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The 'weird life' of all-rounder Jef Last is not over

Better to die standing than to live kneeling. The statement is fresh in memory after the murder in the Lange Leidse Dwarsstraat, as a mantra in praise of Peter R de Vries, his fearlessness, non-conformism, straightforwardness and honesty. This same statement jumps out even from the first paragraphs of the introduction to the biography of poet Jef Last, written by Rudi Wester.1.... 

Why this book is suddenly ominously reminiscent of the situation in Italy now: 'Everything I describe in my book does happen somewhere in this world.'

With northern Italy cut off from the outside world because of corona and looking increasingly desolate, we are reminded of an interview we had a few years ago with writer Davide Longo about his book The Vertical Man. A book à la The Road by Cormac McCarthy, in which Longo outlines a desolate world that has changed dramatically as a result of... 

Reinbert is dead, long live Reinbert!

'I get up with you and I go to bed with you,' I said jokingly. We stood in his kitchenette, where he made coffee for himself and tea for me. Reinbert's big startled eyes told me that my ironic remark had landed in the barren soil of his deadly seriousness. - It was not the first and not the last 

7 reasons to (re)read Elsschot's novels

With his new book The Discovery of Elsschot, Elsschot biographer Vic van de Reijt wants to get the whole of the Netherlands reading Elsschot's books. Seven reasons why these classics are timeless fun. 1. You can finish any of Elsschot's books in one day 'In 1970 I bought his Collected Works for nine guilders, I remember it well. At the time... 

On the death of a teacher (on Wil Hildebrand and the fate of the theatre scholar)

Learning is less about what you learn than from whom you learn it. Not that what you learn doesn't matter, but you simply learn more from an inspired person than from a teacher who completes his list. Fortunately, I have had many good teachers. Some of them are now demented or dead, with almost all of them... 

Another day of life: a film experience that continues to irritate under the skin long after leaving the movie house.

It remains miraculous how much emotion intelligent animation can generate. In Another day of life (in cinemas from 14 March), the Angolan coverage by legendary Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński is captured in grandly drawn images. Combined with live footage and well-chosen archival material, it delivers an 85-minute hellscape that can be appreciated on several levels. Kapuściński... 

Swearing and ranting tapping a tender poem. Biographer Elsbeth Etty shows Willem Wilmink in all his complexity

As good and fluent as writing poems and songs was for him, everyday life fell on him with difficulty. Writer Willem Wilmink grew into a folk hero of Twente, but remained a child at heart, according to the biography by literary critic Elsbeth Etty. 'Someone who, according to his best friend Herman Finkers, couldn't even hold a pair of scissors.' 

Why you shouldn't miss 'Im wunderschönen Monat Mai' at Paradiso

On Wednesday 16 January, Reinbert de Leeuw will present his cycle Im wunderschönen Monat Mai at Paradiso. A unique opportunity to see him at work once more in his globally believed masterpiece. In 2003, he surprised friend and foe alike with this composition inspired by songs by Schumann and Schubert. Was that not swearing in church? Arnold Schoenberg had the Romanticism... 

Reinbert de Leeuw showered with honours on his 80th birthday

Accompanied by Asko|Schönberg, Katja Herbers sings parts from Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, Reinbert's adaptation of classics by Schubert and Schumann. The poignant lyrics get a witty twist in the last song. In 'Röslein auf der Heiden', the 'victim' is not the fragile little flower from the original but Reinbert himself. "Und der wilde Knabe brach Reinbert auf der Heiden; Reinbert wehrte... 

Why I suddenly missed the writers in Den Bosch @tfboulevard

Usually when I speak to someone who calls themselves a playwright, they say they are 'only' a supplier of a 'half-product'. I never get that answer from a young actor, and certainly never from a director. It is they who make theatre out of the half-products supplied by writers. Actors and directors prefer to be addressed as 'theatre-makers'. Nothing wrong with that.... 

Sedje Hémon conjured music from paintings

The name of Sedje Hémon (1923-2011) will not immediately ring a bell with everyone. She was one of the first artists to work in a multidisciplinary way, basing compositions on her own paintings. Her painting scores were recently shown at Documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens, but her music has not been performed for almost four decades. The Hague-based ensemble Modelo62 puts Hémon... 

Peter Brook: everything in the universe can be extraordinary.

In the early 1990s, I am sitting in a small auditorium at The National Theatre in London. Before the performance starts, someone on stage asks if you want to greet the visitors next to you. This immediately creates a different, more intimate dynamic in the auditorium. On a tight stage with only a few props are four actors and an Arab musician. Yoshi Oida... 

Playwrights and cultural exploration (3): 'Contemporary musical, a new tradition among writers?'

On 25 January 2018, the Musical Awards were presented with, as we are used to, many translated reruns and calibrated repertoire. Also notable was the appreciation for new Dutch work. Many a writer will have been cheering on the sofa when 'Was Getekend, Annie M.G. Schmidt' won the awards. Does that bode well for the future? Can today's (small)... 

Our readers' list. What we should all never forget from 2017.

Well, we're not big on hypes and traditions here, but still. The dark days around Christmas are very dark this year, so why not something with lists. This year, no list of toppers from the editors, but random entries from random readers, in random, if slightly alphabetical order. Motto of the readers' question was: which things... 

Mirjam Koen, Adorno, why on earth theatre about Adorno!

Beethoven and Bach brought the true music. Karl-Heinz Stockhausen the future. The rest, from Beatles to hoempa, was 'jazz', commercially capitalist and therefore pernicious. Very briefly, this is what we should know Theodor Adorno from. Paul R. Kooij now plays this art-philosophical sharper in a performance by Mirjam Koen. Just when the division based partly on Adorno's thinking between... 

Broken throats thanks to Loes Luca. Scheveningen sings again in 'Hard Hands'

The Zuiderstrand Theatre is having a nice time. When the theatre was built on the coast, there was a lot of resistance and grumbling from Scheveningers. 'That bunker' it was called. But with the (reprise) hit 'Harde Handen', free after Heijerman's 'Op hoop van Zegen', this own production touches a sensitive chord. For and by Scheveningen On Scheveningen, much has changed. The fishing village with... 

Reinbert de Leeuw conducts Kurtág on historic CD box set

The three-part CD box set of choral and ensemble works by György Kurtág is, in a word, overwhelming. His soul-transcending sounds are sublimely interpreted by Reinbert de Leeuw et al. The recording, too, is impeccable. This box set is already historic, a monument to the Hungarian grandmaster, who turned 91 last February. Kurtág's existentialist music was played in our country as early as the mid-1970s,... 

Forbidden Music Regained: web archive of persecuted composers

On Wednesday 20 June, Kajsa Ollongren launched the website Forbidden Music Regained at the Uilenburgersjoel in Amsterdam. The capital's deputy mayor and alderman for culture quoted astronaut Neil Armstrong, calling the project 'a giant step for mankind'. She continued, "The website is also important for the city of Amsterdam, because we cannot and must not forget what happened in our city seventy years ago. 

Jeroen van Merwijk behind the window of Kunstruimte Kuub in Utrecht. Photo: Wijbrand Schaap

Why Jeroen van Merwijk likes to welcome you to his studio: 'Being a cabaret artist is not a profession.'

'Everyone has an Apple. Everyone has a Corneille. Nobody has a Van Merwijk. So the question is whether Van Merwijk is any good. Nobody knows that. Then the challenge is for a few great people to buy a Van Merwijk. After that, everyone wants to have a Van Merwijk. When that happens, I'll go back to making other work, because I want... 

On botox, nightmares and humour: 8 life questions to Tatiana de Rosnay

The novel Her Name was Sarah (nine million copies sold) made Tatiana de Rosnay world-famous. In Paris, she even wears a wig when she does not want to be recognised. That she struggled with anorexia she kept secret for years. [bol_product_links block_id=”bol_592be29ab4765_selected-products” products=”9200000075700087,1001004010207707,9200000077515228,9200000011255053″ name="a4m" sub_id="de rosnay" link_color="003399″ subtitle_color="000000″ pricetype_color="000000″ price_color="CC3300″ deliverytime_color="009900″ background_color="FFFFFF" border_color="D2D2D2″ width="549″ cols="2″ show_bol_logo="0″ show_price="1″ show_rating="1″ show_deliverytime="1″ link_target="1″ image_size="1″ admin_preview="1″] Eight life questions... 

Nelleke Noordervliet: 'Attack life while you can.' (podcast)

In Aan het eind van de dag, Nelleke Noordervliet's new novel[ref]Nelleke Noordervliet (1945) made her debut in 1987 with the novel Tine or the valleys where life dwells. She subsequently wrote many novels, novellas, stories, essays, plays and columns. She also holds various administrative positions in the cultural sector[/ref], seventy-year-old Katharina Mercedes Donker is speaking. This ex-minister and... 

Director Krzysztov Warlikowski: 'I look at Wozzeck through his son's eyes'

'The smaller the community the narrower the mind,' says Krzysztof Warlikowski. The Polish director makes his debut at De Nationale Opera this month with Alban Berg's Wozzeck. It is the second time he has taken on this iconic work of the 20th century. To this end, he draws on his own experiences during his childhood in Stettin. It is exceptionally... 

Are we still capable of having a real opinion?

I read the biography of Jacob Israel De Haan, Onrust, by Jan Fontijn. Writer and director Gerardjan Rijnders based Salaam Jerusalem on this biography. It is this play, performed by De Nieuw Amsterdam, that really makes me realise how urgent it is to let such an almost forgotten figure as De Haan speak. Jacob Israel De Haan overturned taboos, fought... 

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