If there’s one artist who embodies Toneelhuis's ambitions for the coming years, it's Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe (b. 1995). The young director, singer and performer has made 'connecting’ his artistic practice. He builds bridges between tradition and innovation, between disciplines and genres, between audiences and artists. The result: deeply sensitive, breath-taking productions.
The starting point of this show is Meirhaeghe's own personal love story. In 2018 he made The Ballet together with his then lover and muse. That mythologised relationship still fascinates Meirhaeghe. Think of the love stories between Diaghilev and Nijinsky, Wilde and Bosie, Warhol and Basquiat and all the other passionate relationships in which art and life intertwine.
Here, Meirhaeghe appears on stage himself, entering into an intimate artistic dialogue with performers Jelle Haen and Désirée Cerocién. He is accompanied live by Berlin singer-songwriter Finn Ronsdorf on soul and blues piano.
Ode to a Love Lost is a hymn to decline and loss, but also a song of hope. There is music in ruin, future in melancholy. With a love lost as the driving force, a deep crater as the landscape and a dual relation with the norm, Meirhaeghe literally moves towards liberation.
Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe created a furore as a director and a countertenor in his own operatic musical projects (A Revue, Madrigals). He challenges the classical repertoire in his work: dancers become singers, singers become dancers. Looking for a different kind of virtuosity, Meirhaeghe calls for unashamed access to big emotions, while offering pleasure to semi-skilled practitioners. This is his first production as a resident Toneelhuis artist.
Toneelhuis @ De Cinema
Sunday 22 January 8:30 PM
Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe highlights Sara Dosa's documentary Fire of Love, a romantic and tragic exploration of breathtaking volcanic regions with spectacular (archival) footage. After the screening, he discusses the film with Kristof van Baarle, dramaturge for Ode to a Love
A maker of integrity, Meirhaeghe has proved to have no qualms about appearing intimate and vulnerable on the large stage.
"In ‘Ode to a Love Lost’, performer Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe rakes together the pieces of his broken heart. His grief unfolds in images and music of beauty and stillness."
"His own heartbreak, which underlies Ode to a Love Lost , is expressed from different perspectives. An eclectic mix of opera repertoire, jazz, blues and orchestral music can also be heard in the soundscape."
"Love in the broadest possible sense. As vulnerable as it is threatening: that is Ode to a Love Lost ."
"As well as passages from Debussy’s composition to Nijinsky’s L'Après-midi d'un faune, the piece is pervaded by one long sustained sound in an arc of tension which, in true Wagnerian style, is never allowed release. Ingeniously incorporated is the tension of unprocessed loss and unknown future."
"“In Ode to a Love Lost , we explore the energy of the 'afterglow', as researcher Louise van den Eede called it. The shimmering after a catastrophe. The afterglow of the big bang. The hush right after your heart breaks. Meanwhile, in the scenography, this has been translated into a gigantic wind chime of 8,000 steel pipes, above a carpet that covers the entire stage. The old and the new converge in that image. I like to compare my creative process to a centrifuge: I throw the past, present and future into it, and a show comes out of it."
- Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe
by and with
- Désirée Cerocién/ Mario Barrantes Espinoza
- Finn Ronsdorf
- Jelle Haen
- Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe
- Bart Van Merode
- Zaza Dupont
- Oumar Dicko
- Louise Van den Eede
- Kristof Van Baarle
- Hanako Hayakawa
- Wouter Deltour
- Sten Dielen
- Charles Dhondt
- Victor Verhelst
- Felix Deckers
- Malique Fye
- Maria Zandvliet
- ART HAPPENS
with the support of
- de Tax Shelter van de Belgische federale overheid
- Casa Kafka Pictures Tax Shelter