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A compelling combination of song, dance and piano

I must confess that I’m usually a little hesitant when it comes to combining dance and song on one stage. But now that I’ve seen the production, I have only praise for all the performers!

A passionate whole
Pianist Maarten van Veen movingly plays pieces by composers including Simeon ten Holt, Silvestrov and John Cage. He’s accompanied by the – more than capable – dancers and baritone Wiebe-Pier Cnossen. Together they make this melange a romantic, occasionally playful, intimate, passionate and sometimes breathtaking whole. The theatre at which tonight’s performance was held also enhanced the experience because the audience was seated very close to the performers. So every breath, sigh and emotion was clearly visible, audible and tangible.

The poignant longing of lovers
Choreographer Neel Verdoorn (1962) was visibly inspired by the film Brief Encounters that culminates with the lovers’ heart-rending final parting as they bid farewell to an impossible love. Dancers Francesca Peniguel and William Lü portray this scene beautifully in dance. Two formica kitchen chairs formed the central point on stage, with black-and-white photographs of the couple projected on the back wall. The shadows of the dancers and the chairs created an added effect during the going and coming of the lovers in the dance.

Will she choose her lover or husband?
While the duets they performed seemed similar in terms of movements, they actually each had a different emphasis. Baritone Wiebe-Pier Cnossen complemented the dance through his often melancholy vocals and the dance was in turn complementary to his vocals. A brilliant combination of both. This made it a moving, romantic and sometimes passionate whole. Following a heartfelt duet, Francesca sits on the floor with her back to the audience as she ponders what she ought to do. Should she go to her lover or husband? We then suddenly see the baritone warily walk over to her and stand at her side as he sings. It’s a brilliantly suspenseful moment: Will she go with him or will she choose her lover after all?

Hear, see and feel!
An exceptionally outstanding production that lets you really feel this final agonising decision. I highly recommend it! Check out where Silent Songs will be performed in 2016. Theatres can also still book the performance. You’ve got to see, hear and feel this.

Marianne Viersma, Dans Magazine

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