Archive for the opera Category

One big beating heart: singers and dancers, Verdi and Wagner, in ‘C(h)oeurs’ by Alain Platel

Posted in dance, opera with tags , , , , on September 26, 2013 by Utopia Parkway


Funny how you have no power over the images your eyes have handed your mind. As I was watching the closing scene of C(h)oeurs – a huge group of people, seated at the back of the stage, opening and closing their hands, painted red, as one big beating heart – it seemed rather silly to me. Now, some days later, it’s the image that keeps on popping up in my mind. C(h)oeurs, by Alain Platel (Les Ballets C de la B) premiered in Madrid last year, and was presented as the opening of the new season at opera house La Monnaie/De Munt, Brussels. For those who have missed it: De Munt is streaming it on its website until September 30, here.

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Crawling spiders, floating pine needles and dancing opera singers: ‘Matsukaze’ by Sasha Waltz

Posted in dance, opera with tags , , , , , , on June 11, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

One scene that stands out. Sometimes that’s enough. Just that one image will make sure that a performance will not get lost amidst all the others in your mind. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen Matsukaze at De Munt/La Monnaie and I still see those gigantic needles slowly and almost gracefully falling down on that stage. The reason why I absolutely wanted to see this new opera by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa? Hanjo, his previous one, was directed by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. This time around German choreographer Sasha Waltz was called in.

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With the naivety of children at play: Purcell’s ‘The Indian Queen’ by Jan Decorte & B’Rock

Posted in Kunstenfestivaldesarts, music, opera, theatre with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

Aren’t they rare, those evenings during which you sense that a whole theatre is enchanted by what is happening on stage? Evenings on which the applause afterwards feels like a finger snap that makes everybody wake from their dream? That’s how watching The Indian Queen felt to me, a collaboration between Belgian theatre director Jan Decorte and baroque ensemble B’Rock, which premiered at Kaaitheater (Brussels) during the Kunstenfestivaldesarts. Yes, you could certainly come up with some points of criticism, but why should you?

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Romeo Castellucci’s ‘Parsifal’ premieres tonight; first images

Posted in opera, theatre with tags , , , on January 27, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

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Romeo Castellucci‘s first ever and long-awaited opera, Parsifal, will premiere tonight at De Munt/La Monnaie (Brussels). It goes without saying that not only opera lovers are curious to see what the renowned Italian theatre director will come up with. You can be sure that his take on the legendary Richard Wagner opera will be a highly personal and probably unusual one. Unfortunately I will only be able to bring you a review of Parsifal somewhere in February, but I can try to tickle your imagination by showing you the first official pictures of Castellucci’s Parsifal. (all images: Bernd Uhlig) You’ll find more info and rehearsal pictures and videos on the site of De Munt/La Monnaie, here. (You’ll have to register first.) And for some insider’s stories about this Parsifal, do read Andrew Richard‘s (yes, he’s Parsifal) amusing blog (Opera rocks). The only tenor with a weblog?

Pá-pá-pá-papapa-paaa-papa… NTGent opens new season with festive ‘Aida’

Posted in opera, theatre with tags , , on September 16, 2010 by Utopia Parkway

‘Without imagination, there’s no future’.  Actor Steven Van Watermeulen was saying it, as Ferdinand De Lesseps, that French diplomat who built the Suez Canal, but it sounded almost as a motto for NTGent’s new season; for that new chapter with new artistic director Wim Opbrouck. The actor turned director wanted to start the season with an uplifting, festive performance and created an unorthodox version of Verdi’s Aida (with Christoph Homberger and Frank Van Laecke). At the premiere, yesterday evening, his Aida turned out to be a giant sing-a-long for actors,  choir and even audience. Indeed, not only was this Aida created with all the people working at NTGent – even the cleaning ladies and the accountants were part of the giant choir on stage – Opbrouck ánd that charismatic conductor Homberger managed to even get the whole audience singing for that classic Triumphal march. A joyous and funny evening (involving a marching band on stage as well) it sure was, but an unforgettable Aida? No. It would have been perfect as a one off-performance for the opening evening of the new season, but a ‘real’ performance that’s going to stay on the bill for a couple of weeks? Then you expect a little bit more than a jolly good atmosphere and a prophetic speech by De Lesseps. Oh, and don’t worry, although Opbrouck said his version would be an Aida without pyramids and elephants, you will get your elephant. (Aida* – Optimism is a moral duty, NTGent, till October 11, info here.)

The disappointing confessions of John Malkovich: ‘The infernal comedy’ at Bozar

Posted in music, opera, theatre with tags , on May 13, 2010 by Utopia Parkway

I know of quite a few girls who would instantly faint if John Malkovich was holding his head against their belly. So imagine that you are a soprano and you have to continue singing. It was funny to see Malkovich fool around with the two sopranos, during The infernal comedy at Bozar (Brussels), last night. And the music was nice too, but apart from that? A rather disappointing affair.

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Compelling ‘Medea’ by Sasha Waltz at De Munt/La Monnaie

Posted in dance, opera with tags , , , , on April 12, 2010 by Utopia Parkway

Too bad that second performance of Sasha Waltz ‘s Medea at De Munt/La Monnaie is already sold-out. I think I might have gone a second time. I was really impressed, yesterday, by this beautifully constructed mix of elements: that mournful and compelling contemporary score (by Pascal Dusapin, from ’92), those lush costumes, a few well-chosen extra elements (six giant fans, a Rothko-like backdrop) and of course that great choreography by Waltz, with just too many gorgeous scenes to mention. Last year I was really disappointed by Waltz’s chaotic Gezeiten, at De Munt, but this time I was swept away. By the way the German choreographer infuses Dusapin’s score with silence, or the way she directed soprano Caroline Stein and her dancers, or how she even puts those singers of Vocalconsort Berlin on stage and gets them to ‘dance’ as well. This is not an overly dramatic Medea, but the more I think about Waltz’s version, the more I’m touched by it. Want to know what you’ve missed? Click here to watch a You Tube-fragment.

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