Voi-Z Festival invited the Collective to create a music theatre piece based on Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle. The resulting ‘Bluebeard’ production premiered at the Voi-Z Festival in 2011 and was highly acclaimed by both public and press.
33 ⅓ Collective turned Bartok’s opera inside out. Putting both the male and female protagonist inside a cube in the middle of the stage. Transforming the male protagonist into a virtual circumstance and putting the audience inside Bluebeard’s rooms, even before his lover enters them. This enables a sense of what is happening behind close doors before they are opened. The resultant atmosphere is that of experiencing the inside of the chambers whilst witnessing a fatal destiny.
In collaboration with ten musicians the music for BlueBeard was created by improvising on our visual themes and inspired by Bartók's original score. Additionally a soundscape was created by Michael de Roo. During the performance the three members of the Collective worked as live operators on stage, interacting with both real and virtual objects. A meeting between prerecorded image and sound and physical presence that, from a spectators point of view, turned all elements into one hallucinative reality.
Bluebeard was selected by an international jury to be presented at Music Theatre Now at the Scenkonstbiennalen in Jönköping Sweden 2013.
- Exit Festival, Paris (France) 2015
- Prototype Festival New York (USA) 2013
- SonicA Festival Glasgow (Scotland) 2012
- Opera Dagen Rotterdam (Netherlands) 2012
- Theater Young Ones Zwolle (Netherlands) 2012 (try-out)
- Voi-Z Festival Zwolle (Netherlands) 2011
Dramaturgy: Peter te Nuyl
Advisors: Joshua Janssen and Hans Dingjan
Music production: Michael de Roo
Video: Jules van Hulst, Douwe Dijkstra, Coen Huisman
Music Arranged by: Mete Erker and Martin Fondse
Vocals: Ilse van de Kasteelen - Violin: Jasper le Clerq - Violin: Jeffry Bruinsma - Alt violin: Oene van Geel - Contrabass: Clemens van der Feen - Horn and voice: Morris Kliphuis - Saxophone and Bass clarinet: Mete Erker - Piano: Martin Fondse - Percussion: Dieter-Peter Kölsch - Music director: Chris Weeda - Studio: Fattoria Musica
Vocals, vibes: Stephanie Pan – Double bass, cello: Jelte van Andel – Violin, viola: Vera van der Bie – Trombone: Koen Kaptijn – Trumpet and apps: Diederik Rijpstra – Piano, Korg MS10, Alesis Micron: Wilbert Bulsink – Percussion, Ondes Martenot, Rhodes: Daniel Cross –
Recording and mixing engineer: Alex Geurink – Recording assistant: Erik Verweij
Voice-over: Kevin Walton
Sound design: Arjen Schut & Aline Bruijns
Soundscapes: Michael de Roo
Actress: Annemiek Timmerman
Business management: Aat Seger
Production assistants: Nora Hulsink, Vera-Louisa-Aikens, Justin Deams
Coproduction: Voi-Z festival
Sceneography: Martijn Assen and Marcel Veneboer
Technical assistants: Gerran Kroes
Facilitating: Vishay BC Components
International transport assistance: Ronald Westerhuis
BLUEBEARD – PRESS QUOTES
"Three-dimensionality is convincingly evoked, and the performers vividly interact with the images — seeming, in one chilling sequence, to sweep up bodies. (…) at its strongest it peers at the world closely and strangely. Early on there is footage of a key being slowly inserted into an arm. That grotesque, riveting image sums up in an instant the potent mixture of violence and mystery at the heart of the Bluebeard story."
Zachary Woolfe - THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 12th 2013
"Video has infiltrated mainstream opera houses, too, but in Bluebeard, three young artists with a white box have unstoppered a stream of 3-D illusions that the Metropolitan Opera should really be coveting."
Justin Davidson - NEW YORK MAGAZINE, January 20th 2013
"This montage of startlingly three-dimensional images, projected on a large revolving cube and the floor, creepily evoked the journey of Bluebeard's wife through the many forbidden doors of his castle. "If torture be the food of love, play on," says a woman's recorded voice, and the falling legs and axes, clattering coins, cracking ice, drowned boats beneath a lake, and female bodies swept up onto stretchers combined beauty with intense misogyny. Michael de Roo's subtly haunting recorded soundscape of music and sound effects contributed to the dislocating and uncomfortable sense of the viewer's complicity in the wife's fate."
Heidi Waleson, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, January 15th 2013
“And hasten especially to Bluebeard (...) the video realization does retain the essential sort of a woman opening (various) chambers of horrors, in this case containing just about every modern nightmare – from random massacres and serial axe murders to Middle Eastern warfare and ecological disaster. Some of the imagery is pretty repulsive, but the presentation is stunning. Images flicker and merge across a swiveling white cube and the floor with a sophistication that makes the video projections in conventional opera and theatre productions seem like your granddad’s home movies. Bluebeard is the jewel in Sonica’s crown."
Richard Morrison, THE TIMES, November 2012
"Who’d have thought a bare stage with a wooden cube could be so endlessly fascinating? But using just these simple elements, Netherlands-based multimedia artists 33 ⅓ Collective might just have forged a new form of theatre – with a little help from some clever computer projections."
David Kettle, THE SCOTSMAN, November 2012
“On through the dark to another huge space, where a white box stands alone on an empty stage. A severed leg falls to the floor with a thud, followed by another, and another. Collectief 33 ⅓’s Blauwbaard is a masterpiece of video projection and computer animation. We are with Bluebeard’s undead wives, part of a nightmare we cannot control. Sound, image, movement, and magic are deftly employed to evoke nameless fears.”
Shirley Apthorp, FINANCIAL TIMES, May 2012
“Right in the middle of the old factory stands a man-size cube. It starts simply, with sliding projections of black-white steps. But the first surprise comes when the cube starts spinning and the patterns on the floor wallow along. What then follows is mind boggling: fabric falls on and off the cube, it starts raining, the impact of bullets transforms into coins which than all fall of off the cube on the floor, a river full of wriggling objects. (...) And it's only beamed light. And sound, not to forget: the speakers flush an equally fascinating flood of sounds, partly the noise related to the images, like the tinkling of the coins, but also real music: synthetic hum tones, the sound of instruments and that of a flawless singing singer.”
Frits van der Waa, VOLKSKRANT, May 2012
"Bluebeard, an almost entirely digital representation without soloists or live music. The overwhelming original images and tight theatrical approach raise this grim fairy tale opera to a very high level. Fascinating."
Jordi Kooiman, OPERA MAGAZINE – April issue