Louis Andriessen: De Materie

Musiktheater mit dem Ensemble Modern Orchestra, inszeniert von Heiner Goebbels

The Ruhrtriennale stages another exceptional masterwork of 20th century music theatre: De Materie (1984 – 88) for soloists, narrators, vocalists and large ensemble. Since its world premiere in Amsterdam in 1989, this first large-scale music theatre work by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen has not been staged again. Like four voluminous chapters of a book or movements of a symphony, De Materie reflects the connections between matter, spirit and society in changing perspectives, e.g. the Dutch Declaration of Independence of 1581, a list from a book on shipbuilding published in 1690, a philosophical and scientific essay by David Gorlaeus dated 1651, the religious and erotic vision of a 13th century nun, a manifesto on the history of art, a private note about Peit Mondrian, a poem, a diary and a public speech by Marie Curie.

Andriessen’s composition attempts to merge the clash of these different perspectives into a kind of simultaneity within a large-scale musical and philosophical essay: the private, the political, physics and love, the history of humanity and the fate of individuals. His music does not assume an interpretive, expressive stance, creating space and architecture for the scene instead. The Kraftzentrale at the Landschaftspark Duisburg with its dimension offers the appropriate framework for the production of this masterwork, staged by Heiner Goebbels and his team.

Louis Andriessen, born in 1939, is one of Europe’s outstanding composers and a key figure on the contemporary Dutch art scene. His music, influenced by Stravinsky but open to many genres of popular music, is marked by the combination of forward propulsion, sparseness and clarity of material as well as characteristic sound inventions, often dominated by the sharpness of wind and brass instruments, pianos and electric guitars. Andriessen came to a broader audience’s attention through his opera works with Peter Greenaway, performed during the 1990s at the Opera of the Netherlands in Amsterdam. De Materie (1984 – 88) for soprano, tenor, 2 spokeswomen, 8 voices and large ensemble

Orchestra —
Ensemble Modern Orchestra
Choir —
ChorWerk Ruhr
Statisterie der Ruhrtriennale
Composition —
Louis Andriessen
With —
Ensemble Modern und ChorWerk Ruhr
Director —
Stagedesign/Lightdesign —
Klaus Grünberg
Costumes —
Florence von Gerkan
Dramaturgy —
Stephan Buchberger, Matthias Mohr
Sounddesign —
Norbert Ommer
Musical Direction —
Peter Rundel
Assistance to the director —
Lisa Charlotte Friedrich
Assistance stage design —
Anne Kuhn
Assistance costumes —
Sayyora Muinova
Study choir —
Klaas Stok


— 15. August 2014
Further dates
— 24. 16. 17. 22. 23. August

Vouchers for the season 2014 are available online.

  • Sat24Aug
    Beginnzeit tba.
    Louis Andriessen: De Materie on 24. August 2013 at 4.00 PM
  • Fri15Aug
    Beginnzeit tba.
    Louis Andriessen: De Materie on 15. August 2014 at 7.30 PM
  • Sat16Aug
    Beginnzeit tba.
    Louis Andriessen: De Materie on 16. August 2014 at 7.30 PM
  • Sun17Aug
    Beginnzeit tba.
    Louis Andriessen: De Materie on 17. August 2014 at 4.00 PM
  • Fri22Aug
    Beginnzeit tba.
    Louis Andriessen: De Materie on 22. August 2014 at 7.30 PM
  • Sat23Aug
    Beginnzeit tba.
    Louis Andriessen: De Materie on 23. August 2014 at 7.30 PM


A film by Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler
31. August 2014
23. September 2014, 24. September 2014, 26. September 2014, 27. September 2014