BL!NDMAN Akenkaai 2, B-1000 Brussels +32 (0)2 201 59 47


eric sleichim > direction, music and scenography
kurt d’haeseleer > video
max bruckert (grame/lyon) > electronics
erwin jans, jan vandenhouwe (concertgebouw brugge) > dramaturgy
isabelle lhoas > costumes
marnix de cat > repetitor
luc schaltin (kaaitheater) > lighting design
brecht beuselinck > realisation stage design

cristina zavalloni > mezzo-soprano

BL!NDMAN [vox]
griet de geyter > soprano / turntables
gunther vandeven > countertenor / turntables
kevin skelton > tenor / turntables
tiemo wang > bass-baritone / turntables

BL!NDMAN [sax]
koen maas > soprano sax / e-guitars
roeland vanhoorne > alto sax / e-guitars
piet rebel > tenor sax / e-guitars
raf minten > baritone sax / e-guitars

annick laruelle (transparant) & jonas de roover (BL!NDMAN) > production
brecht beuselinck > technique
roel das (studio CDA) > sound technician
peter quasters > video technician

All sounds are generated live during the performance

UTOPIA :: 47 is produced by muziektheater Transparant & BL!NDMAN, and is a commission of MA-festival and KlaraFestival and a coproduction of MAfestival, KlaraFestival, deSingel, BL!NDMAN and muziektheater transparant with the participation of concertgebouw brugge, kaaitheater/brussel, grame/lyon. With thanks to ballets c de la b, toneelgroep amsterdam, tristero, rik beuselinck, and to brecht, jonas, jonas and roeland for the guitars.

BL!NDMAN is supported by the Arts Administration of the Ministry of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region. BL!NDMAN [sax] play Selmer Paris Saxophones.

UTOPIA 47 - a very last passion

opera/performance by Eric Sleichim

music: H.Schütz & E.Sleichim
inspired by Günter Grass, John Gray, Yvonne Vera

If the world is in ruins, what can the music of a 17th century composer do? That is the central question in Utopia :: 47 – a very last Passion. The opera/performance is a two part Passion, in which the last year of the Thirty Years’ War, 1647, is connected with the last year of a future Thirty Years’ War, 2047. For centuries the beauty of spiritual music, as composed by Heinrich Schütz during the Thirty Years’ War was an ultimate harbinger of a better world. But, would we still be receptive to such an ethical appeal in these ultra-postmodern times? What passion would we profess in 2047?

Utopia :: 47 spans many centuries, from 1647 – the final year of the Thirty Years War, which dragged large parts of Europe into a bloody religious conflict – to 2047 – the final year of a future Thirty Year global conflict, which brings human civilisation to the edge of the abyss.

Utopia :: 47 is a musical Passion in two parts. The point of departure of the first part is the sacred music composed by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) during the Thirty Years War. The beauty, poignancy and sophistication of Baroque music make it one of the highlights of Western civilisation. For centuries sacred music was the ultimate symbol of hope: the longing for another and better world. That utopian dream was reflected in the beauty and natural balance of musical harmony.

In the early twenty-first century that harmony is at risk. The Schütz concert cannot but end up in a discussion of the modern world, of politics and religion, of violence, of beauty that has burned its face. We still enjoy the exquisiteness of ‘early’ music, but do we still believe in what that music has to tell us?
Are we still open to its moral appeal or does our admiration extend no further than aesthetic pleasure? Is it still possible to write a Passion for our day and age? And what remains of our utopian dream, when it is staring potential catastrophe in the eye?

In the second part those questions get a radical musical answer. 2047. What is the point of music the day after ? What remains of musical tradition? How much of the musical universe of the past can we still understand and use? How should we react to Schütz’ music? Which alienating images of the past centuries have been burned into our memory?
Can a new society arise from the cultural debris? Do we continue to believe in beauty and utopia? Or does a new ‘homo ludens’ go for diversion, for endless editing, the joy of combining high and low, popular and elitist, spiritual and worldly? Not a concert anymore, but a game, a party! The Day After Party!

But slowly, the voice of a woman crystallises out of that musical violence, the story of a modern Passion, a war story that could play out in multiple locations in the world, the story of an anonymous victim, who gives a voice to a world that has barely survived. That voice brings us to the essence, to a point zero that could simultaneously be both the end and a new beginning.

Utopia :: 47 is a poignant visual and musical Passion that moves between melancholy and utopia, between a longing for beauty and sense of horror, between pure aesthetic pleasure and compelling political questions.


part I – 1647
heinrich schütz > SWV.269: Fili mi Absalon (7’46)
heinrich schütz > SWV.401: Mein Sohn, warum hast du uns das getan (6’49)
heinrich schütz > SWV.396: Auf dem Gebirge (5’19)
heinrich schütz > SWV.336: Quemadmodum desiderat cervus (7’45)

part II – 2047
eric sleichim > modulo I-II-III-IV-V-VI-VII

duration: ca. 100’


première > 21 June 2011 > Holland Festival


“Sleichim is able to use the strength of the context like few others do. […] A post-apocalyptic sound environment emerges […] Fragile and for those who want to hear it: also optimistic” – Peter Bruyn, Gonzo (22.06.2011)

“The music, now by Sleichim himself, ranges from desolate soundscapes to moments of great excitement. Cristina Zavalloni stands on top of the scaffolding, impersonating the main character with great empathy.” – Jochem Valkenburg , NRC Handelsblad (22.06.2011)

“Utopia :: 47 searches for a new Stunde Null: an apocalytoc worls in which traditional concert practice has been dissolved. Sleichim calls it a ‘shamanistic ritual”, of which, on top of the scaffolding, Zavalloni is the sparkling center” – Floris Solleveld, Holland Festivalblog (22.06.2011)

“A gradual abandonment of normal conventions leads to a radical transformation of the way in which the audience is involved in the music. […] Its is so overwhelming that word don’t do justice to discribe it.” – Stefan Grondelaers, deStandaard (07.09.11)

UTOPIA 47 - a very last passion played among others on the following locations:

ST-ETIENNE (F) - Festival Nouveau Siècle
AMSTERDAM (NL) - Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Holland festival)
BRUGGE - Concertgebouw (MA-festival)
BRUSSEL - Kaaitheater (Klarafestival)
LUIK / LIEGE - Festival de Wallonie
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BL!NDMAN       contact info

Gallaitstraat 76-78
1030 Schaarbeek, Belgium

general and artistic direction:
management:   M +32 473 29 98 91
production and communication:   M +32 473 71 50 70
technical production:

BL!NDMAN is supported by the Arts Administration of the Ministry of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels-Capital Region. BL!NDMAN [sax] play Selmer Paris Saxophones.