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Alexina B.

World premiere of this new opera by Raquel García-Tomás staged by Marta Pazos

“I am twenty-five and, though I am still young, I am undoubtedly approaching the fatal end of my existence. I have suffered deeply, and I have suffered alone, abandoned by everyone!”, Mes souvenirs, Herculine Barbin

Inspiration for this opera comes from the story of Adélaïde Herculine Barbin, also known as Alexina B., an intersex person born in France in 1838. Her testimony provides moving and fertile input for the sound universe of Raquel García Tomás, the winner of the 2020 National Award for Music.

Alexina was assigned the female sex at birth and grew up in a convent. Later, when working as a teacher, she fell in love with a female companion. In a society where accepting differences was a complex matter and heterosexuality was the norm, Alexina re-defined herself as a man and changed her legal sex and identity to become Abel Barbin. Unable to adapt, however, she was reduced to solitude and ultimately killed herself.

This striking tale forces us to examine ourselves as a community and to see the damage our condemnations cause. It reveals the violence of religious and medical institutions and of a heteronormative society which permits neither self-assertion nor self-determination outside gender and sex binarism. With a libretto by Irène Gayraud and sets by Marta Pazos (who worked with García-Tomás on Je suis narcissiste, 2019), this three-act opera tells of a struggle for identity which, for Alexina, ends in a veritable leap into the void.

With the exclusive sponsorship of:

Alexina B.
World premiere
Libretto by: Irène Gayraud, inspired by the memoirs of Hérculine Barbin (also known as Alexina B.), Mes Souvenirs (France, 1868). 

Project carried out thanks to the Fundación BBVA's Leonardo Grant for Cultural Researchers and Creators, 2020

  • Approximate running time 2h

Artistic profile

Stage director
Marta Pazos
Set design
Max Glaenzel
Costume design
Silvia Delagneau
Lighting
Nuno Meira
Coreography
María Cabeza de Vaca
Video
Raquel García-Tomás
Sound
Sixto Cámara
Production
Gran Teatre del Liceu

Cast

ALEXINA BARBIN / ABEL BARBINLídia Vinyes-Curtis
SARAAlicia Amo
POLICEMAN / MADAME P. / ALEXINA'S MOTHER / SISTER MARIE DES ANGESElena Copons
DOCTOR GOUJON / THE DOCTOR / DOCTOR H. / THE ABBOT/ MONSEIGNEUR/ THE JUDGEXavier Sabata
YOUNG ALEXINA / LÉA / CONVENT PUPIL / BOARDING SCHOOL PUPILMar Esteve
CONVENT PUPILS / BOARDING SCHOOL PUPILSCor Vivaldi-Petits Cantors de Catalunya
Cor Vivaldi-Petits Cantors de Catalunya (Òscar Boada, conductor)
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Conductor
Josep Pons

March 2023

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