De Koperen Tuin

A musical theatre monologue after the novel by Simon Vestdijk.
Theater tour in The Netherlands | Performed from 2015-2018
About the show

De Koperen Tuin (The Coper Garden) is an adaptation for the stage of a famous novel by Dutch writer Simon Vestdijk. A moving, musical monologue in which Christiaan Kuyvenhoven combines a stage role with live piano music.

When Nol Rieske is taken to ‘The Copper Garden’ by his mother, he gets enchanted by the brass band. The music takes control over him and he dances with Trix. This remarkable girl, the alcoholic conductor Cuperus, and the magical sounds of the music will from then on determine his youth in the provincial town of W…

A performance of the opera Carmen marks the social downfall of his musical hero Cuperus, and leads Trix to a dramatic decision. Nol tries to understand his role in it by reliving his juvenile memories. Did he well to leave the opera early? Could he have influenced Trix’ faith, and have won her for himself for once and for all?

De Koperen Tuin poster (Ralf Mitch/Vincent Kuyvenhoven) & scene photography (Ronald Knapp)




Cast & crew

Director: Laurens Krispijn de Boer
Novel by: Simon Vestdijk
Script: Laurens Krispijn de Boer & Christiaan Kuyvenhoven
Stage & light design: Het Blauwe Uur
Technique: Eelco Vellema, Backstage Crew
Photography: Ralf Mitch, Vincent Kuyvenhoven, Ronald Knapp
Thanks to: VSB Fonds, Staetshuys Fonds
Produced by: Certo Productions


J. Haydn – Divertimento in D, Hob. XVI:4
L. v. Beethoven – Sonatina in G, Anh.5
F. Chopin – Barcarolle, Op. 60
G. Bizet – 2nd Intermezzo from ‘Carmen’
G. Bizet – March of the Toreadors
F. Busoni  – Kammer-fantasie über Carmen, BV284
J.P.Sousa/Horowitz – The Stars & Stripes Forever

Duration 90 min. without intermission.
Dutch spoken

“Kuyvenhoven is not only a highly gifted pianist. He is also a natural born storyteller. He performs with depth, emotion, and sometimes with intense rest.”

NRC, De Stentor, Leeuwarder Courant



Simon Vestdijk (1898-1971)

Simon Vestdijk was one of the most important writers in Dutch literature. He was nicknamed ‘the devil’s artist’ for of the many fields of literature he was familiar with. “He writes faster than God can read”, is an infamous quote about him. Not only do his collected poems consist of three substantial parts, he also wrote many essays, novels, and over fifty romans.

De Koperen Tuin (translated in English as ‘The Garden where the Brassband Played’) was his favorite novel. It is said that he was in love with character Trix, and that he had to cry when she eventually dies in the book. It is one of his most popular novels for readers too.

In 1951, Vestdijk received the prestigious P.C. Hooft Prize for De vuuraanbidders. In 1955 he is knighted and receives the Constantijn Huygens Prize for his complete oeuvre. In 1957 he is nominated for the first time for the Nobel Prize for Literature, after which 15 nominations would follow.

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“It is holy ground, this garden. The sanctuary of our childhood. There were aviaries with sparrows, pheasants, geese and peacocks in it… little birds. Then suddenly I saw all those instruments, and the sun shining on the brass! The musicians blew on it with red heads from exertion. By this it became a copper garden. Which it will remain to me. As long as the music sounds… Our music.”

Nol Rieske in The Copper Garden.

Scene photography (Ronald Knapp)