Madrigals, Charles Dhondt, 2022
Madrigals, Charles Dhondt, 2022

The inexhaustible simplicity of our possibilities. A multifaceted choir no longer sings with the wind, but goes back to a formless beginning, where all the meanings of love and conflict can still take shape. Director Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe stages Monteverdi’s Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi with utopian enthusiasm. In an ancient grotto, the singing and dancing of the performers shares equal prominence with new symbols and contemporary artworks. Present, past and future thus merge into a single point, a zero point.

In Madrigals Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe takes the theme of Claudio Monteverdi's eighth Madrigals book, Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi (1638) as premise: non-religious songs about lost loves, lonely hearts, lost shepherds, about sports and games, about war and peace. Meirhaeghe moulds these sparkling vocal works about war and love into a cry for freedom fuelled by passion and a fighting spirit. With the Ancient Greeks in mind, he creates a contemporary and uninhibited orgy, in which the boundaries between the human and the divine are blurred: life without inhibition, where love and experiencing sexuality are paramount, relieved of conservative dogmas that still dictate us today.

The group of singers and musicians perform the reworked songs of Claudio Monteverdi within a staged ritual, in a cave in which various symbols and works of art reflect our time and show a reformed future. An architectural feast, that is no longer just about human suffering and his horrific acts of war, but that is about a worldly primary mental battle: fighting for love. As the title of the Monteverdi song ‘Ogni amanate e 'guerrier’says: "Every lover is a warrior!"

Premiere 21/1/2022 – 20:00 : DE SINGEL (Antwerpen, BE)

19/3/2022 – 20:00 : Concertgebouw Brugge (Brugge, BE)

27-28/5/2022 – 20:30 : O. Festival for Opera. Music. Theatre (Rotterdam, NL)