Aardappelvreters

surreal opera about the demise of agricultural life

co-production with Gouden Haas and Slagwerg Den Haag

The agricultural sector regularly makes the headlines: fipronil in eggs, fraud with manure, calves and milk… But what is life actually like for the farmers themselves? Where Van Gogh captured the hardship of farming life in his famous painting De Aardappeleters (The Potato Eaters), Silbersee, Gouden Haas and Slagwerk Den Haag are joining forces to champion the contemporary farmer in Aardappelvreters (‘Potato Gluttons’). The opera contrasts the unfettered life of the farmer with the harsh realities of regulations and industrial agriculture. Aardappelvreters will be performed at Festival Karavaan in Egmond aan den Hoef, and at Oerol on the island of Terschelling, in both cases in the setting of a local farm.

The performance transports the audience into the lives of a farming family. After the death of their mother, the children come together to divide the estate. Brot has always lived and worked on the farm, while Sus left for the city. Their reunion now seems to be ending up as a clash of two worlds. In the midst of the confrontation between the children, the mysteries surrounding their mother’s death, and the concerns about the farm’s future, one thing remains clear: a farmer never gives up.

Photo exhibition
Aardappelvreters is accompanied by a photo exhibition on the farm where the piece is performed, which is open to the audience free of charge before and after the performance. Specially for Aardappelvreters, photographer Heleen Peeters has produced a series of photos documenting Dutch farmers and their farms. The photos explore the world of contemporary farming in North Holland and on Terschelling, and also offer an impression of agricultural life in the Netherlands as a whole, reflecting the struggles and strengths of the Dutch farmer. Heleen Peeters (1988) is currently travelling the world working on a photo series about horsemeat. Her work has been exhibited at venues such as Museum M in Leuven, Felix Meritis in Amsterdam, London Analogue Festival in London and at the Biennale of Documentary Photography in Buenos Aires.

After Kiemkracht in 2016, Aardappelvreters is Gouden Haas’ second site-specific performance examining the gulf between the food producer and consumer. For Silbersee, Aardappelvreters is the second part of a ‘primal opera’ trilogy, the first of which was Dijkdrift (2016). Developed in collaboration with the Oerol festival, and with libretti by Jibbe Willems, the trilogy explores archetypal Dutch themes such as the sea, wind, dikes and daily drudgery.

artistieke leiding | Romain Bischoff, Gienke Deuten | regie Gienke Deuten | muzikale dramaturgie Romain Bischoff | muzikale leiding Slagwerk Den Haag Fedor Teunisse |libretto Jibbe Willems | compositie David Dramm m.m.v. het collectief| muziek, zang en spel Fanny Alofs, Hebe Dijkstra, Pepe García, Sterre Konijn, Arnout Lems, Joey Marijs, Niels Meliefste, Björk Nielsdottir, Anne Stam, Guus van der Steen Gabriele Segantini (understudy slagwerk) | scenografie Marlies Schot | lichtontwerp en hoofd techniek Jeroen Smith| geluidsontwerp en -techniek Maurits Thiel | kostuumontwerp Carly Everaert | Uitvoering kostuums El Taller Hendry Perdon, Edu Martens | artistiek assistent Juliette van Ingen | artistiek producent Esther Dikkers | fotografie fototentoonstelling Heleen Peeters | publiciteitsbeeld Bowie Verschuuren | vormgeving Lise Bruyneel – la fabrique des regards | met dank aan Maartje Prins en alle meewerkende boeren van de fototentoonstelling

Aardappelvreters wordt ontwikkeld in samenwerking met Oerol.

De voorstelling wordt financieel mogelijk gemaakt door Fonds Podiumkunsten, het Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst en het BankGiro Loterij Fonds.

publiciteitsbeeld Bowie Verschuuren

Bowie Verschuuren


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