Our Thea Derks sat watching a traffic light for a few hours on Thursday 7 June and observed that the music was better. It happened during the opening of the 2018 Holland Festival. In the tradition of Ruth Mackenzie, the opening was of mixed reception, which is actually a good thing. Even at a time when the Amsterdam Arts Council, in an opinion on the Stedelijk Museum, is making a plea against the hunt for the blockbuster, it's nice when your first night is not an instant audience hit. There will be plenty of opportunity for that later during this festival.
What certainly struck, and will continue to strike, is Steve McQueen's unique installation, in Shed 6. Helen Westerik went to see it and was deeply impressed. She wrote: '...a strange kind of voyeurism also crept up on me. I want to know everything about documents that I don't think should be there at all. And that makes me think about my position as a viewer and as a citizen, as a member of a society...'
That same evening, Maarten Baanders travelled to Kata, a performance that had previously been previewed by Fransien van der Putt. Maarten was enthusiastic, it turned out: 'The fighting movements radiate a liberating energy. A completely different force, then, from the destructive purposefulness of the real fighter. With every movement, individually or between partners facing each other, you experience how wonderful the human body is when it sharpens itself to fight for its own survival. And at the same time, there is an understanding, a kinship, among the dancers. They are razor-sharp in tune with each other. The austerity makes every gesture apt without turning the other off. Everything is precisely chosen, without losing energy to drifting movements.'
And then it's time again for the preview. Thea Derks talks about a composer and his wife, and how she overcame an addiction. And about how the composer of modern classical started something with a bondage mistress who could also sing. Or vice versa. Read the remarkable story here:
Other than that, this week is full of things to do. I myself will be watching tonight's performance on Sex and Anxiety where Henri Drost recently wrote a fascinating account.
On Friday, Fransien van der Putt goes to Chorus, and on Saturday I visit IJburg, in preparation for a performance later this festival: Octavia E Butler's Parable of the Sower, which I will then also see next Wednesday.
Helen Westerik is doing the film classic Der Müde Tod that evening, while I'm going to mentally wrap up on Sunday afternoon prepare on the Bowie special at the Proms, on 23 June. That evening, Fransien van der Putt visits the performance The Way you sound tonight, which Maarten Baanders previously did a nice preview of.
I am actually curious to know which performances resonate most with you, our readers. You can use the reaction option on this site to do so. Come, join in and make your love count!