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The Troupe

Stabat Mater Stabat Pater

Stabat Mater Stabat Pater is the third passion work I’ve written over a ten year period. It completes a triptych of modern religious pieces in which suffering is central. In contrast to other passion works this theme doesn’t necessarily revolve around Jesus’ death on the cross. As a non-believer I prefer to stress the human aspect in ancient religious writings. Friendship, love of one’s neighbour and treason remain the major topics, but their perception is taken out of religious context.

For the St. Matthew’s Passion, my instrumental reworking of Bach’s masterpiece from 2002 my starting point as a composer was: What will remain of the spiritual content if you leave out the lyrics? ‘Thank god’ the attempt was successful; bare to the bone Bach’s music still manages to touch the listener’s soul directly. In his libretto for my Judas Passion Jeroen van Merwijk drew upon the Gospel of Judas Iscariot, rediscovered in 2005. In this Judas doesn’t appear as the bad guy, but as Jesus’ best friend. Jesus asks Judas to betray him as the ultimate act of friendship. It puts Judas in a mental torture, making it Judas’ passion. The staged version of the Judas Passion premiered in 2010.

In the beginning Stabat Mater Stabat Pater was simply a musical setting of the famous 13th century poem Stabat Mater Dolorosa. This was written by an anonymous monk, and in the history of music many composers have set it to music. Gradually I felt the need to give the father a role in the story: A man who is joining his wife in mourning their child’s death. It’s a situation which can often tear a family apart, for quite often the parents can’t share their grief. This is the subject matter that lies at the heart of Stabat Mater Stabat Pater.

I adapted the original poem in places and gave the father a voice. I also wanted to use text material of a secular nature. Upon my request Jaap Toorenaar made a ‘male’ adaptation of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa (‘Stabat Pater Dolorosus’). I asked my wife, Noortje Braat, to write some contemplative lyrics in Dutch and I took some lines from novels by the Dutch authors A.F.Th. van der Heijden and P.F. Thomése. This all resulted in a libretto in which Latin and Dutch texts stand side by side. Thus both the mother and the father are given a voice, and the parents’ grief over the loss of a child is put into a secular context. In addition to the father and the mother a third voice is introduced: the ‘good friend of the family’, who stands by the parents in a period of mourning.

Stabat Mater Stabat Pater: Th. 3 april 2014, Amstelkerk, Amsterdam. Buy tickets

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Leonardo’s Eye

Leonardo’s Eye is Egon Kracht’s newest musical theatre show about the relationship between art and science, based on life and work of Leonardo da Vinci. The show will be performed by The Troupe, consisting of three singers and five musicians, amongst them Egon Kracht himself. The show is a co-creation of people working in pop music, jazz, classical music, poetry, philosophy, sciences and visual arts. The many aspects of the makers, and the versatility of the scientific and artistic work of Da Vinci, will come together in a startling and hybrid musical show, revolving around observation and creativity.

Leonardo’s Eye will open on the 10th of October in the Stadsschouwburg in Velsen and will tour across the country until December 2013.

Leonardo da Vinci, painter, inventor, philosopher, architect, homo universalis from the early Renaissance: the man has always had an enormous appeal. He wanted to fly like a bird and dive like a fish. He drew, with perfect detail, everything he studied. He designed artillery and bridges with the same level of involvement. Many books have been written about him, schools are named after him, but never before a musical theatre show was dedicated to the genius. Leonardo’s Eye is a tribute to the omnipotent, multi talented Da Vinci. At the same time it is a plea to watch differently, as Leonardo was able to; a plea to always allow yourself to see things in a different light. Furthermore, the show is a call to cherish and strengthen apparently futile (scientific and artistic) creativity.

Leonardo’s Eye is a show filled with images, language and sound. Part of the text is taken from notes left behind by Leonardo. There are also newly written texts, by different librettists from various backgrounds. The common threads throughout these librettos are the three characteristic images of Leonardo da Vinci: the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and the gigantic statue of a horse, which was never produced by the artist himself. The stage will be built by a visual artist and will epitomize Leonardo’s workshop. It is a representation of his inner mind and will visualize the different temperaments of Leonardo.

The compositions made by Egon Kracht for Leonardo’s Eye will combine influences from Renaissance music and contemporary pop music. The music is a fusion of styles and will be performed with old and new instruments.

Egon Kracht

Egon Kracht started as a jazz musician. He was involved with theatre music and Frank Zappa’s rock music, and developed into a multi-faceted and wayward musician. He worked together with Maarten van Roozendaal amongst others, and he added his share to the music of Bach and Satie. His most recent compositions are utterly convincing combinations of different styles in which he explores the human side of theological figures. With Leonardo’s Eye, Kracht intends to investigate the divine within human beings. Egon founded The Troupe in 1994, with a changing group of players and musicians, appropriate to each of his projects.

Additional program

The Eye of Leonardo is the central element in a broad program on the relationship between Art and Science, with education as an important part of the project. An education program for age 16 and up has been set up and focuses on questions such as: What are the possibilities of perceiving reality in different manners? How do we encourage and stimulate developing talents?

There’s also a side program, concentrating on the idea of serendipity (the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it), consisting of workshops for all ages, lectures and panel discussions, combined with the musical theatre show The Eye of Leonardo.

The overall aim is to come to an online network, with two more shows and a children’s show, joined with information and forums on art and science in 2019, Leonardo Year, 500 years after his death.