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The Man Hanged
6 July @ 21:00 – 22:00170SEK
A visual, perhaps disturbing, performance, based on the modern classic Eight Songs for a Mad King, with music by Peter Maxwell Davies and libretto by Randolph Stow.
This production, made specially for the Halland Opera & Vocal Festival, features barytone Joa Helgesson, who most recently starred in the title role in the highly acclaimed Gothenburg production of Phantom of the Opera.
The main character is King George III, ruler of Great Britain 1760 – 1820. George has reoccurring episodes of mental illness, suffering from hallucinations while being painfully aware of his failing condition. During his first periods of madness, he is treated with torture, starvation and bloodletting. He is kept in a stable, treated like an animal. These methods, not uncommon for its day, have, not surprisingly, a deteriorating effect for the royal patient.
In this rendition of Eight Songs for a Mad King, the ensemble brings a new level of reality by incorporating Body Suspension into the performance. Hooks, pierced through the performers’ skin, will allow them to levitate, while the biophysical instrument Xth Sense picks up bodily noises and transforming them to electroacoustic music.
Joa Helgesson and the ensemble use these stage devices to create a very visual and corporal representation of the “extreme physical and mental impact” that composer Peter Maxwell Davies calls for.
On stage we meet Doctor Anna who teaches us about the biology of pain in the lecture The Story of a Body Named George, opera singer Joa Helgesson, the fakirs from Santa Sangre Body Rituals and dancer Shannon Taylor. The piece is co-performed by Gageego! – ensemble for new music.