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The Opera of
the Falling

Someone falls in an infinite void.

She discovers she has no name.

She doesn’t think,
doesn’t feel. 
Nobody is around. 

I am not lonesome, she says. Lonesome I can be.
She asks us to talk to her. To tell her… To tell her.. 

But nobody hears her. 

She tries to scream,
in order to hear again, to feel,
to breathe again,
but she can only remain silent. 

In silence she cradles herself.
Tell me.. Tell me my grief, she asks. Tell me my grief and tell it silently.


‘The opera of the falling’ is a musical and visual research on the loneliness of sorrow. It’s a VirtualReality-Opera, inspired by interviews with people with a psychological vulnerability. With psychiatry as a mirror to the world we live in, the experience calls for reflection and universal recognition.

“The way the VR has been used to tilt the perspective between different 'I's' and the poetic form found to shape the paradox of despair – 'tell me my sorrow and say it quietly' – is impressive.”  

- De Theaterkrant

Concept and direction: Celine Daemen // Art director: Aron Fels // Composition: Amarante Nat //  Singing and Spelling: Sterre Konijn // Libretto: Olivier Herter // Sound Engineer: Wouter Snoei // Spatial Sound Engineer: Daniël Berends and Franscesco Robustelli // Character Rig: Louise van Putten // Producer: Cas Ketel // Artistic Coaching: Romain Bischoff // illustration: Ronja Ida Weia // Graphic design: Mees Walter // Marketing: Marita Hamers //  Business guidance: Karel Janssen // Many thanks to: employees, experience experts and patients of Mondriaan GGZ.  

The opera of the falling man was produced by MCEM in co-production with VIA ZUID and Cultura Nova, in collaboration with Mondriaan GGZ, with financial support from VSBfonds, Edmond Hustinx Foundation, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Brand Cultuurfonds and Kanunnik Salden Nieuwenhof.

Cultura Nova – Heerlen
August 24 to 27
  2019 (past)

PAS Festival – Maastricht
September 6 & 7, 2019 (past)


Het Dansende Denken- Antwerp
September 14 & 15, 2019 (past)


Brainwash Festival – Amsterdam
October 26, 2019 (past)


Eye Film Museum - Amsterdam
November 12 to 24, 2019 (past)


Winter nights - Maastricht
December 13 & 14, 2019 (past)

Festival Cement Online
March 20 to 28, 2020 (past)

Fast Forward - Dresden State Opera
November 14 & 15, 2020 (past)


Eye Filmmuseum shows virtual tableaux vivants and handmade miniatures by six young Dutch artists.

Eye Filmmuseum has already brought impressive VR installations by international artists and filmmakers such as Paul Auster, Alejandro Iñárritu, Laurie Anderson and Marina Abramović to Amsterdam. Virtual Dioramas, the current exhibition in the context of the long-running program Xtended, with work by six young Dutch artists, is more modest, but certainly no less interesting. (...)


Poetic stirrings of the soul

Celine Daemen, who graduated last year from the directing course at the Maastricht Theater Academy, made The opera of the falling, inspired by conversations with a number of people in a psychiatric institution. Daemen captured the conversations about grief, loss, imposed normality and loneliness in a beautiful book, in handmade miniatures and a VR opera. In it, the same woman falls again and again from an infinite universe, while expressing her emotional and poetic emotions."

"Director Celine Daemen, who graduated in Maastricht last year but already has a lot of work to her name, translated the experiences of psychologically vulnerable people into a simple 3D VR experience. A female avatar falls down and comes up in a further unfathomable, black universe As the virtual body multiplies by, a chorus of thin voices sings on behalf of a single 'I' about existential disorientation and the impossibility of communication.

Text (Olivier Herter) and music (Amarante Nat) effectively break down the experience into individual words and minimal sound parts. The VR places the viewer in the middle of the scene, which ensures that they gradually involve the pain and loneliness. The Opera of the Falling is a somewhat grand title for this short work, but the way the VR has been used to tilt the perspective between different 'I's' and the poetic form found to shape the paradox of despair – 'tell me my sorrow and tell it quietly' – impresses." 

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