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National premiere
With the support of Flanders State of the Art


October 11th - 13th 2024
concerti e teatro musicale - digitalive - musica

Muziektheater Transparant
Leon Rogissart
Paul Boereboom
Arturo Den Hartog
Marie van Luijk

Ascension VR

Ascension” is a VR performance by Paul Boereboom and Leon Rogissart that explores the boundaries of opera and the way we perceive reality. “Ascension” started from the concept of a “floating tank”: a saltwater pool in which you receive no sensory input, allowing your mind to unwind. You experience a weightlessness which is essential to learnabout yourself. This concept was transformed into a VR experience in which the creators pursuea balance between our emotional and rational selves. How do you achieve that balance? How do the two interact? 
In “Ascension” the artists create a space to answer these questions, providing spacefor the spectator to reflect and associate. A place where wemay briefly let go of the desires of our physical bodies and the outside world and do no more than exist. Through a delicate combination between images and opera music (live performances by soprano Marie van Luijk and countertenor Arturo den Hartog), the VR experience allows you to disconnect from time and space. Towards the end of the performance, you are gently pulled out of the artificial world and brought back to reality.


Paul Boereboom is a scenographer based in Amsterdam. He studied scenography at the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam. After having been on stage as a performer Paul decided to question space no longer with his own body but as a designer. His work comprises spatial design, installations and costumes, but also video design and work in Virtual Reality. “I have a profound love for tactility and a fascination for designing space with the human body as a starting point. Human behaviour, identity and nature are fascinations that continue to bring up questions I try to explore. I use my work as means to try and grasp these topics and question them. More recently I have been trying to bridge the gap between my physical design-world and my digital design-world. What does it mean to make digital contact? What does my digital body feel and where does it cross my physical body. How can I preserve tactile qualities, the manual kneading. Where can I find room for stains in modern technology?  Modern techniques offers me freedom in my process and the ability to create theatrical experiences that reflect our time. How can I implement these technologies to facilitate space for my work? What role do I assign my audience and how can I let them be a part of the work? As a maker I aim to be independent yet dependent. A matter of balance.

Leon Rogissart (1995) is a Belgian theatre director. He graduated from the Theatre Directing programme at the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam in 2021. For him, the theatre is the ultimate place to create a collective experience where intuition and resonance outstrip everything else. Alongside theatre, music and virtual reality (VR) are also key cornerstones of his work. The combination of the three give him the opportunity as a director to unravel abstraction in reality, and to deconstruct the concept of time. In 2021, Leon, together with his colleague Paul Boereboom, received the award for best VR production at the KABOOM Festival in Utrecht with the VR prototype Ascension. 




Concept: Leon Rogissart & Paul Boereboom
Soprano: Marie van Luijk
Countertenor: Arturo den Hartog
Technical manager: Dries Himpe


Production Credits

Production: Leon Rogissart, Paul Boereboom and Muziektheater Transparant
Coproduction: De Grote Post

With the support of the Flemish Government, Dutch Embassy in Brussels and Municipality of Rotterdam
With thanks to Zomer van Antwerpen and TG Stan