Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A baker's opera

It's part Romeo and Juliet and part Tosca but supposedly the story, or some version of it, is true.

Safikada, a Muslim girl of Banja Luka fell in love with a Christian boy, supposedly a soldier stationed at the fortress by the river. Her father blew his stack over that and forbid a union and so, faced with life without her true love, she did the only thing she could think of to do and that was to walk in front of a canon just as it was being fired to mark the end of the Ramadan month of fasting and the call to feast. She did not survive, her boyfriend did not rescue her at the last minute, her father did not have to suffer grandchildren raised outside the mosque.

Her grave has turned into a shrine for the broken-hearted in the city; their  burning candles have left a crust of melted wax on the stone sarcophagus.

OK, true she didn't leap of the fortress like Tosca and her Romeo never did reciprocate with a loving suicide, and I can't figure out how come the guys setting of the canon didn't see her or stop her... but this does have melodramatic, operatic possibility.

And that is what a Banja Luka baker thought. The owner of Arion Bakery actually is a musician who has continued the  family business he inherited. And he's written Safikada, the opera. I would like to hear it because he certainly makes a mean spicy ham sandwich.

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