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'
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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
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).
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)
Concept, composition and stage director Serge van Veggel
Co-stage director René M. Broeders
Musical director Hernán Schvartzman
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 manager Alice Gubler, Tineke Verheij
Production assistent Mieke van der Ven
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)
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
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.
Sunday 02 Jun 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Sunday 02 Jun 2013 - 14:30 HOUR
Saturday 01 Jun 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Saturday 01 Jun 2013 - 14:30 HOUR
Friday 31 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Thursday 30 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Wednesday 29 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Tuesday 28 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Sunday 26 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Sunday 26 May 2013 - 14:30 HOUR
Saturday 25 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Saturday 25 May 2013 - 14:30 HOUR
Friday 24 May 2013 - 20:30 HOUR
Thursday 23 May 2013 - 14:30 HOUR
Wednesday 22 May 2013 - 14:30 HOUR
Sunday 24 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR
Sunday 24 Jun 2012 - 14:30 HOUR
Saturday 23 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR
Saturday 23 Jun 2012 - 14:30 HOUR
Friday 22 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR
Thursday 21 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR
Wednesday 20 Jun 2012 - 20:30 HOUR
Wednesday 20 Jun 2012 - 14:30 HOUR