Sancta Susanna

In his book The tears of Eros, the philosopher Georges Bataille deals at length with the relationship between religion and eroticism:

"Religion is in any case subversive; it rejects the adherence to the laws. What it demands is excess, sacrifice, celebration, with, as a climax, ecstasy."

In this work the link between carnal love and religious love is the desire of both to unite, to abandon oneself, to sacrifice oneself to something grand. In his opera Hindemith sketches an intriguing picture of religion and eroticism. He creates magnificent music and suggestive texts to portray the dark but also exalted and tumultuous layers with which a person is confronted upon entering the cloister atmosphere when eroticism amd religion are blended.



Susanna Maaike Widdershoven
Klementia Klara Uleman
Nun Hester Dam
Virgin Alma Mathijsen
Servant Emile Zeldenrust
Matheus Vitali Rozynko
Klemens Wil van der Meer
Monk Ragnar van Linden van den Heuvell
Dancer Dries van der Post
Virgin Alma Mathijsen
Servant Emile Zeldenrust
musical director David Levi
director nuns Corina van Eijk
director monks Margrith Vrenegoor
art director Jolanda Lanslots
costume design Pieter van Rooij
make-up artist Saskia Ellemeet
art director and gaffer Tom Verheijen
gaffer Henk Post
sound engineer Attie Bauw
sound design Patricia Boogaard
tutor Caterina Galiotto
assistant tutor Oscar Mario Echeverry
engineers Jan Willem Wind, Kiki Heslenfeld, Patricia Boogaard, Folkert Swart, Barbara Reijs
producer Barbara Reijs
assistant to the director Maaike Verdonk


'The most fascinating thing about the performance was that the same story and the same music produced an almost diametricslly opposed result in the two versions. Whereas in the staging by Opera Spanga's director Corina van Eijk, Susanna (a superb role for musical star Maaike Widdershoven)is a somewhat bashful girl who gradually falls prey to the temptations of the flesh, in the monk version Susanna/Mattheus reveals himself as a self-assured seducer who manages to lure Jesus into sinning.(...) Both versions are not only exceptionally powerfully staged but magnificently sung as well. The fact that the orchestra is taped hardly takes away from the magic of Paul Hindemith's music.'

Dagblad van het Noorden, April 19, 2005

´Van Eijk exercised much more restaint than is usually the case and created a powerful drama around Maaike Widdershoven's Susanna and Klara Uleman's Klementia. It is a pity that the orchestra was taped and that both ladies wore a microphone, but they both sang and acted with incredible strength. The climax with the crucifix was chilling.´

Trouw, April 19, 2005

´Sancta Susanna by Paul Hindemith, powerfully performed-- both acting and singing-- by OPERA SPANGA...'

NRC Handelsblad, April 18, 2005

´Van Eijk transformed a brief scene of less than a half hour into a breathtaking piece of music theater. Not just through her subtle staging--with Klara Uleman as a striking, sharp-tongued nun, a delightful figure-- but also by using the expressive power Hindemith's music as a guideline. (...) By housing the opera in a religious setting and by removing the barrier between audience and stage she brings the action closer. Everything becomes more accessible. Add to this the absence of the orchestra. David Levi and his cohorts recorded a tape which surrounds the church with magnificent sound. This too makes the performance more convincing and it seems as if the audience, almost embarrassed, is peering over the cloister walls. (...) Vrenegoor's staging is less direct and less compelling than Van Eijk's but really stimulates the fantasy more and ends up inducing the same oppressive feeling. (...) The singers all know their job: Singing from he texts. And damned good acting. And that's exactly what happens. Excellent.´

Leeuwarder Courant, April 22, 2005

´The entrance of Mattheus baritone Vitali Rozynko after the break, however, tittilated the senses right away. Also thanks to Vrenegoor and her stage designer Tom Verhijen. More intriguing than Van Eijk's obligatory crucifix and altar was the idea of presenting Christ in the flesh.´

De Volkskrant, April 22, 2005

´The staging concept of Corina van Eijk and Margrith Vrenegoor is exceptionally original.´

De Groene Amsterdammer, May 6, 2005

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