Ictus [Brussels]

Happy End (G. Aperghis)

Happy End (G. Aperghis)
Happy End (G. Aperghis)


A sadistic fairytale

Over the last few seasons Georges Aperghis (1945) has more or less been Ictus' resident composer, and as such has been a regular guest at the Kaaitheater. The Greco-French composer Georges Aperghis (b. 1945) bases his musical theatre on many sources, ranging from the writing of Heiner Müller to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (for Avis de tempête, last season in Kaaitheater). In Happy End he narrates the fairytale of Tom Thumb as written down by Charles Perrault in 1697. However, it would be a mistake to expect soppy, sweet nostalgia from Aperghis. He emphasises the cruel, sadistic side of the fairytale in which Tom Thumb wanders about like a Kafkaesque character in an extremely eerie urban landscape. This is expressed in a wonderful cartoon film by the Flemish artist Hans Op de Beeck. 

Aperghis in De Morgen newspaper (29/11/2007): ‘Tom Thumb is a wanderer. As his journey progresses the images become a sort of endless process of change. In these landscapes Tom Thumb never encounters any other people. Only escalators and large buildings. Consequently, when the giant speaks you get the impression that the street is in fact the giant. The characters become what you see, but you do not see any characters, only landscapes.’

The film is not an illustration of the story but adds a new layer to it and comments on it. Aperghis’ musical score reminds one of film noir, a thriller.  

music Georges Aperghis | libretto after Le Petit Poucet by Charles Perrault | direction Georges-Elie Octors | animation film Hans Op de Beeck, Bruno Hardt, Klaas Verpoest | music electronics Sébastien Roux | recorded voices Edith Scob, Michael Lonsdale | production Opéra de Lille | support IRCAM (Paris)