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Ode to a Love Lost

Toneelhuis, Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe

Ode to a Love Lost takes place in the deep crater of a heart, bathed in the afterglow of an intense love.

The starting point of this show is Meirhaeghe's own personal love story. In 2018 he made The Ballet together with his then lover and muse. That mythologised relationship still fascinates Meirhaeghe. Think of the love stories between Diaghilev and Nijinsky, Wilde and Bosie, Warhol and Basquiat and all the other passionate relationships in which art and life intertwine.

Here, Meirhaeghe appears on stage himself, entering into an intimate artistic dialogue with performers Jelle Haen and Désirée Cerocién. He is accompanied live by Berlin singer-songwriter Finn Ronsdorf on soul and blues piano.

Ode to a Love Lost is a hymn to decline and loss, but also a song of hope. There is music in ruin, future in melancholy. With a love lost as the driving force, a deep crater as the landscape and a dual relation with the norm, Meirhaeghe literally moves towards liberation.

Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe created a furore as a director and a countertenor in his own operatic musical projects (A Revue, Madrigals). He challenges the classical repertoire in his work: dancers become singers, singers become dancers. Looking for a different kind of virtuosity, Meirhaeghe calls for unashamed access to big emotions, while offering pleasure to semi-skilled practitioners. This is his first production as a resident Toneelhuis artist.

Fire of Love
Toneelhuis @ De Cinema
Sunday 22 January 8:30 PM

Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe highlights Sara Dosa's documentary Fire of Love, a romantic and tragic exploration of breathtaking volcanic regions with spectacular (archival) footage. After the screening, he discusses the film with Kristof van Baarle, dramaturge for Ode to a Love

A maker of integrity, Meirhaeghe has proved to have no qualms about appearing intimate and vulnerable on the large stage.

"In ‘Ode to a Love Lost’, performer Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe rakes together the pieces of his broken heart. His grief unfolds in images and music of beauty and stillness."

Koen Van Boxem in De Tijd , 21 January 2023

"His own heartbreak, which underlies Ode to a Love Lost , is expressed from different perspectives. An eclectic mix of opera repertoire, jazz, blues and orchestral music can also be heard in the soundscape."

Evelyne Coussens in De Morgen , 21 January 2023

"Love in the broadest possible sense. As vulnerable as it is threatening: that is Ode to a Love Lost ."

"As well as passages from Debussy’s composition to Nijinsky’s L'Après-midi d'un faune, the piece is pervaded by one long sustained sound in an arc of tension which, in true Wagnerian style, is never allowed release. Ingeniously incorporated is the tension of unprocessed loss and unknown future."

Lieve Dierckx in Pzazz , 22 January 2023

"“In Ode to a Love Lost , we explore the energy of the 'afterglow', as researcher Louise van den Eede called it. The shimmering after a catastrophe. The afterglow of the big bang. The hush right after your heart breaks. Meanwhile, in the scenography, this has been translated into a gigantic wind chime of 8,000 steel pipes, above a carpet that covers the entire stage. The old and the new converge in that image. I like to compare my creative process to a centrifuge: I throw the past, present and future into it, and a show comes out of it."


  • Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe

by and with

  • Désirée Cerocién/ Mario Barrantes Espinoza
  • Finn Ronsdorf
  • Jelle Haen
  • Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe

scenography, light

  • Bart Van Merode
  • Zaza Dupont

costume design

  • Oumar Dicko


  • Louise Van den Eede


  • Kristof Van Baarle

choreography coaching

  • Hanako Hayakawa

vocal coaching

  • Wouter Deltour

body coaching

  • Sten Dielen


  • Charles Dhondt

carpet design

  • Victor Verhelst


  • Felix Deckers
  • Malique Fye
  • Maria Zandvliet




  • Toneelhuis

with the support of

  • de Tax Shelter van de Belgische federale overheid
  • Casa Kafka Pictures Tax Shelter

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  1. Thursday 19 January 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  2. Friday 20 January 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  3. Saturday 21 January 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  4. Wednesday 25 January 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  5. Thursday 26 January 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  6. Friday 27 January 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  7. Saturday 28 January 2023 — 20h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  8. Sunday 29 January 2023 — 15h00 — Bourlaschouwburg, Antwerpen
  9. Friday 3 February 2023 — 20h00 — CC De Factorij, Zaventem
  10. Monday 6 February 2023 — 20h00 — ITA/Rabozaal, Amsterdam
  11. Tuesday 7 February 2023 — 20h00 — ITA/Rabozaal, Amsterdam
  12. Wednesday 15 February 2023 — 20h00 — Theater Rotterdam, Rotterdam
  13. Thursday 23 February 2023 — 20h00 — De Grote Post, Oostende
  14. Wednesday 8 March 2023 — 20h15 — HNT/Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

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