 2019

All is set for this year's edition o the Music Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Festival which is an annual week of super-charged performances, conversations and powerful artistry. From dance to orchestral music, the festival which is in its 23rd year has been a mix-bag of creativity drawn from music, drama and visual arts. Initially conceived as a mini-festival in the mid-90s, the festival has morphed into a full-scale project that features classical music concerts, art exhibitions, art auctions and masterclasses.

At a press conference held at MUSON Centre, Onikan, the Vice Chairman, MUSON, Louis Mbanefo revealed that two distinguished international artistes Walter-Micheal Vollhardt, a visiting conductor of the orchestral and another international virtuoso, Nigerian-Romanian Painist, Rebeca Omordia will participate in this festival. Mbanefo described the festival as the rallying point for the realisation of artistic dreams and a socio-cultural venue.

"The festivals have pointed the way to the path that MUSON is destined to follow, namely to become the centre for all the arts at the highest level and the premier venue for the arts in West Africa," he said.

The festival's curtain raiser is "MUSIC meets Art", an art exhibition in partnership with the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) at the Shell Hall on October 16. The next day, the animated music conversation session called "My Kind of Music" will feature select personalities such as Mrs. Dupe Ajayi, HRH Erelu Dosumu Abiola, Mr. Akinmolu Opeodu and Mr Babatunde Ajijedidun.

On Friday October 18, the Danjuma Festival Opera titled, "Don Pasquale" by Gaetano Donizeti will hold the Lagos audience spell-bound at the close of work inside the Agip Recital Hall.

One of the most anticipated specials at the festival is the Chevron Festival Drama. This year, a two-hander protest play, "What's Dis All About?" directed by Toyin Oshinaike will be performed on Saturday October 19 and Sunday October 20 at the Agip Recital Hall. According to the director, the play is a Nigerian adaptation of the classic anti-apartheid themed political satire, "Woza Albert" which premiered at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1981. It was written by Mbongeni Ngema, Percy Mtwa and Barney Simon. Incidentally, Oshinaike had performed in the play as a member of a Repertory Theatre.

"My attempt is not only to showcase a satirical commentary on the "Common Nigerians" but also to present in caricature form, the critical issues of survival in a state of political and economic depression which have grossly deprecated our moral values and conscience," the director explained.

On why this adaptation is timely, Oshinaike showed how the repressive apartheid regime in South Africa mirrors the socio-economic and political realities in Nigeria.

"Politicians want change-but only in their pockets! And this must change," he added.

Produced by African Radio Drama Association (ARDA) and performed by OneSix Productions, the play with two runs daily is based on the hilarious idea of the coming of a messiah to Nigeria and the bizzare expectations of the common man for a better life.

The MUSON School Alumni Concert will feature a musical titled, "Igbeyawo" on Monday October 21 in the morning and evening. A glamourous International Cultural Night that parades dances from China, Azerbaijan, Brazil and Columbia is slated for October 23 and the following day, Rebeca Omordia and MUSON artistes on the bill of Fourchiefs Media UK will thrill the audience.

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