In 1969 a white settler 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.

Victor Gama's 3 thousand Rivers tells the drama of the social and environmental destruction of the Amazon through the lens of people living in the front lines. His first full-length opera was commissioned by the Prince Claus Fund and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

mulher Yuri

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)

Guest singer: Carla Bernardino/Té Macedo

Composer: Victor Gama

Libretto after the book by: Roberto Franco

Conductor: Rui Pinheiro

Stage Director: Otelo Lapa

Costume design: Carla Fernandez

Sow control: Rui Peralta

Lighting: Jeff Dubois

Sound engineers: Paulo Machado/Tiago Jónatas

Recorded with the Orquestra Gulbenkian

Commissioned by: Prince Claus Fund and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Supported by: Amazon Conservation Team


La Reina

Narrates the story of the Tucuruí hydroelectric dam in the Amazonian state of Pará Brazil. The dam flooded and swallowed an entire forest when it was built decades ago but today, many dead trees stand above the water, their bare branches testimony to how, year after year, the lake is gradually drying up.

The Dance of the Minotaur

Idia and Menestho sing about the Global Minotaur - wild capitalism - which in its insatiable search for resources, energy and raw materials, destroys everything in its wake in the rain forests they inhabit.

La Wairasasha

Based on a short story written by Waira Nina Jacanamijoi, the narrative follows an Auca who is watching over a child who walks through the forest and reaches the Yurayaco River.

She bends over and sees reflections of her ancestors on the surface of the water.

Performed and sung by Waira Nina.

Dos Torres (Two Towers)

This movement is a homage to Taita Marcelino Chincunque and the work he does with ambiwaska (yagê) and other medicinal and sacred plants which he grows in his garden. A ceremony was held for us at Taita Javier Lasso's Malouca at Laguna de La Cocha. While at La Cocha we also followed Father Alvaro Nuñes to his masses in the communities on the banks of the lagoon.

Forest Diaries #1 and Song of the Dart Frog

A group of fishermen from a village on the Pacific coast of Colombia are trying to avoid being detected by both the army and guerrilla forces. They were caught in Panama waters and put in prison for a year on just a bowl of rice a day. Industrial fishing bottom trawling across the ocean floor are destroying the livelihood of communities and the environment.

A Home in the Forest

Idyia takes on the role of a multinational company, threatening to evict and even murder community leaders who oppose entry into their territory. Finally Menestho, who takes on the role of one of these leaders, enters the scene and confronts the multinational.

Cariba Malo

Based on the book by Colombian anthropologist Roberto Franco, entitled 'Cariba Malo' and what it reveals about the communities of inhabitants from the Amazon who chose to live isolated from societies that formed after and as a result of European colonization. This movement is musically inspired by a repetitive shamanic chant from the Uitoto community of Puerto Berlin (with their permission), on the banks of the Caquetá River in the Colombian Amazon.