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Chamber opera 'I'm leaving': away from the smartphone

Last year the hit of the Zwolle City Festival, to be seen again this year at NJO Muziekzomer: the opera I am leaving By Lucas Wiegerink.

The NJO Music Summer kicks off its new edition today, 4 August with the publicly accessible dress rehearsal of The Mother of Black-Winged Dreams by Hanna Kulenty. About this opera, in which protagonist Clara is besieged by inner demons, I wrote here last week already. The involves a co-production with the Dutch National Opera Academy, which offers young singers and musicians the chance to gain stage experience in a professional setting.

The organisation additionally sought cooperation with Kameroperahuis Zwolle, including for the 'fair opera' Horse, Fire engine & Frog, a family play performed at three different venues. The play is set around a dilapidated carousel, whose proprietor can no longer cough up the cost of maintenance. In addition, the opera I am leaving by Lucas Wiegerink, which he composed last year, commissioned by the Kameroperahuis and the Nederlandse Reisopera.

In search of emptiness and peace

The main characters from I'm leaving flee from the world, in search of the simplicity of life as it was once meant to be: ultimate emptiness and tranquillity. Away from the ever-blinking smartphone, back to a world without ideas of how it should be and especially: who they should be. On a desert island, they try to become one with the environment, with each other and with themselves. Whether they will succeed is the question.

Lucas Wiegerink composed I am leaving commissioned by the Kameroperahuis Zwolle and the Nederlandse Reisopera. The production had its premiere in 2015 during the Zwolle city festival and will be performed again Sunday 14 and Monday 15 August at open-air theatre Pinkenberg in Velp.

'We guarantee you won't run out of things to say about this performance in the intimate open-air theatre surrounded by the forest!' the brochure roars. Afterwards, there will be drinks, lit - and heated - by fire pits.

Last year I spoke to Lucas Wiegerink about his opera for Cultural Press. Then, unfortunately, I had to miss the performance, but this time I'm right up front. Now just pray it stays dry...

Thea Derks

Thea Derks studied English and Musicology. In 1996, she completed her studies in musicology cum laude at the University of Amsterdam. She specialises in contemporary music and in 2014 published the critically acclaimed biography 'Reinbert de Leeuw: man or melody'. Four years on, she completed 'An ox on the roof: modern music in vogevlucht', aimed especially at the interested layperson. You buy it here: In 2020, the 3rd edition of the Reinbertbio appeared,with 2 additional chapters describing the period 2014-2020. These also appeared separately as Final Chord.View Author posts

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