Fabre has always been fascinated by the German composer Richard Wagner and has already used his music in theatre productions on several occasions. His work and his ideas about the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ are a common theme in Fabre’s work. The theme of Wagner’s Tannhäuser ties in seamlessly with Fabre’s own fascination for lust, violence, guilt, penance and death.
In a co-production with the Belgian national opera De Munt/La Monnaie Fabre takes an innovative approach to the tale of the knight-errant on a quest for the ultimate love in terms of dramaturgy and scenography. Fabre works with geometric patterns: the circle symbolises the cycle of life and death while the rectangle symbolises the lines: a purified world, which supplants the abnormal, is concealed in the tightly orchestrated machinery of an army or a crusade. It is worth noting that he dresses the pilgrims or penitents as clowns because all the ridicule and frustration is projected on them.
Fabre creates an ode to the power and agility of women choosing to abandon the traditional dualism between Venus’s sensuality and Elisabeth’s chastity. Instead he advances two female characters who are equals and adds the figure of Mary as a symbol of fertility, surrounded by pregnant women. She is a primal image, a woman of many faces (and many breasts). By contrast with Wagner Fabre mainly emphasises the interconnection between these women. He accentuates the theme of the ever changing, shifting woman, a theme that is often referenced in his more recent work, in a most monumental manner.
musical director Kazushi Ono director, scénography Jan Fabre assistance and dramaturgy Miet Martens choreography Renée Copraij, Jan Fabre costumes Daphne Kitschen light design Jan Dekeyser, Harry Cole dramaturgy Luk Van den Dries chorus master Renato Balsadonna
soloists Stephen Milling, Louis Gentile, Roman Trekel/Stephan Loges, Daniel Kirch, Andrew Greenan, Donal Byrne, Jacques Does, Adrienne Dugger, Natascha Petrinsky, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Leo Becker, Alban Pols, Annie Czupper
dancers Olivier Dubois, Ziya Azazi, Lara Martelli, Maria Stamenkovic-Herranz, Eveline Van Bauwel, Cédric Charron, Annabelle Chambon, Geert Vaes, Heike Langsdorf, Ivana Jozic, Elie Tass, Tawny Andersen, Ana Carolina Avila Perez, Andrea Magaly Rbiano Ramirez
production De Munt / La Monnaie (Brussels) co-oproduction Troubleyn (Antwerp)
première 09.06.2004, De Munt, Brussels