A CUBAN composer based in Knaphill is looking for a local producer and musicians to stage an operetta she wrote during the coronavirus lockdown.

The work, by award-winning concert pianist Eralys Fernandez, had its world premiere at the National Theatre in Havana in February this year.

Now, Eralys would like to put on the operetta, St Camila of Old Havana, at a venue in the Woking area with local musicians.

The operetta is based on a play regarded as a classic of Cuban literature that was written in 1962 in the early days of communist rule.

It tells the story of a highly religious woman who finds it difficult to adapt to life in revolutionary Cuba in contrast to her boyfriend, who happily accepts the new order.

Eralys said she wrote the operetta because her work was on hold during the pandemic restrictions.

“Camilla, the main character, lives in Old Havana and doesn’t want to change,” she said.

“it’s all about change and transformation and the power that the new political and social movement brought to the Cuban people, especially women.”

Eralys, who has lived in Knaphill for 15 years, said it took her a year to compose the operetta and she got up at 4am on most days to work on it. The libretto was written by Isabella Perez, a fellow Cuban expat who is studying philosophy and creative writing at Bath University.

The music has influences from European and traditional Cuban sounds, combined with Afro-Cuban rhythms to evoke the Old Havana slum known as a solar, which is the backdrop to the story.

The production in Havana featured singers from the Opera Theatre and the national radio and television orchestra.

Eralys studied at the Guillermo Tomas Music Conservatoire, the Amadeo Roldan Conservatoire and the Cuban Higher Institute of Arts.She was a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra and won a number of prizes, including the Cuban National Union of Writers Award for the best interpretation of Cuban music.

She moved to Britain to study for a Masters in Advanced Pianoatthe Royal College of Music inLondon and later studied harpsichord at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 

Eralys has played in Britain, Cuba and Brazil and has composed operas. She has formed a theatre company called Mini Operas for Mini People to encourage young children to listen to and perform classical and operatic music and has written puppet operas which have been performed at festivals and in theatres.

She was the musical director for a recent performance of The Essential Fairy Queen by the Woking Baroque Opera Ensemble at St Saviour’s Church, Brookwood.

Now, she wants to bring her operetta to the area after a successful premiere in Havana.

“I’ve got some singers but that’s not enough. I am seeking the right location, a musical ensemble and sponsors to make this a reality,” Eralys said.

* FOR more information, email [email protected] or visit www.eralysfernandez.com.