The Press: '‘breath-taking Orphée’
A taste from the early reviews: “Under the direction of Serge van Veggel, the boundaries of the stage blur [...] his production accordingly overwhelms one with touching play, ingenious tableaux and beautiful music. The singers from Vox Luminis are individually outstanding, but above all shone in the numerous ensemble pieces with the delightful blend of their voices. The young dancers from De Dutch Junior Dance Division delivered a flexible counterbalance to this vocal ingenuity [...]. The ingeniousness adaption, overflowing with the joy of the stage, makes La troupe d’Orphée an original, surprising and effective piece of music-theatre.” NRC, 28th April 2014.
“The Hague is witness to a true miracle. The young opera company, Opera2day, has alighted as a travelling company of artists and surprises, amuses and touches, bringing the audience literally in touch with la troupe, and makes optimal use of the space.” Theaterkrant, 28th April 2014.
According to Opusklassiek, 'with minimal resources, a youthful ensemble and an abundance of enthusiasm [...] a maximal result was achieved in an historical location that was in itself special.' In the second act there were 'magical effects in the use of space’ where by Vox Luminis 'knew how to use the spacial sound to their own benefit.’ ' Reinoud Van Mechelen earns a special mention for his sonorous, flexibly-controlled lyrical tenor in the role of Orphée, whose musical exuberance made the first part an undisputed highlight, but who also, through the intensity of his act, effortlessly accentuated the serious moments.’
De Volkskrant writes that Opera2Day has, in addition to a fantastic team of young singers and dancers, also brought together a beautiful baroque ensemble consisting of experienced old-hands. Gamba's, violins, recorders, an organ, harpsichord and lute deliver a fluid basis for the equally melifluous sounds of the singers, amongst whom was Reinoud van Mechelen, tenor, equally as supple as powerful, and particularly outstanding as Orphée. Sophie Junker as Euridice and Geoffroy Buffière as the blind Pluton were wonderful in their substantial solo roles. But it is above all the manner in which the various disciplines are interwoven that makes La Troupe d'Orphée, as the production is called, resplendent.
'Seldom has old music sounded so new as it does at the moment in the Grote Kerk in The Hague’ wrote Place de l'Opera. 'Song, dance, acting and scenography form a perfect whole, where in old times are revived in glorious fashion.’ Â‘In every possible respect, La troupe d’Â’Orphée is a refreshing production. The space of the Grote Kerk is optimally used. [Â…] Embedding the story of Orpheus and Euridice into the story of a troupe who are absorbed in her charm, or who act out her story thereby reliving what she has been through, works perfectly and provides the characters with extra depth. [Â…] The vocal roles were delivered by the Belgian vocal ensemble Vox Luminis, who soared to great heights especially in their ensemble singing, but who were also soloists of considerable quality. Reinoud van Mechelen (Orphée) and Sophie Junker (Euridice) through their warm, clear song and outstanding acting were extremely convincing lovers. Even more than the beautiful singing, it was the perfectly integrated wholeness of song, dance, acting and scenography, ably accompanied by the Barokensemble OPERA2DAY under the direction of Hernán Schvartzman, that brought this production to life.Â’
The audience: 'I have been taken to the Hades and it felt like heaven'
The audience also responded enthusiastically and often also emotionally. Here is a selection of the comments that we have received via e-mail, facebook and twitter: '...I am speachless. [...] Unbelieveable how a large church has been transformed into a wonderful theatre. [....] I sat with tears in my eyes in the closing scene. In conversation after the conclusion, I again got tears in my eyes. Let yourself be surprised and don’t miss this, for this is the performance of the year!' - '...I have been taken to the Hades and it felt like heaven' - 'What a performance, especially visually truly breath-taking! - ‘It was magnificent, touching and impressive. Beautiful voices, orchestra and dancers etc etc. dramatic effects and lighting. In short: TOP an INTERNATIONAL STARNDARD.’ - 'an evening where there is only room for superlatives' - 'an UNFORGETTABLE evening of opera: creative, intelligent, astonishing, poignant, beautiful in every way and joy-giving.' '[The production called] up unbelievable emotion [and we were] completely blown away. Everything, absolutely everything, made sense: in intrusiveness of the composition, the purity and precision of the performance, the connecting of the Orpheus story with the caprices and fancies that the Troupe came to provide, the exploition of the construction of the church, the gravestone as the central piece of scenery, the function and significance of the dancers/platforms, the catwalk as the central stage, the movement of the singers and dancers through the room, the conclusion of the story, all that Charpentier bequeathed us with, equally beautiful, convincing and moving. Congratulations, congratulations.Â…'
Ode to the troupes
The production is based on a glorious period for opera in The Hague. In the seventeenth (and until the nineteenth) century, opera performances in the town were given by far-travelling companies, ‘troupes’ and ‘bandes’ of theatrical performers and ‘operistes’. They played in theatres transformed from ‘kaatsbanen’ (indoor tennis courts).
Charpentier at the centre
La descente d’Orphée aux enfer by Marc Antoine Charpentier stands as the centrepiece of the production. We perform this work as a part of a newly developed, broader, epic production. Surprising and almost unknown theatre music that Charpentier wrote for the theatrical performances of ‘troupe de Molière’ is also included in the production. Context and narrative are blended together in this production: we meet La troupe d’Orphée, an itinerant group of singers with the most famous singer of all times at the centre, who today, will marry his Euridice. We perform in Grote Kerk in The Hague, a location that we have set up in a special manner. The project is produced by OPERA2DAY, Vox Luminis and the team that was behind the creation of A Madhouse Fair. These partners now join hands with new partners, the Grote Kerk Den Haag, and De Dutch Don’t Dance Division, who contribute with their choreography and the young top dancers of De Dutch Junior Dance Division.
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[Photos: Hans Oostrum]