Days and Nights of the Heart Tree

Days and Nights  of the Heart Tree is an opera by Tarik Benouarka, composer and Librettist, an original creation at the junction of oriental and occidental influences that mixes classical symphonic music and arabic song and poetry.

– A short opera, a symphonic work;
– A lyrical, poetical, instrumental show of an hour and a half, staged and choreographed.

Written to be sung in Arabic, it associates:

– Classical music;
– Lyrical singing;
– Poetry;
– Dance.

by staging a symphony orchestra( or sound track), two great lyrical voices, a narrator, a classical choir, a ballet of 5 contemporary dancers and a video scenography.

This work is a legend, tender and full of hope, that passionately evokes the love of life and the inner self… the intimate companion of each of us…

Videos, photos and music samples

Days and Nights of the Heart Tree – Teaser spectacle

Days and Nights of the Heart Tree – Teaser Recording Davout

Days and Nights of the Heart Tree – Making of Davout recording

The libretto

The work is a legend full of hope.

In this ode to life, two persons will meet in the same dream.

Then begin an imaginary journey to the sources of their inner self…

“There is only the heart that sees…”

The narrative evokes the beauty of this inner world, this vast country of the heart, an intimate companion of every being that finds its meaning in sharing and harmony. At the center of the story, the Heart Tree symbolizes the road to wisdom in front of life fragility.

The two heroes’ songs will be mixed with the narrator poems, witness of their quest.

Theme & Story

At the confines of space is an area of peace surrounded only by emptiness, a valley suspended in a deep cosmos that the ancients called Far.

There, solitary and majestic, a tree of unknown essence grows, the Heart Tree, with powers and virtues so great that nature chose to hide them.

In front of this mysterious world, time, incarnated in the body of a wind, is waiting bent and wailing, held captive as in the sails of a ship, by immense forces until the Heart Tree consented to bear fruit… A heart-shaped fruit… as rare as life. A heart, sensitive and beating, that could be taken by whoever could reach it… So, freed, the big wheel resumed its mad rush, taking everything in its wake, within the time of a season, before the fruit falls or is picked and that immutable cycle ends in absolute immobility. The Heart Tree was the keeper of the shrine where no being, no force could enter except in dream, because it was an imaginary world. And that day, announced by the birth of a strange light, came.

Nour, arriving hesitant and confused, approaches the tree, attracted by that supernatural and mesmerising heart. But, at the moment he is about to seize it, Amal appears, just as lost and fearful, pleading to share the treasure. She and he came from far away, survivors of a world of stars once glorious and bright, but now extinct. The tree, and it was the only time he did, consented. The heart separated into two parts so that each of them could exist. At that moment, before all the muses of creation, the two stars gave back their eternity, and their outlook on the world would change forever… They wanted to live, to be, to exist!… Just for the time of a dream… To taste, even for a few days and nights, all the beautiful and essential feelings associated with the beginning and end of things: The Emotions of Life.

The score

The score brings together opera singing in arabic and symphonic music with romantic and oriental accents.

The orchestration highlights each instrument on a journey through tonality and melody that intertwines with the participation and harmonic punctuations of a classical choir.

The author

Tarik Benouarka
Composer.Librettist.Spectacles and Opera Creator

“Embrace of classical music and arabic poetry”

Born in Algiers , with both arabic and french culture, he started music at the age of 4, influenced by his mother, a pianist who made him discover famous classical and arabic composers. After Agiers conservatoire, he completed his learning in France, Paris.

Multi-instrumentalist (piano, the arab lute and percussions instruments), Tarik will be passionate about all contemporary musical forms, building through his experiences his style and symphonist language before entering the opera world in which he expresses all his passions : Music, poetry, song, dramaturgy and all scenic arts.

Poet and playwright, his career is influenced by his double culture, both oriental and occidental that inspires his musical and artistic path.

“Days and Nights of the Heart Tree” is his second opera

Some creations examples :

-El Nafas: Opera tragedy in arabic in 2 acts and its oratorio version
-Sinbad, Son of the Wind : Opera for children in arabic
-Endless Story: Musical spectacle in english and arabic
-Music creation of The Wyld, musical show of Thierry Mugler for the Friedrish-Palast in Berlin
-Narâm Legend: oratorio for organ, 2 voices and a choir
-Ramâd: Lyrical poems for 2 pianos, a viola d’amore and a voice
-Silencio: Concerto for oboe and orchestra
-Music creation of The 3 Voices Cantata of Paul Claudel: musical theater  

Work in progress :

-Djamila: Opera in 2 acts
-Qais Wa Leila: Arabic fresco, Opera

The Cast

The work was created for​ : 

– ​a symphony orchestra​
– two great Arabic voices​
– ​a narrator or storyteller​
– a ballet of 5 contemporary dancers​ ​
– and a classical choir​.

​The voices​ :
​​A ​Soprano ​as ​Amal​, ​with ​​Racha Rizk​, ​Syri​an singer for the work creation​.​
​​A T​enor ​as ​​Nour​, ​first interpreted by​ ​Ragaa Eldin, ​​Egyptian ​tenor.​
Songs are punctuated with poetic narrator’s interventions, witness to the plot. Respectively Assem Nagaty and Fares El Helou stood for narrator/storyteller in Cairo Opera and Paris Salle Gaveau.​ The narrator is a comedian, in Arabic or local language depending on venue. ​

​The orchestra : 
We propose different formulas

A great french symphonic orchestra
As for example Ensemble Sequentiae, Pasdeloup Orchestra…to be discussed.

A track record version
with Pasdeloup Orchestra recording with conductor Olivier Holt: very high quality still lighter musical version, ideal for a ballet spectacle.

According to venues, events and circumstances we can study and perform with any other ​orchestra options and specifically local one. Thus, the premiere in Cairo Opera​ – ​September 2015​ – ​was interpreted by Al Nour Wal Amal, a unique Orchestra of Egyptian blind women.

The choir :
​We propose “L’​E​nsemble Sequentiae” under the direction of Mathieu Bonnin. We can study other choir possibilities among which local one.

​The ballet​ :
A ballet of 5 dancers participated to the work creation in a contemporary choreography of Adriana Mortelliti : Fanny Sage (as Amal), Utku Bal (as Nour), Melodie Caillieret, Anthony Delamotte and Rebecca Stampfli (as the 3 muses)

Staging and Scenography

All elements : orchestra, singers, narrator, dancers, video, lighting and scenography are invited on stage to tell this eternal story.

Echoing the miscegenation of the music, the characters will be divided and embodied by both singers, dancers and video actors, presenting the heroes in different realities.

Fantasy, including that of the Heart Tree, will unfold through scalable video graphics projected on a large screen, representing a passage between the worlds.

Gilbert Désveaux
Stage Director

Alain Lagarde
Video creator and costume designer

Adriana Mortelliti

Type of Productions

Ballet-Opera with Symphony ​Orchestra

Days and Nights of the Heart Tree is a Ballet-Opera which was created in its original form in Cairo Opera in September 2015, with a Symphony Orchestra, a ballet and the video scenography.

Opera with S​ymphony ​O​rchestra

The work can also be performed without the ballet, as it was created in November 2015 in Paris Salle Gaveau. The spectacle includes nevertheless striking video scenography and staging.

Ballet with sound track

A version with sound track can also be proposed, with Pasdeloup Orchestra recording with conductor Olivier Holt: a very high quality still lighter musical version​, ideal for a ballet spectacle.

Recital piano and voice

We can propose a recital version: piano with one lyrical voice (tenor or soprano). It is specially adapted for concerts in ​more intimate​ venues.

Premiere in Cairo Opera in september 2015

Premiere was performed in Cairo Opera in september 2015 in its original Ballet-Opera form with tenor Ragaa Eldin, soprano Dalia Fadel, Assem Nagaty as the narrator, George Kolta choir and Al Nour Wal Amal Orchestra, a unique orchestra of blind egyptian musicians with conductor Mohamed Saad Basha.

Staging : Gilbert Désveaux – Video Creator and costume designer : Alain Lagarde – Choreography : Adriana Mortelliti​


Les Jours et les Nuits de l'Arbre Coeur - teaser spectacle Le Caire
Les Jours et les Nuits de l'Arbre Coeur - répétitions choré graphie
Les Jours et les Nuits de l'Arbre Coeur - présentation El Nour Wal Amal

​​We want to especially thank our sponsors for their support of the first performance​ of Days and Nights of the Heart Tree in Cairo Opera.

Paris Salle Gaveau performance in november 2015

The work was then performed in its concertante version( without ballet) in Paris Salle Gaveau in november 2015, showing the famous syrian soprano Racha Rizk, the egyptian tenor Ragaa Eldin, Fares El Helou as narrator, Ensemble Sequentia choir with conductor Mathieu Bonnin and once again the Al Nour Wal Amal Orchestra, this unique egyptian blind women orchestra​.

Staging : Gilbert Désveaux – Video Creator and costume designer : Alain Lagarde


Days and Nights of the Heart Tree - Gaveau performance teaser

​We want to especially thank our sponsors for their support of this Gaveau performanc​e.

In the press

“This work is like a UFO in the world of opera. But the synthesis it offers of Arabic lyrics and touches of oriental music scattered throughout the opera around an aria/recitative structure and the use of resolutely western tonality is convincing. Not to be missed“
Avant Choeur – jan 16

“A meeting of worlds , influences and styles for a breathtaking performance consistent with the cultural scope offered by the Arab world and fusion with its neighbours”
Le Courrier de l’Atlas – nov 15

“A quest for love but also the discovery of the Other and the inner harmony of human beings, against a background of music whose oriental savours are combined with a certain romanticism”
Le Monde – sep 15

“Tarik Benouarka’s orchestration is largely derived from romantic orientalist atmospheres…the shadow of Rimski- Korsakov is never very far”
La terrasse – sep 15

“This exceptional work blends together symphonic classical music, poetry and Arabic operatic singing.”
Le Monde Diplomatique – nov 15

Sharing and Opening

In a commitment and desire to transmit and share, Tarik Benouarka and his producer accompany their creations with an introduction and education to music and the creative world.

Eg; At the premiere of the opera El Nafas in Algiers, 400 children were gathered for a discovery of opera music, instruments and artists.

The collaborative project with El Nour Wal Amal, a unique orchestra of egyptian blind women, for which the work was created at the beginning, included the component of a Master Class, a training that aimed to optimise the preparation of the orchestra for the stage. Professional coaching has been provided to the musicians within a quality framework :

– Program of courses, workshops and work on the cohesion and sound of the orchestra
– Advice and guidance for the conductor in preparation for the performance of the work

Coaching Al Nour Wal Amal par T. Benouarka