With Harawi the French composer Olivier Messiaen created a moving cycle of twelve songs for soprano and piano. The cycle takes its name from a Peruvian genre of love songs which, just as in the myth of Tristan and Isolde, sing of impossible and fatal love. The fact that Messiaen’s wife was going rapidly downhill due to illness during that period makes the cycle even more moving. What makes it unique is that the composer not only set this Chant d'amour et de mort to French lyrics, but also incorporated sounds from the Quechua language into it.
Accompanied by pianist Conor Hanick, Julia Bullock sings the Peruvian onomatopoeic sounds and the French romantic lyrics. The musicians are accompanied on stage by dancers from the American Modern Opera Company, who bring the songs to life with their choreography. Together they tell a complex story in which voice and body are inextricably entwined.