Orphée aux Enfers canceled during Opera op de Parade
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With a lot of pain in our hearts we have to inform you that the last performance of Orphée aux Enfers tonight during Opera op de Parade in ‘s-Hertogenbosch is canceled due to bad weather conditions. Unfortunately, this brings our tour to an early end. From this place we would like to thank everyone who intended to come and see this beautiful spectacle for the last time. We hope to welcome you again soon.
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Yesterday Dunya Jongen (11) received a youth ribbon from alderman Manon Fokke and children’s mayor Joost de Goeij in Stadhuis Maastricht for her contribution to Buurt Opera Malpertuis of Opera Zuid. Dunya is the face of the Neighborhood Opera Malpertuis 2022.
Fokke: “Dunya is focused, driven, serious and respectful. The selection committee likes to see how Dunya is committed to society and all ages. She is a go-kart puller and takes other children with her. By being the face of Buuropera Malpertuis, she clearly indicates that she dares to be vulnerable at a young age and she is an example for other children.” The Limburger https://m.limburger.nl/cnt/dmf20230601_96089640
And of course we totally agree! A big congratulations from us as well. We are very proud of Dunya.
Buurt Opera Malpertuis is an initiative of Opera Zuid in collaboration with Conservatorium Maastricht, Trajekt and the Kunstketel and is made possible in part by CultuurmakersMaastricht, Fund for Cultural Participation, Municipality of Maastricht, Elisabeth Strouven Fund, Stichting Kanunnik Salden Nieuwenhof and the Oranje Fonds.
> For more information go to operazuid.nl/bom
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On vocal techniques, style and interpretation in opera.
Verdeeld tussen de dictiecoach die aandringt op ‘tekst!’, de leraar die adviseert ‘gewoon de klinkers te zingen’, de zangcoach die ‘core and sustain’ wil, de dirigent die ‘piano’ fluistert, en de regisseur die eist ‘ik wil emotie zien!’. Divided between the diction coach who insists on “lyrics!”, the teacher who advises “just sing the vowels”, the vocal coach who wants to “core and sustain”, the conductor who whispers “piano”, and the director who demands “I want see emotion!’.
Chelsea Bonagura (vocal coach and soprano) and Lochlan Brown (conductor and répétiteur) regularly give masterclasses to make it clear that everyone is ultimately on the same wavelength, but only lost in terminology. ‘We believe that vocalism, language, music and interpretation are not rivals competing for your attention, but all complementary parts of the same beautiful opera puzzle, provided we have the right information and techniques.’
If you are in Maastricht or nearby, come to Opera Zuid and, together with Lochlan Brown and Chelsea Bonagura, find an authentic, harmonious relationship between yourself, your voice and the expectations of professional opera houses. The masterclass will be held in English on June 10 at 11:00 am in the Malpertuis Studio of Opera Zuid.
Send your CV and a video recording to firstname.lastname@example.org before June 7th.
Both Chelsea Bonagura and Lochlan Brown will participate in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor next season at Opera Zuid.
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Opera Zuid asked conductor Enrico Delamboye and director Benjamin Prins if they would like to stage Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers together. Their answer was as clear as it was enthusiastic; and whether they feel like it!
What makes this opera typically Jacques Offenbach?
Enrico: ‘Orphée aux Enfers is funny, lively, critical and it never gets boring.’
Benjamin: ‘It’s smart entertainment. That’s in all the satirical jokes, but also in the use of different timelines. That makes it very clever. That is why we have placed it in a neoclassical framework. That provides the perfect basis for this non-chronological piece to talk about then and now.’
There is a special role for dance in this opera…
Benjamin: ‘Yes, just like in the original (which includes ballet), we deliberately chose to work with live dancers. They actually bring everything together; their bodies tell more than words in this case. They prove to be the glue between the music and the drama, which is not surprising, because this opera is all about dance! Eurydice is done being “the wife of”. She wants to become Bacchante, a dancer, an artist, a woman who chooses her own way of life.’
A Bacchante? Benjamin: ‘In nineteenth-century France, everyone knew what the Bacchante stood for: she was the image of the popular, wild dance, free of rules. The Bacchantes were “followers” of the god Bacchus and he was the god of wine, of drunkenness, of a certain wildness and excess. The fact that Eurydice chooses that, chooses herself… everyone thinks something about that. But beware, there’s a little plot twist…!’
Unlike directing, the music is prescribed. What can a conductor add to Offenbach’s music?
Enrico: ‘His music is light as a feather and witty. Offenbach is about the things you don’t expect; you need perfect timing for that. To the audience, it should seem as if everything goes by itself and it is completely self-evident. And what do I add? Of course my musicality and my vision when it comes to language in relation to tempo, for example. But this music also needs a lot of liveliness, so all the fun and humor I have in me – not so difficult with this profession! – I put in music and conducting. I think the most important thing is that, without making a sound myself, I am the initiator of the music. I activate all musicians and give them the opportunity to bring the right energy and feeling into the music. After all, we have to do it together!’
And how is that collaboration going between the two of you?
Benjamin: ‘We actually came up with the whole concept together and we are still constantly fine-tuning. finetunen.’ Enrico: ‘Indeed, we greatly respect each other and help each other to solve musical or dramaturgical difficulties.’ Benjamin: ‘Yes, we work well together and trust each other. We have already discovered that with Fantasio (2019). We don’t make problems where there are none, no dramas: we look forward and upward! The music also helps with that, of course, it is so cheerful and positive, like champagne bubbles bubbling up. This music brings so much joy!’ Enrico: ‘ And we could all use that.’
What’s your favorite moment in Orphée aux Enfers?
Enrico: ‘If I really have to choose; the introduction. That is not a pompous overture in which you already hear all the themes of the evening pass by, as was common in those days. Orphée starts from scratch, with a clarinet, a small pastoral, a melody that develops, very surprising.’
Benjamin: ‘To me that is the Protest of the Gods. Orphée aux Enfers was my first experience with musical theater as a child. When I saw all those adults having so much fun on that stage, I thought, wow, it can be really fun being an adult. Now, 30 years later, I hope that our performance can enchant visitors just as much.’
Interview: Kyra Bertram
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Designers Marloes van der Hoek and Wikke van Houwelingen are used to making their set designs as a duo. Ideas for this arise during museum visits, image research and brainstorming sessions, in their studio and at the kitchen table. This time it turned out differently; together with an entire artistic team, the basis for Orphée aux Enfers was laid while talking, at the table with director Benjamin Prins in Paris.
Wikke: ‘Normally we read the script, talk to the director and – the two of us – get inspired, so we come up with ideas through associations.’
Marloes: ‘But now, in Paris, we mostly talked; about Orphée aux Enfers, about what the work means, about the composer. Benjamin is a huge Offenbach connoisseur so it was very inspiring to hear from him. The composer was an innovator and inspirer in his time, socially critical as well. So then you want to know: how do we now relate to what he did? It is very interesting to see how you can take Offenbach’s thought to the present.’
Wikke: ‘For example, Benjamin wanted to keep the pastoral classic at the beginning. Then it is our job to find out how we can build on that fact, how we can make it more our own and how we can break it open.’
Marloes: ‘Yes, because we don’t want to reproduce Offenbach exactly. I found it very stimulating and challenging to research: can we give that classic starting point a twist so that it also feels modern?’
Wikke: ‘I found that very inspiring! If you’re stuck in a kind of corset (just like Eurydice), how are you going to break out of that in your design? We hope that the public will be misled: that they think they see a traditional decor at the beginning, but at the end they walk out surprised. Because it’s not that classic, (laughing) we also call it our ultra-neoclassicism.’
Wikke clarifies by describing what their design looks like: ‘The decor consists of 2D plates printed with prints, the colors have been made brighter and we have incorporated even more humour. So the initial decor looks classic, but if you look closely, you can already see and feel that breakout is announcing…’
Marloes: ‘It is also just like the old theater in terms of performance; with all those changes, panels that come out and go to the side, very dynamic. But it’s kind of a parody of the classic. That is exactly what Offenbach himself does all the time, which is why we also feel free to play with it.” She continues: “That kind of play seems like a superficial play with shapes, but you can only do that because there is indeed a story behind it. There are many connections between when Offenbach wrote this and now; for example, that decadence, the rise of capitalism, they were already concerned about that at the time. That social criticism is just as good in this.’
Wikke: ‘Of course, the exact message never comes across literally, but I do hope that people will feel the process of transformation. Just as the characters undergo a transformation, we transform the stage from beautiful and conventional to – ultimately – playful and free.’
Interview: Kyra Bertram
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Opera Zuid, the team of Buurt Opera Malpertuis and all those directly involved are saddened and touched by the sudden death of Pieter Eijssen (1956 – 2023). Pieter was a participant and initiator of the Buurt Opera Malpertuis (BOM). His tireless effort and involvement were indispensable in the stories and personal anecdotes that led to the music-theatrical BOM performances. Hübst tieg already whined? Pieter always asked with a big grin. His laughter and singing will always reverberate in Opera Zuid. We wish Pieter’s family and friends a lot of strength in the coming period. Team Opera Zuid
Comments Off on In conversation with Marrit en Pilo
Between trying on clothes and puzzling with wigs, there is some time to drink a cup of coffee together. Costume designer Marrit van der Burgt and wig designer Pilo Pilkes have often worked together and rely on each other. We speak each other’s language, we read each other’s handwriting.’
How does that work, designing for an opera like Orphée aux Enfers?
Marrit: ‘In this case, the decor was already there, so I adapted to it. The decor is very colorful and a lot, that’s why I keep the costumes calm. I got my inspiration from those white Greek images, mixed with red carpet-like dresses of the Hollywood stars – a bit like the gods of today. And so I arrived at the Empire style, neoclassicism, which in turn is inspired by the classical antiquity of the Greeks. Actually, I bring in all the times of history and the colors provide the line; the gods are white, the people wear color – natural – and the devils are more blackish.” Pilo: ‘I also started with the Greek statues of the gods, then I will see if I can make it more personal or better suited to what we are going to tell. So the inspiration for the wigs might as well come from everywhere.” Marrit: ‘That’s the nice thing about this piece; you can do anything with it!” Pilo: ‘That is also a pitfall, isn’t it, that anything is possible. Because it has to be correct and clear. If it’s too many lines; a little bit of Empire, a little bit of this and a little bit of that, you don’t know where you are anymore. At such a moment we really need each other to create order.” Marrit: ‘Yes, sometimes you pull the costumes and I pull the hair and that’s all allowed. Because everything passes through our hands, it does become one whole. We have been working together for a long time, so [at the same time] we speak the same language (Marrit) we can read each other’s handwriting (Pilo).’ Marrit: ‘We have to, because we already work improvising. So you have your designs and lines to follow, but if the final picture is not right, you have to fix it.” Pilo nods in agreement: ‘Yes, sometimes you have to put on a dozen wigs to see if it fits with the rest and with the person who has to wear the wig.’ Pilo continues: ‘That is the most challenging, but also the great thing about our profession. That we have to continuously adapt, move along, improvise.’ Marrit: ‘That is indeed exciting, but also a lot of fun. It really is an ongoing process, you keep fine-tuning until the premiere. Every production brings new challenges. But that’s why we love this profession.’
Just like the design process, the conversation between the two designers is a bit chaotic and organic. That fits, it turns out…
Pilo: ‘The play itself is quite chaotic; all the characters meddle in everything, Offenbach also makes all kinds of jokes and quotes from other music…But it’s up to us – and the others of the artistic team – to make it as clear as possible. Although it remains an exuberant whole, that has to be in Orphée aux Enfers.’ Marrit: ‘Yes, do people understand everything…? But that’s okay. You feel it, it goes through your heart.’ Pilo laughs: ‘That’s a nice ending to this conversation: it enters your heart.’
Interview: Kyra Bertram
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Opera Zuid is a touring company for and from the southern Netherlands and a leading Basic Infrastructure(BIS) opera facility in the Netherlands. Opera Zuid makes accessible, surprising and contemporary opera. Passion, imagination, innovation and authenticity are key in what we do. We believe that opera can be life changing. Based on this belief, Opera Zuid wants to share its productions with the largest, most diverse audience possible.
As of 1 September 2023, Opera Zuid is looking for a:
The Executive Producer is responsible for the production and technical realisation of our performances.
Who are we looking for:
- An inspiring manager with extensive knowledge of, experience in and passion for opera;
- A pragmatic planning organiser who is used to working in a small team;
- Experience with a travelling company;
- A relevant network in the sector;
- A member for our management team.
Tasks and responsibilities:
- Implementing operational policies;
- Producing and ensuring the technical realisation of activities;
- Managing production and departmental budgets;
- Leading executive departments;
- Staff management for executive departments;
- Reports to Intendant.
- University or bachelor’s degree;
- Ample experience;
- Up-to-date knowledge of the field.
Salary and terms of employment
Opera Zuid has its own employment regulations. Salaries are based on the scales of the RIJK CAO.
Respond Send your CV and cover letter to email@example.com attn. Ton Coenen, Head of Operations and Finance by 30 April 2023. Interviews are scheduled for weeks 21 and 22.
For more information, please contact Ton Coenen at the above email address.
Opera Zuid subscribes to the Diversity & Inclusion Code and explicitly aims to be a diverse and inclusive organisation. We aim for our workforce to be an accurate reflection of society.
Comments Off on Lady in the Dark is Opera of the Year 2022
“Of the more than 1200 votes, 48% were cast for the ‘Broadway opera’ Lady in the Dark by Kurt Weill, for which the entire cast, but in particular the soprano Maartje Rammeloo in the leading role, was unanimously praised by the press and the public. Anna Pool’s direction and David Stern’s musical direction ensured a sparkling performance, in beautiful costumes and sets by Madeleine Boyd.” – Place de l’Opera
Franz Straatman wrote in his review on Place de L’Opera about Lady in the Dark among other things:
‘ With soprano Maartje Rammeloo in the lead role, the opera element is filled in with a great singer and actress. And as a musical, the production comes out beautifully with wonderful dance and show work. ‘ All her co-stars get great opportunities to sing and act here, with baritone Quirijn de Lang as movie star Curtis in a leading role. He exudes a natural charm in his playing and he sings his songs with flair. ‘
‘With (…) the South Netherlands Philharmonic under the direction of the American conductor David Stern, it was (…..) enjoying the spicy rhythms in the percussion, the fierce harmony of three trumpets and a trombone and the sweet harmonies from the three saxophones. Thoroughly Kurt Weill with a good dash of Broadway. ……’The enjoyment of this production is greatly enhanced by the clever direction in a consistent, beautiful-looking set designed by Madeleine Boyd. But especially the dancing and singing of the Theater Choir Opera Zuid and a nameless ensemble of fast musical dancers in virtuoso choreography by Rebecca Howell, make the theater heart beat faster. ‘
Read the full article here.
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A modern and powerful woman
Maartje Rammeloo performs the role of Liza Elliott in this Broadway opera. She talks candidly about preparing for this wonderful role and her personal experiences with performance pressure and stress. ‘We are all always “on”.’
There are few operas in which a woman plays such a prominent role. Everything revolves around Liza. Even when you are not on stage for a moment, the others talk about her. How did you prepare for this big role?
‘To play Liza, I really immersed myself in her time. I watched films and read books because I wanted to know what it was like to live in New York in the 1940s. What did people look like, how did they behave? I also find the social and political developments interesting. There are many references in the text to people and incidents in the 1940s. If you delve into these, you understand the underlying relationships and also Liza’s behaviour better. As a result, I can empathise with her better. I even took dance lessons to be able to dance like Liza and started juggling at home. With all these experiences, I practised the text, first “dry” and then with emotion. Quite a job because it is indeed a big role.’
The play was written in the middle of the last century. As a modern woman, do you still recognise yourself in Liza?
‘I recognise her fears and emotions and sometimes her feelings are even very close to my own. While rehearsing at home, I often cried. In our society, and certainly in our profession, we ask a lot of ourselves and that can be stressful. My work is a big part of my identity, but I am also a mother. That sometimes creates tension. When you think about how much faster and more demanding our society is these days, you realise that you don’t even have to be a workaholic like Liza to get burnout. We are all always “on”. This will also be very recognisable to the audience.’
In her sleep, Liza is able to escape this constant pressure. And then come the dreams. What is it like to sing them?
‘Director Anna Pool challenges us to sing and play these dreams grandly and imaginatively, like in old Hollywood films. Being allowed to express yourself so dramatically is really fantastic. The fascinating thing about these dreams is that we see not only the Liza going through a difficult period in her life, but also her hidden side; her dreams and fantasies. Discovering Liza in all her facets is a huge challenge, but therefore also an emotional rollercoaster.’
Liza visits a psychologist, which was quite exceptional at the time. How do you view this?
‘Although today it is much more normal to see a psychologist, people are still not very open about issues like work pressure and stress. I do talk to others about my mental health, including on social media, and I get positive reactions to it. People recognise themselves in my experiences, even if they don’t let themselves talk about it so easily. People still often see it as a sign of weakness. In that respect, we haven’t made much progress yet. I find Liza’s development through psychoanalysis hopeful. She looks her problems straight in the eye and finally feels liberated. She makes a choice and doesn’t leave it to the men. I find that powerful and also very modern. Especially for a story set in 1941, but just as well before 2022.’
Interview: Manon Berns