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3 Thousand RIVERS: Voices in the Forest


Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

3 Thousand RIVERS: Voices in the Forest

Sung in Portuguese and Spanish with English subtitles 


3 thousand RIVERS: Voices in the Forest is a multimedia opera that offers a perspective on the social and environmental destruction of the rainforests through the lens of people living in the Amazon in Colombia and Brazil. The work has been developed in close partnership with indigenous communities along some of the main rivers in the Putumayo, Caquetá, Chocó and Pará to hear the voices of those who suffer these impacts first hand. Victor Gama's first full-length multimedia opera is based on the late Colombian anthropologist Roberto Franco's book Cariba Malo. It describes the story of a white settler who in 1967 forced a violent encounter with the Yuri, an indigenous people who live in voluntary isolation in the Puré river in the Colombian Amazon. A family was taken hostage by the army and detained for months in La Pedrera. Through the intervention of a French journalist and pressures from the international community, Caraballo, the head of the family (named by his captors because he resembled a famous Colombian boxer) managed to free himself and his family and return to the tribe's malouca. The Yuri remain in voluntary isolation to this day. 3 thousand Rivers was supported by environmental and artist's organizations Amazon Conservation Team Colombia, Mas Arte Mas Acción and Flora ars+natura, commissioned by the Prince Claus Fund and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and produced by PangeiArt.



Idia: Yetzabel Arias Fernandez - soprano

Menesthos: Betty Garces – soprano


Idia and Menesthos are two Oceanides who sing the nature of the forest, their rivers and their current dramas and simultaneously assume the role of some of the testimonies of the forest dwellers. They represent the resistance and the worldview of the peoples originating in the Amazon and who have lived there sustainably for thousands of years.


In Greek and Roman mythology, Oceanides are the ocean nymphs, daughters of Oceanus and Thetis and inhabit the deep and inaccessible seas. The Oceanides had 3,000 rivers as their offspring, thus embodying the fecundity of the water that feeds all animals and forms the sap of all plants.


Auka: Waira Nina Jacanamijoy 

traditional Inga chant


In the Inga worldview, an Amazonian people currently living in Colombia, the Aukas are invisible beings that inhabit the forest. The Aukas can observe all without being seen, are transparent therefore, and only manifest and become visible when they so wish.


Caraballo: Jaime Lopez Kiriyateke 

Murui-Muina traditional song


In a first contact with a tribe in voluntary isolation in the Park of the Pure River in 1969, a family was taken hostage by the army and retained for months in La Pedrera. Caraballo, the head of the family (named by his captors because he resembled a famous Colombian boxer) managed to free himself and his family and return to the tribe's malouca who remain in voluntary isolation to this day.

Acts and Scenes


Act I: The Minotaur Labyrinth

Scene 1

A Dragon on the Loose

Scene 2

The Dance of the Minotaur

Scene 3

Forest Diaries #1

Scene 4

The Song of the Dart Frog

Scene 5

A Home in the Forest

Scene 6

Forest diaries #2


Act II: The Putumayo

Scene 7

Two towers

Scene 8

La Reina


Act III: The Caquetá

Scene 9

La Wairasasha

Scene 10

Cariba Malo

Scene 11

The Stranded Jaguar

Scene 12

The Empire Gates

Scene 13

Yadiko dance

Scene 14

This is my Kingdom



Victor Gama is an Angolan composer, artist and researcher, whose practice combines scientific methodologies and digital mediums together with traditional practice and non-western systems of knowledge often from his home country.


Gama holds an MA in Digital Organology and Music Technology from Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University and is currently phD candidate at KASK & Conservatorium / School of Arts Gentin Belgium. His musical compositions are expansive works that bring together diverse mediums such as music, photography, video, field recording and the design of contemporary musical instruments and sound installations.


He frequently collaborates with Institutes and Universities, including the Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University, the Centre for Arts Science and Technology at MIT and the Institute for International Study at Indiana University.


Gama has been commissioned to compose for some of the world's most prestigious ensembles and institutions such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C., the Prince Claus Fund, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.


He designed instruments and installations for the National Museums of Scotland, the Tenement Museum in New York, the Royal Opera House in London, the Clay Centre for Science and the Performing Arts in West Virginia, among others.


His most recent major music score was the multimedia opera 3 thousand RIVERS - Voices in the Forest commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund and staged at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, the Grand Auditorium at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and at Teatro Roberto Arias Perez in Bogota.


The Poet Tree, commissioned for the Parque dos Poetas by the Municipality of Oeiras in Lisbon is part of Gama's current focus on developing content driven public art installations with unique mobile interactive applications.

Creative Team

Composer: Victor Gama

Libretto: based on Roberto Franco's book Cariba Malo

Libretto adaptation: Victor Gama

Conductor: Rui Pinheiro

Stage Director: Otelo Lapa

Costume design: Carla Fernandez

Sow control: Rui Peralta

Lighting: Jeff Dubois

Sound engineers: Paulo Machado, Tiago Jónatas

Video and photography: Victor Gama, Rui Peralta

Recorded with the Orquestra Gulbenkian

Commissioned by Prince Claus Fund and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Supported by Amazon Conservation Team Colombia, Flora Ars + Natura, Mas Arte Mas Acción

Produced by PangeiArt


Yetzabel Arias Fernandez (soprano)

Betty Garcés (soprano)

Waira Nina Jacanamijoy (Inga singer)

Jaime Lopez Kiriyateke (Muruí-Muina singer)

Pedro Ojeda (percussion)

Urian Sarmiento (percussion)

Salomé Pais Matos (toha)

Victor Gama (toha, acrux, dino)


Venue Partners:


The content of this programme does not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region provides funding support to the Caravanserais - Sonic Ecology only, but does not otherwise take part in it.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the materials/activities (or by members of the GRANTEE’s team) are those of the organisers of Caravanserais - Sonic Ecology only and do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

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