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  • Dorothée Jourdain

Spoleto to premiere Layale Chaker's new opera, Ruinous Gods

The new opera work of Layale Chaker, Ruinous Gods, commissioned by Spoleto Festival USA, Opera Wuppertal and Nederlandse Reisopera, will be created in Charleston in May 2024.

Photo credits: Anna Rakhvalova

About the work

Ruinous Gods: Suites for Sleeping Children is an opera about displaced children who have uppgivenhetssyndrom, resignation syndrome, a rare trauma response to the state of living in the limbo of displacement.

Until recently, uppgivenhetssyndrom was only diagnosed in Sweden but it is now evident in several refugee camps around the world. The sufferer, once vibrant and alive, falls and into a non-responsive sleep. One survivor describes it as “being trapped in a glass box” (The New Yorker*).

Based on testimonies from survivors and families of those afflicted by the syndrome, this opera explores how mass displacement creates a culture of trauma. In resistance to the many dystopian narratives in popular culture, this opera fantasia creates space for imagination and agency.

More details in our composer's catalogue

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