Two years ago, Peter Vermeersch, the powerhouse behind the marvellous Flat Earth Society big band and many other groups and projects, wrote the music for the opera Heliogabal, based on an original libretto by the young Berlin writer Thomas Jonigk. This coproduction by Het Toneelhuis and the Ruhr Triennale (whose artistic director at that time was Gerard Mortier) opened at the Gebläse Halle in Duisburg on 8th May 2003. This season Vermeersch is presenting a concert version with his travelling companion Josse De Pauw. De Pauw is directing.
Jonigk drew inspiration from Heliogabalus, a child emperor of Rome. Just as Michael Jackson once counted his fans in millions, the fourteen-year-old Heliogabalus also won over Rome. But it was not long before he became public enemy number one. He was accused of blasphemy, provocation, arrogance, political treachery, bribery, sexual excesses, prostitution and homosexuality. Jonigk wrote a play about the masses and power, hysteria, love and narcissism, madness and scheming.
texte Thomas Jonigk
mise en scène Josse De Pauw
dramaturgie Griet Op de Beeck
musique Peter Vermeersch
assistance musicale Koen Kessels, Andrew Wise
avec Esmé Bos, Annique Burms, Sara De Bosschere, Sylvie De Pauw, Pieter Embrechts, Madiha Figuigui, Flat Earth Society, Keith Tillotson, Bernard Van Eeghem, Wim Willaert
production Het Toneelhuis