pitié! ERBARME DICH! les ballets C de la B / Alain Platel / Fabrizio Cassol

World Premiere
Concept, Director:
FABRIZO CASSOL, nach der Matthäuspassion von Johann Sebastian Bach
Hildegard De Vuyst
Musical dramaturgy:
Kaat de Windt
Stage designer:
Peter De Blieck
Costume designer:
Claudine Grinwis Plaat Stultjes
Lighting designer:
Carlo Bourguignon
Sound designer:
Caroline Wagner, Michel Andina
Danced and created by:
Quan Bui Ngoc, Louis-Clément Da Costa, Mathieu Desseigne Ravel, Lisi Estaràs, Emile Josse, Juliana Neves, Hyo Seung Ye, Romeu Runa, Elie Tass, Rosalba Torres Guerrero
Laura Claycomb / Melissa Givens / Claron McFadden, Monica Brett-Crowther / Maribeth Diggle / Cristina Zavalloni, Serge Kakudji, Magic Malik
Fabrizio Cassol, Stéphane Galland, Michel Hatzigeorgiou (Ensemble Aka Moon), Airelle Besson, Tcha Limberger / Alexandre Cavalière, Michael Moser / Lode Vercampt, Krassimir Sterev / Philippe Thuriot

For many it will be bordering on sacrilege: how can anyone play around with the most important works of a genius such as Johann Sebastian Bach? When the concept of the participating artist is compelling, is the answer. As is the case with this new production by director Alain Platel and composer Fabrizio Cassol. And the work? One of the most important in the history of music: Matthew’s Passion.

In pitié! Platel and Cassol will not simply adapt the work – they are interested in one important aspect of the Passion: a mother’s pain when it comes to the sacrifice of her child. Of course Maria supports what the Son of Man has in mind, however she would much prefer to sacrifice her life instead of his. This dilemma constitutes the dramatic foundation of pitié! 

Against this background Fabrizio Cassol has cast his singers: one soprano voice for the mother and two very similar voices (mezzo-soprano and counter tenor) for the two souls of the child. Musicians such as Magic Malik (flute and voice), Tcha Limberger (violin), Pierre Thurlot and Krassimir Sterev (accordeon) will join the trio Aka Moon.

The musical and spiritual starting point for pitié! is the aria Erbarme Dich, mein Gott, one of the key arias in the whole of Bach’s body of work. And the question preoccupying Alain Platel: Is it beyond our capacity to sympathise with pity, pure and simple? There is an expression: pity is frequently based on jovial condescension– and yet we often long for a genuine, profound pity.

Matthew’s Passion questions this pity in the most radical way. Above all it deals with the ultimate sacrifice that a man can make – that of himself. Alain Platel and his dancers want to pursue the answers to this question.  They will do this by building on their experiences from vsprs (RuhrTriennale 2006) – the most intense emotional states then translated into expressive physical form.

A co-production between the RuhrTriennale and Les Ballets C. de la B., Theatre de la Ville (Paris), TorinoDanza and Le Grand Theatre de Luxembourg. Supported by the Flemish government, the city of Gent, the province of East Flanders.