The Naked Shit Songs

A reconstruction of an interview from 1996
by Theo van Gogh and Gilbert & George,
presented as : Opera.

The complete interview is being sung.

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photo © Bowie Verschuuren


Xander van Vledder (actor) as Theo van Gogh
Christopher Robson (countertenor) as Gilbert
Nigel Robson (tenor) as George

Kristján Martinsson – repetitor, keyboards/flute
Wiek Hijmans – electric guitar
Onno Govaert – drums
Tim Sabel – piano
Vasilis Stefanopoulos – double bass
additional choir:
GALA-koor o.l.v. Yt Nicolai
reART Wereldmuziek Koor o.l.v. Selim Doğru
Jasper Hupkens
pre-recorded choir : NKK olv Peter Dijkstra
pre-recorded: trio Escapada (Emma Breedveld, Bence Huszar, Sebastiaan van Delft)

Huba de Graaff – composer – artistic director
Marien Jongewaard – direction
Erik-Ward Geerlings – dramaturgy

Photo © Bowie Verschuuren

Photo © Janiek Dam

premiere June 22 – 2017 Holland Festival ©Janiek Dam

stage design – Juul Dekker
lightdesgn – Wilfred Loopstra
costumes – Bernadette Corstens
ass. costumes – Siebe ten Dam
sound design – Vid Ahacic
video design – Willem Weemhoff
voorstellingsleider – Janneke Lindner
technical coördinator- Huub Mars
subtitling arabic – Bakhcha Mohammed
graphic design- Emmy Visser
production: Geertje Spaan

managing director Britt Verstegen
31 (0)6 4577 8047 

publiciteit Lonneke van Eden – bureau tamtam 
31 (0)6  290 30 776

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data:  do 22, vr 23 juni 2017 Holland Festival
location:  Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, Rabozaal
duration: 1’40 , no pause
language: English with Dutch – English – Arabic subtitles

Touring : 2019

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de ‘Groene Amsterdammer’:
“Most surprising at the Holland Festival was the new opera from Huba de Graaff  ….”
“…. outstandingly sung by the  Scottish brothers Nigel en Christopher Robson ….”

****Parool: “… intelligent, surprising compositions by De Graaff …, excellent performance  by cast and musicians.”

NRC:“… from ‘a nice conversation’ to enthralling musictheatre. Actor Xander van Vledder as Theo van Gogh : messy, cheerful, impatient, sharp, with sense of humor and absurdity. (…)
…the end: shocking and well timed…”
“….Gilbert & George : beautiful acting/singing roles of brothers Christopher en Nigel Robson…”

Theodor Holman – Parool : “Als u vanavond naar de Schouwburg kunt, ga kijken. Van Gogh als onderdeel, bijna de hoofdrol, in een opera. …”

****Theaterkrant: “… de opbouw van de muziek, die naar een exuberant crescendo toewerkt…”
“…‘Art has to be provocative’, as Gilbert & George are saying.
The Naked Shit Songs succeeds.”

interview VPRO-gids
interview cultuurpers
interview Christopher Robson – BBC4
interview Telegraaf
interview Theatermakers (radio) with Erik-Ward Geerlings: part1
part 2part 3part 4part 5
interview Huba Parool
Artikel NRC
interview VPRO-television
recensie Theaterkrant ****
recensie Parool ****
interview Huba de Graaff VK
column Theodor Holman
artikel over HF – De Groene Amsterdammer
HF video interview Nigel & Christopher Robson
HF video interview Xander van Vledder
HF video interview Huba de Graaff with Thea Derks

artikel in Parool door Rob Malasch: 

… and part 2

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Theo van Gogh interviews Gilbert & George in 1996


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The Naked Shit Songs
a retropera

The opera is a reconstruction of an interview by Theo van Gogh – murdered in 2004 – with the british artist duo Gilbert & George.
The complete interview is being sung.

During this interview the three men talk freely about religion, homosexuality, racism, money, death, and above all: about tolerance and love.
By singing the interview (including laughter and stuttering) the meaning and content of all words are highlighted.

‘We believe in democratic pictures. That a child can see them and understand in some level, and a person of ninety.’ This is what Gilbert & George said to Theo van Gogh in 1996. Van Gogh spoke to the artist duo in his legendary programme Een Prettig Gesprek (A Nice Chat) at the time of The Naked Shit Pictures exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum. Huba de Graaff, composer of Apera (about the origin of singing) and Pornopera (about the art of moaning), used the interview as libretto. Directed by Marien Jongewaard, actor Xander van Vledder as Theo van Gogh, Nigel Robson and Christopher Robson as Gilbert & George, and a choir sing this ‘retropera’ – about art, sex and religion, Muslims, tolerance, love and death.

1996, it seems so long ago.
People were drinking wine and smoking cigarettes on television, meanwhile discussing everything, frankly.
About gay people, about muslim people, about art, about Christian values, about money, shit, and about love, tolerance and death.
These spoken words are all very impressive, and are emphasized by singing. (Hahaha and hehehehe too.)
Moreover, we know what happened to Theo van Gogh in 2004.

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Een Prettig Gesprek van Theo van Gogh met Gilbert & George is een programma van Theo van Gogh, Olivier Jansen en René van Praag (c) 1989-2017 TVAmsterdam/RVP Produkties, Amsterdam’.
photography London: Chris Gloag / Britt Verstegen
Many thanks to Jan Elbertse, who came up with the VHS-tape from 1996

co-production  Nieuw West / Marien Jongewaard

managing director Britt Verstegen
31 (0)6 4577 8047

production Geertje Spaan

publiciteit Lonneke van Eden – bureau tamtam
 31 (0)6  290 30 776


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