From left Monwabisi Lindi, Lungile Halam & Ebenezer Mdena. Picture: Andrew Brown

Respected psychiatrist Dr Sean Baumann’s rousing cantata Madness: Songs of Hope and Despair, returns to the Baxter Theatre for a limited season from 9 to 19 February, with two Sunday performances at 6pm.

Baumann’s libretto is brought to life through music composed by Galina Juritz with Dizu Plaatjies, conducted by Chad Hendricks and directed by Lara Foot. Fiona Moodie integrates her own artworks with that of work by patients of Valkenberg Hospital, with video design by Koeka Stander and lighting design by Patrick Curtis.

Mental illness and psychotic experiences are brought into the spotlight using a combination of rousing music (both live and some recorded), song and striking visual imagery in an attempt to portray the complexities and also the wonder of these strange and ultimately unknowable worlds. The project arose from a concern that the plight of the seriously mentally ill is either ignored or profoundly misunderstood and that this contributes significantly to the suffering of those deemed insane.

READ: Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo Cape Town 2017

The nine-member vocal ensemble comprise sopranos Linda Nteleza, Palesa Portia Malieloa, altos Nolubabalo Babalwa Mdayi, Fikile Mthetwa, tenors Monwabisi Lindi, Vuyisa Jack and Siphesihle Mdena and basses Lungile Halam and Ebenezer Sawuli Madoda

The small orchestra is made up of musicians Matthijs van Dijk and Galina Juritz (violins), Sarah Evans/Asra Isaacs (viola), Luke Otto/Robert Jeffery (cello), Graham H Strickland (upright bass), Gene Kierman (French horn) and Zeke Le Grange on saxophone.

The story involves a brilliant young student who moves from rural Eastern Cape to the city to study architecture. With his mother struggling to provide for him, he perseveres, falls in love and flourishes but shortly after graduating, something changes. He loses all perception and descends into a harrowing state of psychosis, tormented by voices telling him he is mad.

Production Information:

Venue: Baxter Theatre

Dates: 9 to 19 February 2017

Tickets: R150, available at Computicket