Be With Me Now is all about dialoguing and exchanging – interview with Sébastien Van Kuijk

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We usually expect instrumentalists to be great musical interpreters, but what happens when they are also expected to be great actors? In Be With Me Now the five singers are joined on stage by violinist Fanglei Liu, flutist Ana Filipa Lima, pianist MaNOj Kamps and the cellist Sébastien Van Kuijk  -who we had the chance to interview between two dates of the European tour-, so let’s find out!

How did you find yourself taking part in Be With Me Now?

I didn’t join the team in the very beginning of the process. The production started in January 2015 by exploring and developing the main concept of the show with author and stage director Julien Fišera, musical director MaNOj Kamps, singers and instrumentalists. As I took part in the chamber music academy of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence a couple of years ago, Emilie Delorme, general manager of enoa, asked me if I was interested in the project and I said yes! I was really excited to experience something new. Then I met Julien Fišera in Paris in order to discover more precisely what it was all about. Instantaneously, we connected as we both deeply wanted something new for our art.

How is this experience different from other projects you have done? What did you learn from it as an instrumentalist?

Be With Me Now is all about dialoguing and exchanging. The strength of this project is to gather artists from different disciplines (singers, instrumentalists, stage director, literary author, dramaturge, light artists, composers) and from different origins (French, Dutch, German, Polish, Portuguese, English, Chinese, Icelandic, Greek) on the same stage, trying all together to share in order to create. I think this idea is really powerful! Somehow, this story that starts with a clash (editor’s note: Tamino receives a break-up phone text from his girlfriend at the beginning of the performance) tells us metaphorically that something needs to be broken in order to start dreaming, to live our ideal way of expressing our hopes. The whole creation process leads us to ask these fundamental questions: can we understand each other? Can we dream together?

How did the creative process occur?

Be With Me Now is a collective creation. As we work differently, the creative process was really demanding. However it was fascinating to discover all these different ways of developing a project. Julien Fišera came with a story that he kept making evolve with the dramaturge Isabelle Kranabetter but also with the artists involved in the project as he wanted a vivid creative process: we would listen to everyone’s ideas, try things in order for each of us to find our character and position in the story. On the other side, singers need a motionless storytelling in order to explore in a “vertical” way their body movements and musical ideas. As an instrumentalist, I discovered how little knowledge I had regarding body language. However, despite of our fundamental differences, I really think everyone learned something in the process of creating this story that we all like.

What do you expect from the European tour?

Confronting our show to different audiences is really interesting. We’ve already seen diverse reactions between cities, sometimes the difference is huge! Be With Me Now is a non-conventional show and some people are not prepared for that. Indeed the story starts by destroying one of the most beautiful Mozart’s operas – the Magic Flute– in order to explore a colorful patchwork of European music! I really love this idea to meet different audiences in order to share with them something which -who knows- might be the beginning of a new art form.

4 November 2015

photo credit : Lioba Schöneck

follow the production process!

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They are young, they are talented, they come from all over Europe and they will work together until they achieve their mission: help Tamino win back Pamina’s heart after a break-up SMS.

To revive this legendary couple’s love, the artistic team of Be With Me Now will follow Tamino, camera in hand, around emblematic European cities. Their journey has already begun with film shootings in Verona and Munich and will take them to several other European cities in a musical adventure through four centuries of music until the final stage before the premiere in Aix-en-Provence.

Follow the adventure of the artistic team of Be With Me Now, the latest enoa production initiated on the occasion of its 5th anniversary – and discover the “making of” of the production before its world premiere on July 7th, 2015 at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

enoa team