Writing to Vermeer by Saskia Boddeke & Peter Greenaway

Vermeer has left his household of women and children in Delft to spend fourteen days in The Hague. The women write to him, six letters from his wife, Catherine Bolnes, six letters from his mother-in-law, Maria Thins, and six letters from his model, Saskia de Vries. They write of domestic arrangements, the activities of Vermeer’s children, marriage plans, domestic accidents, but most of all they write to Vermeer to tell him to hurry back home. They miss him, they miss his company, they miss his presence and his affection.

Whilst Vermeer is absent, the women defend their household against the potential erosion of five liquids, ink from an excess of writing, varnish that threatens the life of a child, milk that endlessly pours from the milkmaid’s jug, blood that demonstrates the violence of political assassination and finally water that ultimately sweeps them, their household, their children and the stage away.

World Premiere

December,1 1999 Netherlands Opera, Amsterdam

Credits

Directed by
Saskia Boddeke

Libretto
Peter Greenaway

Music
Louis Andriessen

Conducted by
Reinbert de Leeuw

Decor / Light Design
Michael Simon

Costumes
Emi Wada

Dramaturgie
Klaus Bertisch

Music inserts
Michel van der Aa

Video
Peter Wilms

Koor
Vocaal ensemble

Samenstelling en coaching
Winfried Maczewski

Kinderkoor
Muziekschool Waterland

Coaching
Jan Maarten Koeman

Cast

Catharina Bolnes
Susan Narucki (zang), Sanna Myllylahti, Rikke Rasmussen

Maria Thins
Susan Bickley (zang), Gwen Langenberg, Marcelle van der Velden

Saskia de Vries
Barbara Hannigan (zang), Kelly Hirina, Gabrielle Uetz

Melkmeid
Ulrike Kinbach, Camilla Marienhof, Irene van Geest

Bediende  
Helena Lizari, Iara Rodrigues Ferreira, Naiara Mendioroz

Kinderen (dans) 
Shira Koopman, Andra Perrin, Tamarah Tossey

Kinderen (zang) 
Brenda van Duijkeren, Wendy van Epen, Jan Kistemaker, Jacob Schroevers

Vocaal Ensemble
Melanie Greve, Tomoko Makuuchi, Marjolein Niels, Violet Serena Noorduijn, Martine Straesser, Marijje van Stralen

Music

ASKO | Schönberg Ensemble