Desdemona by Toni Morrison

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The story of Desdemona from Shakespeare's Othello is re-imagined by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré, and acclaimed stage director Peter Sellars. Morrison's response to Sellars’ 2009 production of Othello is an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. Morrison gives voice and depth to the female characters, letting them speak and sing in the fullness of their hearts. Desdemona is an extraordinary narrative of words, music and song about Shakespeare’s doomed heroine, who speaks from the grave about the traumas of race, class, gender, war — and the transformative power of love. Toni Morrison transports one of the most iconic, central, and disturbing treatments of race in Western culture into the new realities and potential outcomes facing a rising generation of the 21st century.

About Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), Paradise and, most recently, Home. She has also received the National Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction. In addition to Desdemona her theatrical work includes writing the text for Margaret Garner (music composed by Richard Danielpour) and Dreaming Emmett, an published play directed by Gilbert Moses and performed at the Marketplace Capitol Repertory Theater of Albany. Ms. Morrison has written lyrics for Kathleen Battle (commissioned by Carnegie Hall), Sylvia McNair, Jessye Norman, and Andre Previn. Ms. Morrison founded the Princeton Atelier which for fifteen years has brought actors, composers, writers, and artists of all genres together to work with students on the artists' own projects. Several of her novels including The Bluest Eye have been adapted for the stage.Rokia Traoré is a Victoires de la Musique award-winning Malian singer, songwriter and guitarist.Peter Sellars is one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the performing arts in America and abroad. A visionary artist, Sellars is known for his groundbreaking interpretations of classic works.
Published July 18, 2012 by Oberon Books Ltd.. 96 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Desdemona

San Francisco Chronicle

This Tuesday Oct.11, 2011 photo provided Friday Oct.14, 2011 by the Theatre des Amandiers, singer Rokia Traore, of Mali, left, performs in Desdemona, directed by American director Peter Sellars, at the Amandier theater in Nanterre, outside Paris.

Oct 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Desdemona


She has a lovely voice, and you easily understand why her tunes, a sweet mix of African folk songs and New Age music, are so popular.

Oct 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Desdemona

LA Times

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The work is the astonishing result of director Peter Sellars inviting the American novelist and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and an African singer-songwriter from Mali, Rokia Traoré, to fill in the blanks in “Othello.” In a ritual of spellbinding beauty, staged by Sellars, these two women, of di...

Oct 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Desdemona

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