Men in Tribulation

Eric Sleichim

Eric Sleichim presents his new opera for countertenor, narrator, voice, saxophone quartet and keyboards, commissioned by Muziektheater Transparant. 

Three strands are interwoven to create the opera, using a variety of sources:

1° An historical Artaud - using Artaud’s own writings from his time in Mexico and from periods of internment in psychiatric clinics, the countertenor personifies an historical Artaud, in language that has been artificially reconstructed through the manipulation and mutilation of consonants, vowels and word-groups, and acceleration, deceleration and fragmentation of punctuation.

2° A modern Artaud – using original text to explore a fictional Artaud after psychiatric treatment, the narrator is the only character to use immediately accessible language in his powerful accusation.

3° The inner Artaud – based on excerpts of letters between Artaud and his psychiatrist, this third strand is represented by the choir of voices and saxophone, which are manipulated electronically, and are woven throughout the whole piece.

The composition is closely modelled on the personalities of each protagonist. Instruments are used both conventionally and unconventionally, each performer being able to electronically manipulate his own, or the other performers’ sounds. Thus an arsenal of sound is created from the countertenor’s voice and from the quartet of performers. The drama is played out and silenced by all of them. Both text and music are integrated with random elements, which can drastically affect the course of the outcome. Thus the hallucinations and illusions of Artaud on his journey make up a well of inspiration for this musical sculpture, which hints equally at Monteverdi and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, in a shifting space that encompasses both tranquility and mayhem.

The performance space is shared with the audience. Ideally, the space should also be open before and after the performance, to be visited as a non-silent witness.

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A production of Muziektheater Transparant in coproduction with KunstenFESTIVALdesArts and the Holland Festival. 

No dates available

Text: Jan Fabre • Scenography: Sven Grooten (B-Architecten) • Dramaturgy: Bart van den Eynde • Electronics: Iannis Zannos • The priests of Ciguri: BL!NDMAN Ciguri / the prosecutor: Viviane De MuynckArtaud II: Phil MintonArtaud I: Hagen Matzeit • Composition | Direction: Eric Sleichim