EFFEA Story: Katharine Dain

Residency of Katharine Dain, presented by Wonderfeel in partnership with Istanbul Music Festival & Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Katharine Dain@Foppe Schut

The story of our EFFEA project begins at the end of 2022 when the artistic team behind the second edition of They Have Waited Long Enough first convened on Zoom. This team included composers Aida Shirazi, Kate Moore, and Meriç Artaç, soprano and EFFEA Artist Katharine Dain, journalist and activist Ece Temelkuran, and festival directors Efruz Çakırkaya and Tamar Brüggemann. Katharine's involvement in the project from the very beginning was different from the traditional singer's role. She is actively engaged in the creation of lyrics and music alongside the composers and librettist. Together, we explored the characters of three new songs: Şahmaran, Kassia, and Suat Derviş from Anatolian, Byzantine, and Turkish history, respectively. After Ece and the three composers wrote the songs, the first two performances were at Istanbul Music Festival (TUR) on 14 June, followed by two performances at Wonderfeel on 21 and 22 July in 's-Graveland (NL) and the last on 26 November 2023 at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK). Kathrine's involvement in the creation of the three songs added to the deep emotional resonance of her performances.

Katharine's performance at Istanbul's Basilica Cistern during the 51st Istanbul Music Festival was a highlight of the residency. The historic venue provided an unforgettable backdrop for the project's powerful stories. It was a privilege to rehearse in Istanbul with the Nemeth Quartet and the three solo-instrumentalists and have time to find a common interpretation for the three songs. Spending time together, walking through the city, eating and chatting brought about a deepening of the collaboration, which translated into the performances. The performance in the Bsilica Cistern is recorded on video.

Ece Temelkuran, unlike in Istanbul because of her activism, was able to be present at Wonderfeel and introduce both performances. The festival's guest curator, Efruz Çakırkaya, ensured the seamless integration of the production into the festival's Turkey-focused programming. This performance was recorded by the Dutch Radio company Radio Klassiek.

Katharine Dain 1@Onur Çakin

Katharine's performance at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival was another highlight as it is one of the leading venues for contemporary music in Europe. Moreover, BBC Radio 3 attended the festival, recorded the performance and interviewed Katharine about They Have Waited Long Enough. After the residency in Istanbul and the performances in the Netherlands and the UK, Katharine Dain reflected on the transformative impact of the project, writing that the involvement in the development of They Have Waited Long Enough meant and still means a lot to her, affecting how she looks at her career and influencing her artistic expression.

Please do watch the video we made at Wonderfeel to hear more about it from Katharine herself.

Collaborating with festivals like Istanbul Music Festival and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival has also raised Katharine's international profile. We are looking forward to the third They Have Waited Long Enough cycle in 2025, which will be dedicated to witches. In April, we will have our first conversation with librettist Natalie Haynes.

by Tamar Brüggemann