Photo by Laurent Muller

Hypnos

A new music-theatre work in development for voice and electric trombone
By Laurent Muller, Elise Lorraine, and Constantine Koukias

An operatic dreamworld collides with the urban-dance scene.

A new music-theatre work in development

Voice – Elise Lorraine
Electric Trombone – Matthias Konrad
Creative Director / Text – Laurent Muller
Music – Constantine Koukias
Sound Design – Anna Lindblad
Technical Design – Ivan Paitre
Lighting Consultant – James Haslam

In Hypnos, a DJ interacts with live voice and electric trombone, dancing between classical mythology and contemporary day-to-day living. This dialogue promises to attract a diverse audience, ranging from followers of contemporary performance art to the urban-dance scene.

A modern take on the myth of the famous god of Sleep, it unfolds as a power-play between the god and his wife, Pasithea, the goddess of night’s activities.

We see and hear these two powerful characters fight their way towards some sense of balance—perhaps even equality—in their positions both within their relationship with each other and to mankind as a whole. They contend with the extremes of love and lust, personal ambition and servitude, violence and harmony, and seek commonality in their shared passion for the quixotic dreamworld over which they rule—all with a cheeky twist on the news and other goings-on in our world today.

Elise Lorraine

Voice

Elise Lorraine has been a specialist of contemporary vocal music since her student days at the RAM, then later at York University where she co-founded the new music ensemble Tactus, singing the music of Berio (Sinfonia, The Folksongs), Dallapicola, and Hoyland.

The warmth and clarity of her voice has inspired many composers to write for her over the years. She has sung with UK-based new music groups such as Ixion, the Latham-Koenig Ensemble, The Lost Jockey, and vocal music-theatre group Vocum, and has been a free improvisor with AMM (Irma by Tom Philips), Phil Minton, and Veryan Weston.

In Amsterdam, she formed the trio Zivatar, comprised of voice, flute, and cimbalon, and commissioned pieces from composers such as Michael Finnissy, Calliope Toupaki, David Dramm, and Jannis Kyriakides.

Elise has performed around the Netherlands and at European festivals with Harry de Wit, co-creating music-theatre pieces as such Blanco, and also improvising with musicians such a ssHan Benninck and Ab Baars.

Recently re-established in London, Elise works with a new generation of musicians who cross the borders between new music and improvisation, including Guy Harries and Lore Lixenberg. She runs vocal workshops, such the Sicilian festival Rara and Oooo, and is frequently heard in London’s many jazz venues.

In 2018, she performed “They’re Playing Out Songs,” written by her brother, the composer Ross Lorraine, and returned to the Netherlands for a revival of the 2011 opera Eise by Marco Kalkman.

Her vocal performance always tells a story, be it in modern opera, free vocal improvisation, her one-woman show, or a simple jazz standard.


Matthias Konrad

Electric Trombone

The Amsterdam-based trombonist Matthias Konrad has developed his musical talents from his early youth. First on the piano and then on the trombone, he has become an experienced and much sought-after musician. During his studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, he became a member of the German BuJazzO, led by Peter Herbolzheimer. After obtaining his Master’s degree, he established himself with various Dutch and international groups such as Tetzepi, Bernie’s Lounge, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Mathilde Santing. Matthias then moved to New York to develop further his musical skills with renowned performers such as Robin Eubanks, Kenny Werner, and Brian Lynch.

During this period, he recorded with both Werner and Lynch and played on a number of challenging stages including the famous Blue Note. Back in Amsterdam, he has become a regular member of Tetzepi, the Konrad Koselleck Big Band, the Toro Ensemble, and SoWhat. In addition, his work as a freelance trombonist includes studio sessions and concerts with De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, The Kik, Mathilde Santing, Ellen ten Damme, La Inda, Ruben Hein, Amsterdam Klezmer Band, Marieke Jager, Tiny Little Big Bang and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Very Next, and Lilian Hak.

Laurent Muller

Creative Director and Text

Laurent Muller is often described as multitalented and a Renaissance man, but he considers it unsurprising that in twenty-first century Europe, where one can live and travel freely, young artists should also feel free to cross borders of genre and form.

After studying piano and applied arts in Marseille, Laurent was selected for the National School of Design (ENSCI–Les Ateliers) in Paris at the age of 17.

He lived and worked in various cities including Paris, New York, Valetta, London, and Amsterdam, where he exhibited both as an abstract painter and as a designer before creating his own brand of sculpture-furniture in 2013. In addition, Laurent explored both psychotherapy and shamanism during his London years, when he was involved in the world of opera, meeting great musicians and conductors.

Laurent constantly uses artist’s notebooks to keep track of his thoughts and ideas, and he uses lateral thinking to express his questions on societal and human behaviours. Objects and compositions can reflect his analysis of these behaviours, which he sees as part of an exchange—a complex communion involving sexual tension between civilised human beings. As a growing militant for the equality of human rights, he sees writing currently taking a large place in his life and considers it as a tool of infinite potential in colours, thoughts, and emotions.

In addition to Hypnos, Laurent is also writing another libretto based on the discovery and sharing of one’s dark side.


Constantine Koukias

Mise-en-scène

Constantine Koukias is a Greek-Tasmanian composer and opera director based in Amsterdam. His avant-garde approach to opera has resulted in hybrid productions such as Days and Nights with Christ, To Traverse Water, MIKROVION (Small Life – 36 Images in a Phantom Flux of Life), The Divine Kiss, and Tesla – Lightning in His Hand. His most recent large-scale work The Barbarians, inspired by Constantine Cavafy’s famous poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” and commissioned by the Museum of Old and New Art.

His works range from large-scale music-theatre and opera to mobile installation-art events. His compositions have earned acclaim as remarkable for their mesmerising, atmospheric qualities and production designs.

In 1993, he was commissioned by the Sydney Opera House Trust to compose ICON, a large-scale music-theatre piece, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House.

Additional theatre works include Kimisis – Falling AsleepBordersOrfeo, Rapture – Sonic Taxi Performance, Schwa – The Neutral Vowel, Antigone and The Da Ponte Project. Prayer Bells, which draws on traditions of Latin, Hebrew and Byzantine chant, had its USA premiere at the Chicago Cultural Centre.

In 2004, he was awarded a Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship. His Incantation II for soprano and digital delay won the International Valentino Bucchi Vocal Prize in Rome in 1997. His design credits include the internationally acclaimed Odyssey and Medea.

In 2014-15, Kimisis – Falling Asleep, a chamber opera for soprano and electric trombone, had its Netherlands premiere at Splendor Amsterdam and later toured to the Karavaan Festival.


Ivan Paitre

Technical Director

Ivan Paitre was born in France and is currently based Amsterdam. Over the years, he has lived and worked in major cities all over the world: Montreal, Miami, Paris, London, and São Paulo, to name but a few.

Ivan is at home in a variety of genres, from sound and film production to site-specific décor and costume design, and is employed for projects in the worlds of modern pop/opera/theatre and for commercial events.

His early training was focussed on the music industry. From 2003 to 2005, he was mentored by multi-platinum producer/songwriter and Grammy winner Rudy Perez in Miami Beach.

In 2008, after gaining much experience in the USA and France, he oversaw the live sound engineering production for Le Caveaux des oubliettes in Paris. In France, too, he added lighting design to his skill set, discovering Cymatic light VJ installations of vibrating water.

Recent film projects include Werzerkering, Reliviation by Wouter Springer and Ray van Der Bas, starring Pamela Anders; and Biljestdag (Day of Reckoning) by Gideon van Eeden and Ray van der Bas, starring John Leddy and Wendy Riksen.

He was the assistant producer on numerous editions of Inner Voyage by Ballet Bernasconi based in San Francisco.

Ivan is involved with the Amsterdam-based Kuza Studios – a creative agency aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, working with companies and foundations to create immersive digital media and powerful events to drive Corporate Social Responsibility.


Anna Lindblad

Anna Lindblad aka: Menja Mist

Sound Design

Amsterdam-based DJ and producer Anna Lindblad was born in Sweden but was raised all around the world. At an early age, she had a fascination and passion for music that has grown, deepened, and evolved during a life filled with many travels and influences from different cultures. As a classically trained musician (flute and bass), she strives to blend these musical cultures, creating new fusions of ethnic music and modern techno, and invites the listener to join in on a holistic musical journey.

With a solid understanding of jazz and classical music as well as an intuitive feeling for the unlimited possibilities that all music has to transmit emotions, Anna took to DJing about 12 years ago. Her preference is for the pronounced rhythms and bass lines of Deep House, Tech House, and Techno Minimal genres. Her career demonstrates her many and varied skills: co-owner of the production company Jan Lindblad Prod (1994–2000), sound engineer and project manager, décor designer and builder for environmental and documentary productions in both India and Brazil, still-photography assistant in commercial photography, and urban/pop-artist with exhibitions at De Cantine and Roest.

Anna also has a background in motion-picture sound engineering—in the field and in post-production—and has mastered how to project and seamlessly intertwine sounds that take the listener on a journey. Since 2017, she is the host of two monthly radio shows on the prestigious radio station Di.fm and EJR-Radio.


Lithal Bio – IHOS Amsterdam Hypnos project

Lithal Yosef

Costume and Properties Designer

Lithal Yosef began her professional practice designing handbags and accessories for the retail chain Precious Jewels. She is a passionate designer and campaigner of the eco-fashion movement.

She worked on numerous productions for Ballet Bernasconi (San Francisco), which toured Europe in 2017–18. She also assisted visual artist Mati Ale on the Street Art Festival (Tel Aviv) in 2014 and has been active in costume fabrication and décor design with the Vogue Academy.

Lithal now works in experimental theatre and independent-film productions based in Amsterdam.