The production had its premiere during the Operadagen Rotterdam, and was received with great acclaim. The fantastic percussionist Frank Rosaly opens the performance with his back to the audience with a long and virtuoso drum solo.
Then seven other men join him on the scene. Everyone wears fashionable, tight-fitting business suits, all gray, uniform, and yet, unlike in Lazarus, characters emerge. Are they industrial managers, lawyers, brokers? People who belong or want to belong to the world of money and power. They all sing, dance and act masterfully.
The music, by Nicole Beutler's house composer Gary Shepherd, and partly razor-sharp sung by the dancers, is a collage of chord sequences from the frost-scene of Purcell's King Arthur (the scene in which a spirit trapped in the ice describes how it slowly stiffens in the environment) and atmospheric electronic sounds. Accompanied by Purcell's increasingly dissonant harmonies, we see the worlds of certainties depicted by the clothes of the men, continue to disintegrate.
The set is inspired by the mathematical transitions in the delusional art of M.C. Escher and designed by Julian Maiwald, consisting of metal pipes and luminous rods. It appears at first to stand solidly, but soon also begins to move seemingly more and more disorderly.
To complete the disintegration, the figures change into fauns or into what appear to be figures from a painting by Arcimboldo, or Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. They finally stiffen, like the figure Daphne of Greek mythology, who turned into a tree, described in Ovid's 'Metamorphoses', as a consolation for what had happened to her as a result of the acts of the gods, but what a bad consolation that was, I already thought as a grammar school student, if from now on you can only look around yourself but are actually catatonic.
Meanwhile, we look out over a monumental landscape that unfolds as the dividing wall between the auditorium and the stage rises (the audience sits on the stage), and we see the actual theater hall, where a lone tree stands, amid beautifully built-up fog from the smoke machine. In the closing scene, that tree is engulfed by the mist. Does this depict the life that has disappeared from the earth are we back to a lifeless prehistoric age? Or is this a future unification with nature, albeit not harmonious, but gray and ominous, as in a painting by Caspar David Friedrich?
8: Metamorphosis. Concept, direction, choreography Nicole Beutler together with dancers and musicians Felix Schellekens, Dominic Kraemer, Arnout Lems, Sebastian Pickering Pedersen, Rob Polmann, Timo Tembuyser, Christian Guerematchi and Frank Rosaly, Music Henry Purcell and Gary Shepherd, Lighting design Minna Tiikkainen, Scenography Julian Maiwald, Premiere Operadagen Rotterdam.
5 november 2019
uit: Blog Basia con Fuoco, Neil van der Linden