Whether he is staging a play by Shakespeare or Euripides’ The Bacchantes, Jan Decorte always reduces theatre to its essence. For his first opera production in 2006, he created a Dido and Aeneas that was clear in its simplicity and uncluttered structure. This time, the uncrowned king of Flemish theatre turns once again to the English baroque composer, Purcell. The Indian Queen (1695) is a ‘semi-opera’, a hybrid genre of theatre and opera. In the original version of the work, spoken or danced passages alternated with sung scenes. Over time and various different interpretations, these tend to have been ignored. What remains, though, is an essentially sung libretto in which the adventures of the Indian queen – the Queen of Mexico at war with the Aztec hero Montezuma – are told in a fragmentary way. In his adaptation, in which the B’Rock ensemble also performs the role of the chorus, Decorte disregards the complex plot. His quest for basic simplicity is perfectly in keeping with the strength and freshness of this ‘not-yet-opera’.
In his version, Decorte selects images that reinforce the musical experience. Compared to his Dido and Aeneas (2006), this is a ‘wilder’ adaptation. The orchestra, for instance, will also perform as a choir and thereby provide both instrumental and vocal support to the four solo singers. Decorte tends towards an almost primitive simplicity that links up amazingly well with the still budding, immature aspect of early English opera-to-be. As in Dido and Aeneas, Sigrid Vinks will once again play the role of Mistress of Ceremonies and link the scenes together. This time too the baroque ensemble B’Rock will perform. The conductor is Frank Agsteribbe.