A Madhous Fair

A series of sold-out performances. Listed as one of the year’s Top 5 performances and concerts by NRC Handelsblad. ‘Wildly’ enthusiastic audience response. In 2012 and 2013, OPERA2DAY revived a centuries-old tradition with its Dolhuys Kermis (‘A Madhouse Fair’), transforming it into surprising and moving musical theatre in the former The Hague NEBO Hospital. The audience is led past melancholics performing the most beautiful and amazing laments from around the 1600s. They have met the love melancholy in Monteverdi's fabulous Lamento della ninfa, the humorous Lamento dell'impotente and even more during a trip through the Madhouse. The visitors could also watch an exposition of objects and images from the history of the psychiatry, from the museum of the Delta Psychiatrical Center in Poortugaal.

'Madly enthousiastic reactions'

The reactions that the Madhouse Fair evoked were both overwhelming and enthusiastic. In the NRC Handelsblad, the performances were chosen in the top five best performances of 2012 (the choice of the critic Floris Don). Under the heading ‘Disturbed patient can sing beautifully', the following review had earlier been published in this newspaper:
 
'View the lunatics for a fee: for many sixteenth and seventeenth century Madhouses was this public entertainment a good source of income. Visitors could marvel at the insane, addicts and perhaps a few depressive patients. Melancholiacs though, were taken seriously by composers of the day as demonstrated in the Madhouse Fair production of Opera2Day, a wonderful blend of location- and music-theatre.
 
In a lugubrious former hospital in The Hague, the visitor meets various ‘patients’. They suffer from varying syndromes but they can sing beautifully. One of the patients thinks that she is Mary Stuart and waves dangerously with the sleeves of her straitjacket whilst singing Carissimi’s Lamento della regina Maria Stuarda. In the attic, a depressive man stares at a pile of rubble whilst singing a Gregorian lament. In the blood-stained kitchen, a woman sets an enormous pan on the fire. Worrying: her Lamento della madre ebrea tells of a mother who wishes to devour her child.
 
 
First listen instead of immediately closing up. This is the moral of the Madhouse Fair. But Opera2Day shows how one can create magnificent scenes with few resources. The highlight is Monteverdi’s Lamento della nimfa, staged in a dark corridor that transforms into an underwater world. The soprano drowns in her heartbreak, the audience does likewise.’

According to Place de l'Opera, 'In the former NEBO-hospital [...] everything that took place in the new location performance of OPERA2DAY, all that the audience heard and saw, had an authenticity to it that was both humorous as well as penetrating and oppressive.’ The Madhouse Fair is ‘a very elaborate location performance whereby everything possible has been done to allow the audience to experience the confrontation between the ‘normal’ outside world and the madness inside.

 

Audience

The responses of the audience after every performance were overwhelming. Here is a summary of the reactions the viewers later posted online:

'I saw the last performance on Sunday evening and together with a couple of performances I saw on the Operadagen R’dam, I thought it was one of the most impressive performances of the year. The location helped of course, the almost spooky building where the atmosphere of yesteryear is still so tangible, the actors, the outstanding singers and instrumentalists who interpreted their laments in often very direct and penetrating ways in various floors, corridors and rooms, all this combined left behind a very strong impression. Congratulations for the way this was all put together. The fulfilment that I missed in for example Parsifal, I found here completely.' Gerard (on www.operamagazine.nl)

 
 

‘Madhouse Fair by #Opera2day in an old hospital in The Hague: wow, location theatre at its best!’ @Teunifrau (www.twitter.com)

‘Really wonderful #Madhouse Fair by #opera2day. Fantastic!!!!’ @NilsNoord (www.twitter.com)

 
 

‘Just been to the performance Madhouse Fair. What an experience, beautiful!!!’ @BasBooister (www.twitter.com)

‘Beautiful performance "Madhouse Fair", location theatre with wonderful singing’ @audringje (www.twitter.com)

‘beautiful performance’ @mmmenno (www.twitter.com)

 

With and thanks to

The singing melancholics are from the vocal ensemble Vox Luminis, co producer of the project.
 
The reprisal in 2013 is made possible by
 
The performances in 2012 were made possible by
Stichting Gilles Hondius Foundation
 
 

 

 

Bewaren

Trailer Dolhuys Kermis 2013

A Madhouse Fair

A guided tour of the local psychiatric hospital, during which you can view and even touch the patients. Gawp at your fellow humans - for a price. Unimaginable? Yet, from the 15th to 18th centuries, this actually occurred at the so-called madhouses during the annual ‘Madhouse Fair’. OPERA2DAY revives this astonishing historical phenomenon in the former NEBO Hospital building on Scheveningseweg in The Hague, visitors embark on a musical journey past a series of heart-rending portraits. Touching vocal music merges with surprising theatre.

Lunacy or melancholy?

Not that long ago, anything outside of what was then considered desirable behaviour was deemed ‘crazy’: from the mentally ill, epilepsy patients, the mentally handicapped, agitators and addicts to elderly dementia patients. Their symptoms were seen as forms of ‘melancholy’, which was tantamount to lunacy.

Laments in the madhouse

That same melancholy inspired composers such as Monteverdi, Carissimi and Fontana to produce some of their most magnificent and striking compositions. Most of these were in the form of ‘lamenti’: laments with an unabashed dramatic and expressive style. Many of these compositions are constructed around a repeated descending bass line that puts the listener in a melancholy mood.

Another round!

At the Dolhuys Kermis, visitors are literally led through the most beautiful, miraculous lamenti from around the 1600s. They are swept away by the love-melancholy in Monteverdi’s fabulous Lamento della ninfa. They watch, to music by Carissimi, an isolated patient who thinks she is Mary, Queen of Scots, confined in her death cell; they are introduced to the humorous Lamento dell’impotente; and they meet a youngMadre Ebrea in the kitchen, suffering from post-natal depression avant la lettre. The OPERA2DAY doctors elucidate the symptoms, based on the somewhat astounding preconceptions of the 17th century.

Star performers, gorgeous musical numbers!

OPERA2DAY steekt de eeuwenoude operatraditie steeds in een hedendaags jasje.

The melancholy singers are from the Vox Luminis vocal ensemble. The ‘early music soloist ensemble’ Vox Luminis is acclaimed both for its outstanding intonation and clarity of sound as well as for the individual and ensemble quality of the singers. A recent CD of the group was awarded Record of the Year 2012 by the leading British music magazine Gramophone, as well as scooping a Diapason d’Or. The singers are being accompanied by the baroque ensemble of OPERA2DAY. The troupe of actors is led by René M. Broeders, the medical superintendent acting as your host. OPERA2DAY’s Baroque ensemble provides the musical accompaniment, conducted by Hernán Schvartman, and the stage director is Serge van Veggel, who is also the developer of the concept.

The music

- Lamento della ninfa Claudio Monteverdi

- Zefiro Torna Claudio Monteverdi

- Lamento della regina Maria Stuarda Giacomo Carissimi

- Lamento dell'impotente Fabrizio Fontana

- Lamento della Madre Ebrea Antonio Cesti

- De lamentatione Ieremiae Prophetae Anonymous (Gregorian)

- parts from L’Humore musicale Orazio Vecchi

Programm booklet

Download here the pdf of the programm booklet of 2012 (2MB).


Listen here to an audio recording of the Lamento della ninfa by Monteverdi, recorded during the Dolhuys Kermis 2012, performed by Vox Luminis (soprano Zsuzsi Tóth).

 

Bewaren

Vox Luminis

The ‘early music soloist ensemble’ Vox Luminis is acclaimed both for its outstanding intonation and clarity of sound as well as for the individual and ensemble quality of the singers. A recent CD of the group was awarded Record of the Year 2012 by the leading British music magazine Gramophone, as well as scooping a Diapason d’Or.  Several members of the ensemble have been guests in earlier productions of OPERA2DAY.

Soprano Lauren Armishaw 

(Lamento della regina Maria Stuarda)

Soprano Michaela Riener 

(L’Humore musicale, Lamento della Madre Ebrea)

Soprano Zsuzsi Tóth 

(L’Humore musicale, Lamento della ninfa)

Countertenor Jan Kullmann 

(L’Humore musicale, Lamento dell'impotente)

Tenor Robert Buckland 

(L’Humore musicale, Zefiro Torna, Lamento della ninfa)

Tenor Raffaele Giordani

(L’Humore musicale, Zefiro Torna, Lamento della ninfa)

Bass & artistic direction Lionel Meunier 

(L’Humore musicale, Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae)

 

 

Actors

 

René M. Broeders

Pim van Alten

Martin Snip


Baroque ensemble OPERA2DAY

 

Viola da gamba Catherine Bahn

Viola da gamba Ricardo Rodríguez Miranda

Harpsichord Jorge López-Escribano

Harpsichord Claudio A. Barduco Ribeiro

Theorbo Christian Gutiérrez

Theorbo Jan Čižmář


Team

 

Concept, composition and stage director Serge van Veggel

Co-stage director René M. Broeders

Musical director Hernán Schvartzman

Stage design

Herbert Janse (exposition, reception room, Zefiro Torna and coaching team of stage designers)

Dymph Boss (Lamento della regina Maria Stuarda, Lamento della Ninfa)

Felipe González Cabezas (Lamento dell'impotente and Lamento della Madre Ebrea, bathroom scene Patrick)

Roelof Pothuis (Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae, machine room, auditorium)

Lighting Uri Rapaport

Costumes Joost van Wijmen      

Texts René M. Broeders and Pim van Alten

Music edition Vecchi and Fontana Luke Topin

Music edition Carissimi Gordon J. Callon

 

 

Production

 

2013

Production manager Alice Gubler, Tineke Verheij

Production assistent Mieke van der Ven

 

2012

Production manager Alice Gubler,

Production assistent Mieke van der Ven

Technician Detlev Timm

 

Marketing & Communication Claire Reeves

Graphic design Shilpi Ahmed-van der Pool

Educational project Mieke van der Ven

Music edition Luke Topin (Vecchi and Fontana), Gordon J. Callon (Carissimi) and Michaela Riener (Cesti)

Registration Pawel Leskiewicz (audio), Rolf Versteegh and Rick Messemaker (video)

 

Thanks to

Vestia/Ceres Projects Tinka van Rood, Jaap Stollenwerk, Peggy Jansen (2012: Nils van der Vlist and Maarten Ditters)

Ad Hoc Dolf Smit and all the residents of the NEBO building

Advice choice of location Renee Jonker

Lighting equipment Evelements

Materials exposition Museum of the Delta Psychiatrisch Centum in Poortugaal with special thanks to dhr. Panhuys

Costume workshop Bo Mulder, Anita Remijn, Sakina Ouzahir, Nadia Ouzahir (Research:) Peter Haenen/Herlaarhof, Reinier van Arkelgroep, Vught

 

Volunteers 2012

Nina Simons, Ninke Overbeek, Florian Oele, Lianne van Westrhenen, Bengt Kropmans, Peter Boss, Ton Weisenborn, Daan Hazendonk, Laurens van der Pool, Biene van Schouwenburg, Liesbeth Mulder, Maurice Wiedenhof, Riette van Raamsdonk, Lia Laaper, Hanna Samson, Francine Videler, C.G. de Bruyn Ouboter, Nelly de Jong Barug, Cristiana Kat, Assaline Robbers, Rob Stinis, Marja Bakker, Alex Otto, Aad Bekink, Berenice Staiger, Marina Gijsbertse, Brigitte Hennequin, Margot Onnes, Esther Smit, Margriet Harmsen, Tonny Bekink, Coby van Wieringen.

Dolhuys Kermis - Trailer

video

Monteverdi - Lamento della ninfa -- Audio

video
No current calendar dates found for this production.

Sunday 02 Jun 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Former NEBO-Hospital, The Hague


Sunday 02 Jun 2013 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Saturday 01 Jun 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Saturday 01 Jun 2013 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Friday 31 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Thursday 30 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Wednesday 29 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Tuesday 28 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Sunday 26 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Sunday 26 May 2013 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Saturday 25 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Saturday 25 May 2013 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Friday 24 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Thursday 23 May 2013 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Wednesday 22 May 2013 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Sunday 24 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Sunday 24 Jun 2012 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Saturday 23 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Saturday 23 Jun 2012 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Friday 22 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Thursday 21 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Wednesday 20 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


Wednesday 20 Jun 2012 - 14:30 HOUR

Voormalig NEBO-ziekenhuis, Den Haag


  • '

    'OPERA2DAY also illustrates how it is possible to create magnificent scenes with few resources'

    '
  • NRC Handelsblad