Jan van Gilse: Thijl (1940)


30 juni t/m 17 juli op voormalig vliegbasis Soesterberg
Tickets & info: thijl2018.nl

From June 30 until July 17 the former air force base Soesterberg is transformed into the spectacular decor for a staged performance of Jan van Gilse’s legendary opera opera Thijl (1940). Under supervision of eight Utrecht based students an enormous decor will be build, considting of sand sculptures, on a stage where no less than 150 soloists and young musicians will perform Van Gilse's unequivocal masterpiece. The powerfull baritone Anthony Heidweiller sings the title role, the versatile soprano Aylin Sezer is Nele. Wim Trompert signed for the stage direction. A festival with more music, lectures, workshops and a visit to the National Dutch Military Museum completes the programme.

Masterpiece of international standing

There can be no doubt that Thijl is th absolute masteriece of Dutch opera. The composition is brimming with rhythms and melodies that are based in Dutch folklore (withouth ever turning things into a folk-opera). The tunes and the libretto of this Dutch/Flemish national hero Thijl are based on our 80-years-war with Spain. The score is overwhelming, both in musical terms as in terms of demanding an enormous orchestra and an almost impossible number of over 50 soloists.  Thijl truly bridged time from the 80-years-war with Spain and the world of today. Van Gilse completed the opera in 1940, when the Germans had just invaded the Netherlands. Van Gilse himself ultimately became part of the artists' resistance, lost his son in the process and died in hiding in 1944. Among the few belongings that he dragged from hiding to hiding places was... the manuscript score of Thijl!

Critical note and words of praise for the Utrecht Student Concert

Typical that after 401DutchOperas efforts to get Jan van Gilse's operas performed (we gave highlights of his unperformed masterpeice Helga von Stavern in our 401Concerts series), it now befalls to a student ensemble to produce the Netherlands's operatic masterpeice: where were the well subsidized Dutch natiornal opera house and some provincial well fudned companies? Some declared the work 'unmountable' and then continued to spent the past 40 years to just produce more Mozart, Bizet and Puccini. Why did the ministry of culture never mke any demands to the Dutch National Opera regarding protection and preservation of Dutch national heritage? Therefore three times hurrah for the Utrecht student ensemble that writes history today with one of the three meaningful historic performances of 2018 9the other oens being our Dutch Court Operas from the French Theatre of The Hague 1751-1793, and our Jan brnadts Buys Festival in Zutphen eptember 21-23 2018).

Het Utrechtsch Student Concert delebrates its 195th birthday in 208 and is effectively the oldest symphony orchestra of the Netherlands. Their tradition is to celebrate each lustrum with a grand scale opera performance and if they continue to produce such meaningful production we wish them at least another 195 years: BRAVO !!!

June 30 until July 17 at former air force base Soesterberg
For tickets and info see: thijl2018.nl