| opera |
Concept and direction by Stefano Simone Pintor

"Directed by Stefano Simone Pintor, the whole was gorgeously designed by Herbert Janse, and whatever was happening on stage the visuals were superb."
Planet Hugill, 24.01.2021


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

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

LIVE STREAM on Friday 22 January 2021, 20:00. You can buy your ticket here.
The opera will be played between May and June 2021 in theatres throughout the Netherlands.

During the lockdown, OPERA2DAY keeps their eye firmly on the future, in which the theaters hopefully will be filled to the brim again with opera lovers. Until then, we will treat our 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, George Friedrich Händel and Brendan Faegre, which we can perform entirely according to the corona measures.

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.

Foto: Marco Borggreve


The Mad King is beautifully designed and the execution is excellent, which is worth a lot. […] Stefano Simone Pintor subtly weaves references to the situation in America through his direction. Like the rain of Twitter messages that suddenly descends on the screen: 'He is crazy!'; 'Protest now!'; 'Down with the King!' Also funny are the four coloured microphones in front of which George delivers a speech, or the doggy bag typical of American restaurants that he puts on his head as a 'crown'. The letters CKN seem to wink at the junk food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Thea Derks
Theaterkrant, 23.01.2021 

The Dutch company Opera2Day solved the problem of what to perform during the restrictions of lockdown by turning to a one-man opera. […] We were still in the mad universe of the poor King (baritone Charles Johnston) with his birds (the instrumentalists of the New European Ensemble, musical director Hernán Schvartzman, plus the mime artist Bodine Sutorius) and his music boxes (including a self-playing organ from the Museum Speelklok in Utrecht), but in an extended and continuous music theatre piece where we seemed to experience an entire imaginative universe. […] Directed by Stefano Simone Pintor, the whole was gorgeously designed by Herbert Janse, and whatever was happening on stage the visuals were superb.

Planet Hugill
Planet Hugill, 24.01.2021

Since September, Opera2day has been working on a lockdown-proof musical theatre performance. It turned out to be a golden move. […] Italian director Stefano Simone Pintor transforms King George into a contemporary recluse (stained bathrobe, ditto sports socks), who keeps an exotic collection of birds in his shabby flat. The most colourful bird-like creatures are the members of the New European Ensemble (beautiful costumes by Mirjam Pater). Musicians as caged birds: can it get any more symbolic in corona time? […] Maniacal screaming. Director Pintor throws out more lines to current affairs. With a barrage of inflammatory Twitter messages, he questions the mental state of a more recent head of state. Video fragments about massive bird deaths and diseased poultry farming underline our disturbed relationship with nature.

Joep Christenhusz
NRC, 24.01.2021 

Pintor doesn't leave [madness] at the Eight Songs, either. He combines them with music from the time of the historical king - with excerpts from oratorios and instrumental pieces by Handel, which are intoned in a slightly distorted manner and become more and more modern towards the end, resulting in flowing transitions to the modern sounds by Peter Maxwell Davies. In this way, the directorial concept and the composition interlock. […]
The result is a realization of the Eight Songs that is comparatively far removed from the original and yet comes closer to it in its portrait of a confused mind than any production that limits itself to the music of Peter Maxwell Davies.

Rainer Zerbst
Bachtrack, 25.01.2021 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️      NRC
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  Bachtrack

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