‘Not one [of them] would hold his blood, / His flesh, his firstborn in his arms, /His wife would cry out in a widow’s pain / Before she cradled her first infant in her lap.’ Such is the inexorable curse that afflicts the Mariën fishing family, in which every father-to-be perishes at sea before the birth of his first child. This story, set in the seventeenth century, inspired Lodewijk Mortelmans’ opera De Kinderen der Zee, the magnum opus of this unjustly forgotten composer who nonetheless made his mark on musical life in our region in the early decades of the twentieth century. His score, which is full of poetry about nature, combines late-Romantic realism with the Wagnerian device of the leitmotiv to create inextricable connections between the sea and fate. With Alain Altinoglu at the helm, outstanding Dutch-language singers will perform this little-known gem from our Belgian operatic repertoire.
De kinderen der zee