Peter Langmead

Operas from Zambia

Damyna Damyna the Opera: the Background

Paddy Mukando sings on stage during a performance of Damyna Damyna the Opera at the Lusaka Playhouse, header picturePaddy Mukando sings at the Lusaka Playhouse during a performance of Damyna Damyna the Opera.

Music and libretto by Peter Langmead

A girl child, Damyna, is nearly sold to her father's moneylender but is bought and brought up by her mother's friend. To avoid problems with her real son, Por Phiri, his mother ensures he believes she is his real sister, but they love each other dearly. Trouble arrives when two attractive consultants, Kati Pault and Given Chansa, arrive at their farm to 'improve' their farming skills. Por falls in love with Kati; Given Chansa falls in love with Damyna, with the help of a drunken witch doctor, who assumes Damyna and Por are really brother and sister. They all meet in a fashionable coffee house in town. Before matters get out of hand, the witch doctor corrects his mistake but is nearly foiled by Damyna's adopted mother's husband, who also looks like the witch doctor, claiming to be the father of both Damyna and Por. Damyna's adopted mother reveals her husband is not actually the father of her son, so Damyna and Por can now marry, while Damyna's high ranking and uniformed real father at the wedding also looks remarkably like the witch doctor.

The Cast: M4; F3; Kanon Choir chorus 20; Team Jiva dancers 8. Damyna: African, pretty, bright, attractive personality, happy, coy, late 20s; Por Phiri (porphyry): African, well dressed, educated, upper class, confident, 33; Given Chansa: African, tall, handsome, confident, 35; Kati Poult (catapault): European, attractive, bright, humourless, serious, 30s. Mrs Bwalya: African, matronly, confident, cheerful, engaging.

The Scenes: Act 1, Rural Zambian compound; Act 2, sophisticated French café in Lusaka, converting to cathedral interior (like Beauvais) during dance.

Orchestration: 2Fl/Picc, 2Ob/Eng Hn, 2Cl Bb/B. Cl, 2Bsn, 2Hn F, 2Tpt Bb; B.D., Cym, Whist, Tri, Sogo, W.R., W.B., Marimba; Hp, Pno; S Solo, M-S Solo, C Solo (2), Bar. Solo, T Solo, B Solo (2), SATB 1, SATB 2; Solo Vc, Vn I (6), Vn II (6), Vla (4), Vc (2), Cb (1). (Note, Marimba imitates a local instrument.)

Some soloists and singers in the chorus

Some of the performers reheasing at the Ngoma Dolce Music Academy Here are some of the chorus members and soloists practicing Damyna Damyna the Opera at the Dolce Ngoma Music Academy. From the left, Portia Imbula, Chrispin Lindunda, Stanley Musowe, Lulu Imbula, Dude Mubuyaeta, Catherine Mukupa and Maria Kandy Kachiza.

One of the dance captains

Morris Fenete on the cover of T%he Bulletin Fenete working in Vasilis cafe
So you think you can dance? Here is Morris Fenete, one of the dance captains, out on his elbow, and playing with a computer.

And Michael Malambo, Choreographer

Michael Malambo, Choreographer

Best regards,

Peter Langmead


Langmead & Baker Ltd is the producer company based in Lusaka, Zambia. I have to say, there is just nothing that compares with putting on a performance of an opera, nothing at all. I prefer to use Final Draft for writing scripts, but you can also use Celtx.

The Next Movie

The script is prepared for my next movie and pre-production is in progress. This is the most time-consuming part of filmmaking and production is expected to begin at the end of the year,