New opera explores the tragic journey of migrants to Europe

January 6, 2023

On 21st of December, at Teatro dal Verme in Milan, the world premiere of the concert version of “Winter Journey”, composed by Ludovico Einaudi and text by Colm Toibin, was performed by a sixty piece orchestra with Jonathan Moore narrating.

Moore is an award-winning writer / director, and long-time supporter of the Jesuits in Britain. He and Einaudi are long-term collaborators on many projects, and both visited Farm Street Church in London (home of the British Jesuits) last year and were moved by the beauty of the church and the London Jesuit Centre which is next door.

The world premiere of Winter Journey was given in 2019 at Teatro Massimo in Palermo, and it will be seen next year at Teatro San Carlo in Naples. The concert version of the opera given before Christmas was reportedly a triumph in front of a packed 1,600 seater concert hall and received a 7-minute standing ovation from an audience who were cheering and moved to tears.

Commenting on the performance, Einaudi said: "It is a like prayer of purification, a message of hope and solidarity for all the people that are suffering around the world."

Moore previously volunteered at the Jesuit Refugee Service UK in Wapping, where with Associate Director, Fr John Moffat SJ, he ran drama workshops for refugee friends and directed and devised a piece with the group about their experiences. Ever since, the refugee cause has been close to his heart.

Moore says: "Most of us know of the cold, tragic facts around the refugee crisis. But the concert was proof yet again, if it were needed, that the arts can reach the parts other things cannot. The Jesuits have always understood this throughout their history: they can reach the places that Ignatius himself recognised as being of primary importance to the soul : emotions and feelings."

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