The Mad King

maniacal musical theatre

The Mad King

The Mad King premiered online in January 2021 (live stream from the Royal Theatre of The Hague)

During the lockdown because of Covid 19, OPERA2DAY kept their eye firmly on the future, in which the theaters hopefully would be filled to the brim again with opera lovers. Until then, the company treated their audience to The Mad King, together with the New European Ensemble and Museum Speelklok. An immersive and colorful theater experience, with music of Peter Maxwell Davies, Georg Frideric Handel and Brendan Faegre. The production was designed to be performed entirely in accordance with the corona measures. But due to yet another total lockdown, the performance premiered digitally in January 2021, with Charles Johnston as the mad king. Finally, at the end of the season, a small number of performances could be played in a few theaters, this time with Dutch baritone Wiebe-Pier Cnossen, and attended by the allowed limited audiences.

Press quotes

In the suggestive set design of Herbert Janse we saw singer Charles Johnston, the musicians of the New European Ensemble and mime artist Bodine Sutorius as favorite bird who later also embodied the ominous intruder. 'Gorgeously designed' and 'the visuals were superb' noted Opera Now journalist Robert Hugill in his online review. Il Giornale della Musica thought that the musicians were 'fantastically dressed like birds' by costume designer Mirjam Pater. German magazine O-Ton praised both the 'luxurious decoration' and the 'high musical level'. Theaterkrant wrote about the 'wonderful, cacophonic bird universe' and Opera Magazine called it a 'delusional world [...] with ghostly birds'. 'Musicians as caged birds, can it be more symbolic in times of corona?' and 'A golden choice', according to NRC.

Baritone Charles Johnston received much praise for his extraordinary performance. Theaterkrant wrote 'Seemingly effortless, Johnston maneuvers between the very lowest and the very highest regions of his vocal range.' Robert Hugill thought it a 'bravura performance, and rather disturbing' and NRC notes: 'Maniacal roaring and screaming, lunatic murmurs, animal guttural sounds; Johnston masters it all and then just as easily shakes a flowing high pitched Handel aria from his grubby sleeve.' The German O-Ton described his performance as a 'mimic and musical star role'.

We are very pleased with the reception of the total experience created by stage director Stefano Simone Pintor around the Eight songs for a Mad King. OPERA2DAY is always looking for dialogue with the present time and opera from the past. We feel encouraged by Bachtrack's review, who awarded the performance a whopping five stars and noted: 'A performance of the Eight Songs that is relatively far removed from the original, yet comes closer as a portrait of a confused mind than any production. therefore limited to the music of Peter Maxwell Davies. A textbook example of what makes OPERA2DAY distinctive: the connection between good old opera and our own time.'

In The Mad King, OPERA2DAY and the New European Ensemble treat the audience to an immersive and colorful theater experience, in which a powerful man in isolation fights his delusions, a strange guest enters, astonishing sounds can be heard, and we can escape our seclusion for a while, corona proof - on the wings of art.

Surrounded by his wondrous bird collection, the man cranks up his barrel organ and becomes inspired by the sound and color of remarkable mechanical instruments: all meant to stifle the cackling voices in his head. But then a strange guest flies in. It is a migratory bird from Asia that takes up residence in one of the cages, thus posing a threat to the magnificent collection of songbirds. The beginning of a free fall, which forces him to face his fears, beliefs and habits.

The legendary “Eight Songs for a Mad King” by composer Peter Maxwell Davies have their roots in history. The 'mad king' is George III of England, the monarch who, in addition to the American colonies, also lost his mind. He used the tunes from a mechanical organ to teach his collection of bullfinches to sing. In 1969, Peter Maxwell Davies converted these melodies into a range of music styles that form a poignant theatrical account of madness and insanity. These crazy and outlandish songs are the ultimate challenge for a baritone, who has to use his voice from frighteningly high to heart-sagging low, performed with extreme expressiveness.

In The Mad King by OPERA2DAY and the New European Ensemble, the eight songs are heard amidst the isolated man's fabulous fantasies. In these, the music of court composer Georg Frideric Handel plays a major role. The music from his operas and oratorios, also full of bird song and folk music, fits extremely wonderful into the universe of The Mad King

The Italian Stefano Simone Pintor directs the performance. He previously wrote the libretto for OPERA2DAY’s highly successful Vivaldi-Dangerous Liaisons. Baritones Charles Johnston and Wiebe Pier Cnossen alternate as the maniacal man - surrounded by six caged musicians from the New European Ensemble. The musical leadership of the production is in the hands of Hernán Schvartzman, the musical director of OPERA2DAY.  Worth a special mention is the collaboration with Museum Speelklok - the specialist in the field of mechanical organs and musical instruments.

OPERA2DAY & New European Ensemble
in collaboration with Museum Speelklok
present THE MAD KING

ARTISTIC TEAM

Concept and stage direction Stefano Simone Pintor
Music Peter Maxwell Davies, Georg Frideric Handel, Brendan Faegre
Libretto "Eight Songs for a Mad King” Julian Randolph Stowe, based on the writings of George III of Great Britain
Design of the musical universe Brendan Faegre
Musical direction Hernán Schvartzman
Artistic direction New European Ensemble Emlyn Stam
Scenography Herbert Janse
Light design Uri Rapaport
Sound design Arne Bock
Technical producer Ronald Tebra
Costume design Mirjam Pater
Hair and make-up Nienke Algra

CAST

Baritone Charles Johnston or Wiebe Pier Cnossen
Mime Bodine Sutorius
Ensemble Six musicians of the New European Ensemble (on stage)

Teaser The Mad King live stream

video

The Mad King

slideshow
No current calendar dates found for this production.

Monday 28 Jun 2021 - 21:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Monday 28 Jun 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Sunday 27 Jun 2021 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Sunday 27 Jun 2021 - 16:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Thursday 17 Jun 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

TAQA Theater De Vest, Alkmaar


Addres: Canadaplein 2
City: 1811 KE Alkmaar
Phone: 072-5489999

Saturday 12 Jun 2021 - 21:00 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, Utrecht


Addres: Lucasbolwerk 24
City: 3512 EJ Utrecht
Phone: 030-23 02 023

Saturday 12 Jun 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, Utrecht


Addres: Lucasbolwerk 24
City: 3512 EJ Utrecht
Phone: 030-23 02 023

Thursday 10 Jun 2021 - 21:00 HOUR

Theater Rotterdam (Schouwburg), Rotterdam


Addres: Schouwburgplein 25
City: 3012 CL Rotterdam
Phone: 010 - 40 44 111

Thursday 10 Jun 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Theater Rotterdam (Schouwburg), Rotterdam


Addres: Schouwburgplein 25
City: 3012 CL Rotterdam
Phone: 010 - 40 44 111

Sunday 14 Mar 2021 - 15:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Saturday 13 Mar 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Friday 12 Mar 2021 - 20:15 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Wednesday 10 Mar 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, Utrecht


Addres: Lucasbolwerk 24
City: 3512 EJ Utrecht
Phone: 030-23 02 023

Tuesday 09 Mar 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Koninklijk Theater Carré, Amsterdam

Koninklijk Theater Carré


Addres: Amstel 115-125
City: 1018 EM Amsterdam
Phone: 0900 - 25 25 255 (€ 0,45 p/m)

Friday 05 Mar 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

De Goudse Schouwburg, Gouda


Addres: Boelekade 67
City: 2806 AE Gouda
Phone: 0182 - 513 750

Wednesday 03 Mar 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

SPOT Groningen (Stadsschouwburg), Groningen


Addres: Turfsingel 86
City: 9711 VX Groningen
Phone: 050-3680368

Tuesday 02 Mar 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Theater Rotterdam (Schouwburg), Rotterdam


Addres: Schouwburgplein 25
City: 3012 CL Rotterdam
Phone: 010 - 40 44 111

Saturday 27 Feb 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Deventer Schouwburg, Deventer

Deventer Schouwburg


Addres: Leeuwenbrug 2
City: 7411 TJ Deventer
Phone: 0900 3000 200

Thursday 25 Feb 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Theater Kerkrade, Kerkrade


Addres: Theaterplein 30
City: 6461 DR Kerkrade
Phone: 045-571 66 07

Sunday 21 Feb 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie, Leeuwarden


Addres: Ruiterskwartier 4
City: 8911 BP Leeuwarden

Saturday 20 Feb 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Schouwburg Kunstmin, Dordrecht


Addres: Sint Jorisweg 76
City: 3311 PL Dordrecht
Phone: 078 639 79 79

Thursday 18 Feb 2021 - 20:15 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Wednesday 17 Feb 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Saturday 13 Feb 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg Haarlem, Haarlem


Addres: Wilsonsplein 23
City: 2011 VG Haarlem
Phone: 023 - 512 12 12 (keuze 1)

Friday 12 Feb 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Schouwburg Amstelveen, Amstelveen


Addres: Stadsplein 100
City: 1181 ZM Amstelveen
Phone: 020 547 51 75

Saturday 06 Feb 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg Nijmegen, Nijmegen


Addres: Keizer Karelplein 32h
City: 6511 NH Nijmegen
Phone: 024-3221100

Friday 05 Feb 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

TAQA Theater De Vest, Alkmaar


Addres: Canadaplein 2
City: 1811 KE Alkmaar
Phone: 072-5489999

Wednesday 03 Feb 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Flint, Amersfoort


Addres: Coninckstraat 60
City: 3811 WK Amersfoort
Phone: 033 4229 229

Friday 29 Jan 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Stadstheater Arnhem, Arnhem


Addres: Velperbinnensingel 10
City: 6811 BP Arnhem
Phone: 026 - 443 73 43

Friday 22 Jan 2021 - 21:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Friday 22 Jan 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Friday 22 Jan 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Thursday 21 Jan 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Wednesday 20 Jan 2021 - 21:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Wednesday 20 Jan 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Tuesday 19 Jan 2021 - 21:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Tuesday 19 Jan 2021 - 19:00 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg


Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Sunday 10 Jan 2021 - 20:00 HOUR

Theater aan de Schie, Schiedam


Addres: Stadserf 1
City: 3112 DZ Schiedam
Phone: 010-2467467

DURATION OF THE PERFORMANCE

1 hour, no intermission

SUBTITLING

Dutch and English

OPENING NIGHT

22 January 2021 (online)

 

 

  • '

    A golden choice: music theater full of corona symbolism

    '
  • NRC
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