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Thumbprint (2014)  

commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and the HERE Arts Center for the PROTOTYPE Festival
First performance at Baruch College, NY


THUMBPRINT, a 90-minute contemporary opera-theatre work by Kamala Sankaram and Susan Yankowitz, is inspired by the experiences of Mukhtar Mai, the first female victim of gang rape to bring her male attackers to justice in Pakistan. In lieu of a financial settlement, Mai requested the construction of schools for girls. She hoped to educate the young to help prevent the humiliation of signing their name with only a thumbprint.

The libretto originates from a series of interviews with Mai, and explores the deep family ties and tribal traditions that led up to an astonishing act of courage. The score is a dynamic collision of Hindustani and European opera influences with an ensemble of six singers and six instrumentalists, featuring flute, violin and viola, upright bass, piano/harmonium, and percussion (drums and tabla). 

DURATION: 90 minutes
SCORING: soprano, soprano, mezzo, tenor, baritone, baritone, flute, violin, viola, bass, piano/harmonium, drum kit/ Indian percussion