Babelim is an invented term to denote the way we would communicate before there was language. It is made of sounds, images, movements, spoken/sung/danced through the stones, plants, animals and humans. It was lost in time and in the rush to grow up. But the babies and their mothers, they still speak it.

Babelim is an open work that combines contemplative scenes with participatory moments. It is born out of work exploring, experiencing and researching with parents and babies, teachers and artists, that over the course of four years have shared in the different stages of the Opus Tutti project. In particular, this builds on the workshops Afinação do Ouvir (Tuning of Listening) e Afinação do Brincar (Tuning of Playing). This is a place of freedom, sharing and authenticity, where paths cross, a way to celebrate “the here and now” through music, voice and the body.

Babelim can be seen and heard in many different ways. It is an enveloping lap, magma of sounds and movements, a humming community. It provides a view of an art which is inspired by affection, an artistic experience which represents the results of various paths that were taken by different people to be followed once more each time it is performed. It is a participative and fluid experience where each member of the audience is invited to be absorbed by the harmony of the moment.

Babelim is a language. It is also a place. A landscape, a collection of sonorous and visual pictures, sometimes painting highly abstract concepts, sometimes interchanging with complex soundscapes, and sometimes very simple ones. The piano is the central focus of Babelim, conversing with the invented instruments (Makers of Everyday Soundscapes) and voices (of the artists and the public, guided by a graphical language projected overhead, and by a set of signs that contribute to the theatrics of the piece).

Babelim is particular in that it involves a group of children in the artistic team, as over the course of the Opus Tutti Project we developed the idea that caring for the littlest ones is something that is learnt early on, and because we understand that babies and small children relate to older children in an especially beautiful way. All these elements – musical, choreographic, theatrical – are starting points for communication to flow between babies, children, adults, artists and public.

Concept & Production Companhia de Música Teatral + Opus Tutti Project / Musical and Artistic Direction Paulo Maria Rodrigues / Set Design and Execution Miguel Ferraz/ Performers Pedro Ramos, Paulo Maria Rodrigues & Opus Tutti Children General Coordination Helena Rodrigues

In an imaginary Babel, where we all talk incomprehensible languages, there is after all a means of communication that draws on the most essential expressions, a means of communication that brings together the sounds, the movements, the expressive possibilities of choral work. After all there are common traits bridging the empire in each of us and that that we can stretch out as a basis for a deep and significant relationship with others. (…)one of the characteristics that made the biggest impact on me, that that I believe can best characterize the originality of the work of CMT, is the radical equivalence that is evident between the status of the babies and the adults in the audience as regards their relationship with the performance pieces.

José Luís Ferreira, Cultural Programme Coordinator

Babelim is a door opening into the magic of fairy tales, where the children make the rules and the adults follow them. The adults are able to relax and free themselves from the social constraints that unconsciously bind them; they are simply themselves as they really are, free and natural. In this way everyone is able to achieve rare moments of beauty and peace.

Carlos Andrade, Composer, Guitarist, Improviser

PHOTOGRAPHY BY NUNO ANTUNES in São Luiz, Teatro Municipal

Opus Tutti

Opus Tutti is an educational and artistic project which is designed to develop good practice in areas connected with childhood and early childhood. Like other practices designed under this project, Babelim was the subject of a pilot study conducted at the O Roseiral Childcare Centre. After this experience, it has been resized so it can reach other institutions.

Opus Tutti is a project of Companhia de Música Teatral and Laboratory of Music and Communication in Infancy (LAMCI - CESEM) from Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas (UNL). It is supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Go to Opus Tutti website

Travelling with Babelim



Convento dos Remédios


Teatro Pax Julia


São Luiz, Teatro Municipal


Technical Rider

technical rider

production notes

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