Amsterdam, 1970


Often a skin is not a physical thing but rather an image, or an illusion that plays tricks on us. As a result, relations between people and things can develop in many strange directions. Especially in love affairs, misunderstandings can create numerous tragedies as appears from this contemporary opera. We took part in the development of its animistic concept and we designed the stage set.


A scientist who falls in love with a singer. A singer who asks for enlightenment from a satellite. A satellite that writhes free of the grasp of its creator, the scientist, and captures the heart of the singer. This is the true-life story of ABRIXAS, the German satellite that was intended to measure the entire heavens, right down to the background noise of the Big Bang, but severed contact with its base and only wished to communicate with the singer.


How come it is so hard to know each other like in the triangular relationship that is the subject of this opera? Sure, it is hard for a singer to understand the emotions and the technological complexity of a satellite, as it is hard for a scientist to understand a beautiful singer. And how about the pitiful satellite, who cannot reach the scientist, nor respond to the advances made by the singer?


People and things are too complex to even understand themselves, let alone others. People, things and buildings are like separate communities, assembled from comparably complex parts. It is hard to speak of a knowable identity that we can really communicate with. We only have our image of others to rely on..


Abrixas was a Studio Loos project and has been realized in collaboration with De IJsbreker and with the support of The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

Location:Theatres in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen, Alkmaar (NL)
Program:Contemporary opera
Surface area:
Assignment:Stage design and video projection
Team:Ton Venhoeven and Bas Römgens

Titus Muizelaar (direction), Edzard Mik (libretto), Guus Janssen (composition), Jannie Pranger (performance-vocals), Huib Emmer and Edwin der Heide (performance-electronics), Peter van Bergen and Kees Koeman (production)

Background Information