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Home arrow Reviews arrow Concerts arrow 'Ça Ira Moed' - Rotterdam, Holland November 17th 2010
'Ça Ira Moed' - Rotterdam, Holland November 17th 2010 Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Ca Ira MoedFurther to our recent stories about the second staging of Roger Waters' opera 'Ça Ira' in Holland on November 17th, the event has now successfully taken place in front of a packed audience at the Nieuwe Luxor Theater in Rotterdam. Some of you will recall that in 2008, there was a special performance of Ça Ira with Roger's full blessing. The event took place on Dutch Liberation Day, and was a very special, full-scale staging of the opera in the largest concert hall in Holland, with all proceeds from the event going to the War Child charity.

With the tragic and brutal death last year of the 14-year-old son of André Post, one of the soloists in "Ça Ira for Warchild", the organiser of the original show, Joke Tuinema, decided to bring Ça Ira back to the stage again. This time not for the benefit of War Child, but for the 'Moed' campaign [see www.moed.nl]. Moed means "courage", and the campaign takes a stand against senseless violence against others.

Amongst those present at the show was Queen Beatrix, head of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, clearly just as enthralled and touched as the rest of the audience. There too were a number of Brain Damage regulars, including Martijn Kluizenaar and Guntmar Ploetzke, both of whom share their views on the concert itself below...

First, we hear from Martijn Kluizenaar:

Yesterday night I attended the wonderful performance of Ca Ira in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It was dedicated to the Foundation Against Violence, the concert's charitable body chosen in the memory of son of tenor Andre Post, Dirk Post, who was murdered exactly one year ago by a boy who also lived in the small village as Dirk, at the age of 14. The proceedings went to MOED, an organisation that stands up against "senseless" violence. "Moed" is the Dutch word for courage; the courage to stand up against violence. For me it was the courage of tenor Andre Post, who, exactly one year after his son's untimely and horrible death, put up a great, moving and very powerful performance. Because of the social theme involved, Queen Beatrix attended. This was obviously a right move, to give Ca Ira and especially MOED some extra media coverage (which they obviously deserve). However, what I haven't heard in the press is how awkward the theme of the piece must have been to the Queen. A piece about tearing down the monarchy and liberate the people, on the same day that the majority of the Dutch parliament spoke out against any political influence of... the Queen!

About the piece itself: very well performed (although somehow I expected more from famous Dutch opera singer Ernst Daniel Smid, who seemed a bit too easy-going to me). I especially enjoyed the guys 'n' gals in the choir, who were very enthousiastic and some very talented. But again, Andre Post's performance was very moving and powerful. At the ovational applause I think even the Queen couldn't keep her eyes dry...

A note: I am not an opera lover and wouldn't have gone to see it if it hadn't been Roger's work, but I'm glad I did, somehow it felt historical.

And now, Guntmar Ploetzke's view on the first staging of Ca Ira in Rotterdam:

Again we came from Hannover to the Netherlands to witness this big opera from Roger Waters.

We have been to the performance of Ca Ira at The Hague in 2008 so we knew what we are going to see this night but we were very excited again because Joke told me that this time something special will happen.

I had to read it in the news and in the net first to believe that Her Majesty Queen Beatrix will be present that night!

This time the stage of the New Luxor was a little smaller than the World Forum Stage so the orchestra and the choirs have to be placed closer together. The stage has various lights and a machine to produce smoke. So this will help to assist the music and change the mood when neccessary.

We meet Joke and Andrè with his wife Jolanta on tuesday evening and had dinner together. It was lovely to see them again after two years and we talked right away just as if we met only a few days before. Luckily we were invited to be at their general and unique rehearsal at the New Luxor on Wednesday afternoon, which was just a few hours before the real staging will begin.

Most of the time was used for sound setting. There was no running through the whole piece but only some special parts that seemed to be special for lights and sounds.

At the evening we went to the luxor theater at a quarter to eight. We did not want to miss anything. From Joke we knew that all spectators will have to be at their seats and all doors have to be closed. .....All eyes on the doors....Then Her Majesty came in with the Lord Major of Rotterdam on one and with Joke on her other side!

All stood up, all eyes on them and all gave a big applause.......magic, you can image this, I think. The Queen sat down and then all sat down. Joke on one and the Lord Major on the other side. Then Joke entered the stage to greet the Queen and all of us. Sadly I couldn't understand all of her speech but she asked some of us "are you having courage?" Then on the screen was shown Youp van't Hek, a Dutch cabaretier and poet who told to us a poem related to this evening's theme about moed and courage. This was received with a great understanding and earned a lot of applause.

Now the main ceremony is about to begin. The wind began to howl, birds start to sing, dogs began to bark and a lonely drum and trumpet rings in the situation of cold nights, hunger, thirst and anger just before the French revolution.

The singers, the orchestra, the choirs, lights and sound and the animations on the screen now are perfectly synchronised to the audience. The New Luxor, which is packed up to its very last seat (only 8 or 10 seats are not occupied as I can see) is quiet, the machines of the smoke and air conditioning can be heard during the quiet passages. Everybody seems to hold their breath.

Ernst Daniel Smid, (the ringmaster, the troublemaker, Louis Capet and Condorcet) shoots our minds to Vienna to that garden where Madame Antoine (the young Marie Antoinette) dreams of her Life as a Queen.

Andrè Post, (the revolutionary Priest, the military Officer) and Karin Ten Cate (the voice of Liberty and the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette) join him telling us the greatest story of France that became the mother of all revolutions worldwide. And to all of us how important "those brave and crazed souls are to spill their blood for truth alone and that only one or two ideas always survive written in blood on paving stones".

Maurice Luttikhuis, the conducter tonight holds everything together. And he puts it tight and fast for the musicians, in a positive way.

The audience is fascinated about what they see and hear and is not willing to wait to the ends of act one and two. Unusual there is applause after each "song" and that is truly earned!

This time the intermission is set to half an hour. During this pause Her Majesty is kind enough to talk to some people that Joke has suggested to her. It is a great honour for me that Joke decided to introduce me to her Queen and I am still not able to describe my feelings then and even now, three days later. All I can say is that in my whole life I will never forget this (thank you again, Joke!).

Act three starts with a little delay, I think. Her Majesty is not only saying "hello" but really takes time for a little talk with everyone of us who are privileged to be introduced. Of course Joke had to write down who is going to be near her Queen and made a prove to pass the Security. But after all it was really a joy to be one of the few for a few minutes.

Back to the Story which now gets rough, this time for the royalties back in 1789 in France. The King and Queen had to run away with small baggage ("...just a few hundred light horses") but were caught and brought back to Paris. Now the Giullotines are up to date and the King and Queen are going to meet them.

So sorry, but there was a warning during the first act, scene four:

"...have a care if you treat your people like vermin
you could end up with blood stained ermine."

Now there is way for freedom and "there are human rights for everyone, unique and universal for everyone under the sun if we are not lost in these towers of ivory in respect for the strong and in fear of our need to belong the promise of Republic lies within CaIra!"

CaIra!...... the remarkable last words and the entire audience is on their feet and give everyone on stage a really big (BIG!) applause. This takes minutes.......

Just before the end another really wild and loud applause especially for Andrè (...and for Dirk it was loud enough to hear, Andre) who did a performance extraordinary for sad reason.

Before everything is over and history moves on, Her Majesty (yes, she has been present the entire show and was very interested as I've learned from Joke) had a small talk with the solo artists and the conductor.

That's it for 2010 and CaIra! That night at the hotel we knew this was really special and we were wondering how fine it would be to see this again, maybe next year or in the near future. If only Joke is strong enough to make it happen......

Hopefully there will be someone who not only loves this timeless piece of music but has the chance to put it on stage with monetary help.

Until that very day: Thank you Roger for Words and Music and Thank you JOKE!

 
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