the very beginning...
classical marionette theatre
the origins of the European classical marionette theatre,
we have to go back to the classical antiquity and the Greek tragedy
Through the ages, artists were searching for a universal form of theatre,
in which several art forms come together in an ideal way. For many artists,
Greek tragedy formed an inspiration in which acting, retorics, music
and dance came together and enhanced each other.
Around 1600, the composer Claudio Monteverdi felt intrigued by this
idea of combining music and theatre. A new theatre genre was born: the
of one of Haydns marionette-opera's
at the court of Esterházy
In the 18th century - the century of Mozart and Haydn -
opera was very popular. In Central Europe a new form of opera originated
as a result of the search for the 'ideal actor' . Operasingers could
sing beautifully, but their acting (and their looks!) were often less
actors took their place on stage, and the singers were placed in front
of the stage. The classical marionette
theatre, a typical European form of marionette theatre in which music
and marionettes come together, was born.
Around 1770, Joseph Haydn even wrote some special 'marionette opera's'
(ao Philemon und Baucis) for the court theatre of Prince Nicolaus
Esterházy in Austria - Hungary. Empress Maria Theresia called the marionettes
of Esterházy the greatest actors of my time.
Teschner, ''Die Künstlerlegende"
In the 19th century the marionette theatre flourished,
especially in Central Europa and Italy. At the end of the 19th century
the theatre Carlo Colla
e Figli was founded in Milano, and at the beginning of the 20th
century the Salzburger Marionettentheater.
Both famous marionette theatres are still run by the same families and
still perform all over the world. In the Mozart Year (2006) Colla
e Figli, the
and the Amsterdams Marionetten Theater
all presented a Mozart opera at the Festival
‘Mozart delle Marionette’
An important pioneer in the field of puppetry was Richard
Teschner (Vienna, 1920). Up till then, puppets
were often seen as miniature actors,
but Teschner emphasized the specific, unique
characteristics of puppetry. The puppet created a fantasy world which
related to the dreams and emotion of the audience. Teschner saw puppets
as methaphors. Dreams and illusions are often more powerful than reality.
At about the same time, Paul Brann also renewed the puppet theatre with
his Münchner Künstler. He thougth of puppetry as a Gesamtkunstwerk,
in which art, music and movement formed a unique whole.
Marionettentheater, ''Nozze di Figaro''
Bonneur, founder of the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre, saw the Salzburger
(founded by Anton Aicher) in Holland when he was a boy. He was fascinated
by marionettes ever since. When he was 15, he
was invited by
the Aicher family to stay
with them in Salzburg. In their theatre and workshops he got the chance
to really get to know the marionettes.
Thirty years later, after a career as clinical psychologist and opera
director - he founded his own marionette theatre in Amsterdam (1985).
For the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre he chose his own artistic point
of view. The marionette theatre
should not be considered as 'miniature opera' but as a unique, specific
form of music theatre. For
the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre, the key word is
naivity. A marionette has no ego and is therefore a very 'pure'
actor. He is never troubled by his own conscience, since he simply hasn't
got one. A puppet leaves ample opportunity to the imagination of the
''Bastien & Bastienne'' - W.A.Mozart
The Amsterdam Marionette Theatre does not perform the
big, well-known operas, but chooses those works in which the poetic
intimacy of the marionette theatre can excel.
In the marionette theatre emotions and humour, fantasy and poetry go
hand in hand. Marionettes move with a natural ease in a naive repertoire:
comedies at which everybody likes to laugh, but that also render one
melancholy because they involuntarily reveal the less sunny sides of
our existence. Bastien & Bastienne, an idyllic pastorale by Mozart,
and The Castle in the Air (Le 66!), a naive one-act play by Offenbach
are both examples of the repertoire of the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre
in which the archaic, the elementary, is a distinguishing feature.
the 'Opéra de Rennes', with Barokopera Amsterdam
Because music plays such an essential part, great attention
is being paid to the musical aspects of the performance. The operas
/ music theatre performed by the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre are specially
adapted for the marionette theatre. The musicians are all specialized
in playing on authentic instruments, dating from the time of the composer.
Musical direction: Vaughan Schlepp or Frédérique Chauvet (Baroque Opera
Amsterdam). The chamber music ensemble seamlessly connects with the
intimacy of the marionette theatre. The voices of the singers fit into
In our own small theatre in Amsterdam, we perform with our own CD recordings.
When the marionettes go on tour (Italy, Russia, France, Germany) the
opera singers and musicians usually travel with us. This intensive cooperation
with singers and musicians is unique for a marionette theatre in Europe.
and music fragments)