Thursday, December 5, 2013

Barihunks star in Hippie-inspired Carmen at Opera Zuid

Martijn Sanders (right two photos as Escamillo in Carmen)
Our site is disproportionately popular in the Netherlands and we have a loyal and devoted following there. A reader in Maastricht recently introduced us to the innovative Dutch company, Opera Zuid. The touring opera company has developed a reputation for its technical and theatrical innovation. 

They recently brought in the acclaimed Dutch theater performers Leopold Witte and Geert Lageveen to re-imagine Bizet's Carmen in a more modern setting.  The duo updated the story about love and jealousy to the 1960s counterculture,  where the Gypsies are hippies, the tobacco factory girls are smoking cannabis and there are clashes with the police. The Sixties theme of "Make Love Not War!" permeates the production.  

Rubèn Plantinga
The production also features two barihunks, one who is new to the site and one who we haven't featured in way too long. We first introduced Dutch barihunk Martijn Sanders to readers in 2007, which was back in the nascent days of our site. We went on to feature him as Don Giovanni later that year and again as Escamillo in 2011. He takes on the role of Escamillo in this production. Morales will be performed by Rubèn Plantinga, who we are introducing to readers for the first time.

Sanders studied at the Utrecht conservatory, before continuing his studies in Vienna.  He went on to join the young artist program at the  Amsterdam Operastudio. After winning the first prize at the Nico Dostal singing competition, he made his debut as Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute during the Vienna Mozart week in the Theater Schönbrunn and as Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola at the Rheinsberg festival. In November 2010, Sanders performed the baritone solo in Rachmaninov's The Bells at the ‘Prince Claus” concert in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Rubèn Plantinga singing Schumann's "Ich will meine Seele tauchen" at a masterclass:

23-year-old Rubèn Plantinga, who is new to this site, sings the role of Morales.  He first hit the stage at the age of 12 in Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical “The Sound of Music” produced by Dutch media tycoon Joop van den Ende. In 2010 and 2011, he sang with the "Bach Choir of the Netherlands,” where he made his debut as a soloist in 2012 in a Dutch translation of Bach’s St. Matthew's Passion. His work brought him to the attention of Opera Zuid, where he has sung the role of Sciarrone in Puccini’s Tosca.

Plantinga is continuing his studies at the Classical Musictheater at Fontys Hogeschool in Tilburg and is part of the young artist program at the Dutch National Opera. 

Performances of Carmen will be on tour in Venlo, Den Haag, Eindhoven, Hasselt and Sittard through December 14th 

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