Cambio Madre
Muziektheater Transparant, Flanders Festival Ghent

Cambio madre

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Cambio madre por moto is a chamber opera by the Belgian composer, Frank Nuyts to an original libretto by the best-selling Spanish author Rosa Montero. This was the final commission that Gerard Mortier submitted as intendant of the Teatro Real Madrid. Following Mortier’s departure from Spain in 2013, the opera was not played and, after his death in 2014, remained lying in a drawer for a long time. Ten years later, Flanders Festival Ghent presents the world premiere of Cambio madre, in collaboration with Muziektheater Transparant, six singers and the Dutch ensemble Asko Schönberg under the musical direction of Benjamin Haemhouts and in a mise-en-espace by the young Belgian director Aïda Gabriëls.

With a light touch and in contemporary Spanish, Rosa Montero’s funny libretto tells the story of a husband and wife who want to divorce and discuss this with their children for the first time. To make matters worse, the husband’s mother and the lawyer turn up. The latter is a family friend and a specialist divorce lawyer, but he turns out to be rather closer to the mother than expected; all ingredients for incisive dialogues full of familiar arguments back and forth. ‘The children come first!’ is the parents’ mantra, but whether this is actually the case remains to be seen…


Emma Posman
Graciela Morales
Marie-Juliette Ghazarian
William Branston
Thierry Vallier
Wilfried Van den Brande
Frank Nuyts
Rosa Montero
Text adaptation
Frank Nuyts
AÏda Gabriëls
Benjamin Haemhouts



Sneak peek at Cambio madre

‘The children come first!’ or so claims the couple in crisis…

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Frank Nuyts is an all-round composer, whose music is played all around the globe. He feels at home in many genres and makes a point of introducing a lot of variety, loads of energy and a grand dose of humour into his work.

Born in Madrid in 1951, Rosa Montero has been a journalist for Madrid’s daily newspaper, El Pais, since 1976. She has published 11 novels, many of which have been bestsellers in Spain. Montero, a critically acclaimed writer in her native Spain, is the recipient of her country’s most prestigious literary award, the Premio Primavera de Novela (for her 1997 novel La hija del canibal), as well as Italy’s Premio Grinzane Cavour for contemporary foreign fiction. She also won the Que Leer prize for her novel La Loca de Casa in 2003. Aside from being bestsellers, her novels are recognised for their literary merit and are studied in universities around the world.

Fusing contemporary and classical music, dance, visual art and fashion, Aïda Gabriëls wends her way through the performing arts. In 2016, she made her debut with the multifaceted soundscape opera Medeamaterial. Later she had two dancers, live video and a percussionist address the question of guilt in I am the enemy you killed, my friend, which took Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem as its starting point. With a similarly interdisciplinary intent, her reflection on the historically fatal Salomé figure in Dance of the seven veils aims to subvert  assumptions and existing ideas. Aïda creates together with dramaturges Tessa Vannieuwenhuyze and Ylona Supèr under the name oester. Oester creations centre around a contemporary reflection on the opera genre.

After a 15-year career as a teacher and trombonist with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the German Bamberger Symphoniker, Benjamin Haemhouts turned to conducting and composing and studied orchestral conducting with Russian conductor Alexander Polyanichko, with whom he was also assistant. Since becoming creative director of CASCO Phil (The Chamber Orchestra of Belgium)

in 2008, his groundbreaking programmes stand out, in which he likes to combine contemporary works with compositions from the Baroque and Classical periods. He also has a predilection for recent written works, music theatre and contemporary dance and has initiated numerous social artistic projects. As a guest conductor, he has worked in Belgium with the HERMES Ensemble, the National Orchestra ofBelgium, and the Brussels Philharmonic. Furthermore, he recently returned to the Bamberger Symphoniker, but as conductor, conducted the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra in Mexico, and will make his debut in 2019 with the Argovia Philharmonic in Switzerland, and the 'Orquesta de Camera de Bellas' in Mexico City.

Asko|Schönberg is one of the leading ensembles for new music. Quality, experimentation and innovative programming with an eye for current events are their most important characteristics. Thanks to a wide network of musicians, conductors, composers and versatile young makers and partners from various art disciplines, Asko|Schönberg is able to contribute to the future of performing arts. The ensemble operates around the world from its home base in Amsterdam. The programming balances out the rich collection of important 20th century composers with the most recent 21st century work, with a strong emphasis on the work of current composers, both of which are performed at various venues, festivals and interdisciplinary performances.