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Three hours of vogue in Harrell's Porca Miseria might be a little too much of a good thing. #HF22

There is at least one reason to go see Porca Miseria, Trajal Harrell's latest work. The Holland Festival hosts the American choreographer best known for his Vogueing work this weekend, and the soundtrack to his trilogy is nothing short of stunning. Starting with Willie Nelson and ending with the Lamento della Nimfa with which Claudio Monteverdi... 

L'Orfeo: this wonderful performance deserves to tour internationally!

The new production of L'Orfeo by De Nederlandse Reisopera and Opera2Day is a form of total theatre in which Wagner would have licked his fingers. In her direction, Monique Wagemakers forges song, dance, music, costumes and scenery into an inseparable whole. The performance is compelling, poetic and enchanting and fits seamlessly with the stylised language with which Monteverdi in 1607 presented the... 

Kersjes Prize winner Lodewijk van der Ree: 'Language strongly determines the sound of a choir'

'An inspired conductor, with an intelligent approach to the score, a clear stroke and the ability to draw a choir into his vision. So says the jury of the Kersjes Prize about Lodewijk van der Ree (1986), who received this year's conducting prize. I have worked with him many times before and can wholeheartedly endorse this statement. Carte... 

Tryptich by Bryce Dessner is just a little too perfect to really hit home

The Americans have a word for it: production value. By this you can indicate that a performance is technically perfect. The sound is right, the stage setting is excellent, the costumes are all right, the lighting brilliant and the actors, singers and musicians: top notch. Even the extras are at their best. So a show with high production value can rely on little... 

Music publicist Maarten Brandt: 'For one note from Mahler's Ninth, I would give the gift of Shostakovich's entire oeuvre'

Sounding Alchemy, is the name of the chunky volume recently published by music publicist Maarten Brandt (1953). It has 715 pages, including illustrations and an extensive index. In 98 articles, Brandt unfolds his views on music and music programming. He dedicated the beautifully designed book to his admired Marius Flothuis, programmer of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for many years. His heirs received a first copy during... 

Annelies van Parys: 'No more beautiful symbol of love than a flower'

In 2014, Annelies van Parys (1975) composed her first opera, Private View, for Asko|Schönberg and Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart. It was awarded the FEDORA - Rolf Liebermann Prize for Opera shortly afterwards. The Stuttgart singers submissively asked her to compose a new piece for them. Songs of Love and War/An Archive of Love will premiere 20 May at Operadagen... 

Guy Coolen on Operadagen Rotterdam: 'We call ourselves a bluff festival'

'If Mohammed doesn't come to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammed,' they thought at Operadagen Rotterdam. Earlier this year, the Enschede-based Nederlandse Reisopera gave a press presentation in Carré. This time, the Rotterdammers travelled to the capital. Artistic director Guy Coolen and dramaturge Tobias Kokkelmans told a select club of journalists what the audience could expect from 18-27 May,... 

Ligeti festival - tribute to adventurous and idiosyncratic composer

Hungarian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006) suffered under several dictatorships; the Nazis killed his father and brother during World War II, and after the War the communists forced him to write sweet 'folk music'. After the 1956 Hungarian uprising, he fled to Vienna and then to Cologne. In the West, he unpopularised into an idiosyncratic composer, who already... 

Silvia Colasanti: 'My string quartet is about the beauty and nostalgia of Rome'

Whether flowing melodies, driving rhythms or dense clouds of sound, the music of Silvia Colasanti (Rome, 1975) is always lyrical. On Monday 29 January, Quartetto di Cremona will perform the world premiere of her string quartet Ogni cosa ad ogni cosa addio at Muziekgebouw aan' t IJ Amsterdam. The concert is part of the String Quartet Biennale, which takes place from 27 January... 

With the Mariavespers as the opening of the Holland Festival, nothing could really go wrong #HF17

It is just about the most beautiful music written. Claudio Monteverdi's Marian Vespers have enchanted even the most untrained listener since their premiere in 1610. Raphael Pichon is a young French conductor acclaimed for his shimmering yet refined musicality and more than absolute hearing. Everything director Pierre Audi touches usually turns to gold 

Spirit of Trump haunts press presentation National Opera & Ballet

'Before we start the actual presentation, let me give you some facts & figures,' says Els van der Plas, general director of the National Opera & Ballet. 'No, not the alternative facts,' she adds wittily. The ghost of the US president will be through the Stopera more often this afternoon. Van der Plas recalls the successes that... 

Keistad Amersfoort - a kei in classical music?

When you think of Amersfoort, do you think of classical music? Um... A new initiative should change this. At the opening of the cultural season, Amersfoort Klassiek presented itself with a fine ambition: to profile the Keistad as a city of classical music. A great initiative as far as I am concerned, because Amersfoort does indeed have a lot to offer in the field of classical music. For instance, there is Amerfortissimo, the... 

The 5 concerts you don't want to miss at Musica Sacra

Last year, arts festival Musica Sacra was all about 'the road', inspired by the many pilgrim routes that lead to holy places. This year, Maastricht is all about the 'sacrifice of love'. At first sight, an anachronistic theme, which seems at odds with sentiments in our current society. The aggression against asylum seekers, the ruthless pursuit of profit by... 


All 18 gloomy: Melancholia is concert for sour old men #HF16

We are all going to die! We already have that certainty in. And since the dawn of mankind, every new generation invariably knows that it is going to happen to them now. After all: their successors have never prospered anywhere like today's youth. Nice premise for a concert, thought German director Sebastian Nübling[hints]Nuling was a guest at last year's Holland Festival with an adaptation of Hebbel's play Nibelungen, read the review and an interview here[/hint....

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Calliope Tsoupaki on Mariken in the garden of lust: 'I was surprised by that 16th-century text!'

On 7 October, the first try-out of Calliope Tsoupaki's opera Mariken in de tuin der Lusten will go on at Theater aan de Schie in Schiedam. Sunday 11 October is the world premiere at the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague. At the invitation of Opera2Day, Tsoupaki immersed herself in Mariken van Nieumeghen, heroine of the miracle play of the same name that took place exactly five hundred years ago in... 

Voice artist Cathy Berberian was NOT 'the wife of...'

American-Italian voice artist Cathy Berberian (1925-1983) has gone down in history as 'the wife of Luciano Berio', the Italian composer with whom she realised such high-profile pieces as Circles, Sequenza III, Recital I for Cathy and Thema, Omaggio a Joyce. Yet they were married for only 14 years, from 1950 to 1964. Moreover, it is widely known that she had a large compositional share 

5 times 'Yes' for smashing combo of dance and opera in Sasha Waltz' Orfeo

Days after the grand scenic world premiere of Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder, De Nationale Opera once again comes up with a more than remarkable production of international stature. Everything and everyone dances and sings. (1) So you think you can dance? Sure. The modern opera singer(s) is used to something. Simply stepping forward and singing your aria was outdated decades ago. And. 

Four opera myths shattered @Oerol festival

Is a performance opera if not a note is sung? If the audience sits on a stand in a car park with headphones on their heads? Or if a man cries out like a dog with a tongue out of his mouth throughout the performance? The definitions of opera are stretched quite a bit at five Oerol performances. Interestingly, hardly anyone calls the performance opera. By necessity, musical theatre is often used, but that term does not really fall into a warm bath.

About five years ago, ...

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Alain Platel deals firm death blow to traditionalists in #hollandfestival

Talent alone won't get you there. You also need a bit of luck. That luck happened to Alain Platel so often by now that you almost start doubting your own wickedness. Still. Those who not only count a composer like Fabrizio Cassol among their friends, but who also gave singing prodigy Serge Kakudji a chance, deserve a bit of luck. What the trio has now achieved with 13 musicians from Kinshasa is downright revolutionary. And a death knell for those who believe d...

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Jeroen Willems (1962 - 2012)

The Netherlands' greatest artist is dead. Can happen. But can I then also curse heartily? Because Jeroen Willems is irreplaceable. As a journalist, you know the drill: of actors over 60, or of otherwise fragile stature, you have a necrootje ready. If you are well-known and meet the requirements, count on your friends and acquaintances to... 

Hit in the heart by opening performance by Alain Platel, and then find solace. #hf12

At two-thirds, the lump shoots in to not go out until the end. It happens at every Alain Platèl performance. Heartfelt sobs from the audience, lots of swallowing around you and the inevitable tears welling up like a natural disaster. To call the Flemish choreographer's work predictable because of this is going too far. What he and his company Les... 

Dancers of Busy Rocks combine rigour with lightness and humour in 'Studium'

Studium by Busy Rocks - photo Teodora Mihai

It is nothing new that simple movements, close to the everyday, are given a place in dance performances. But the particular way they are constructed and highlighted in 'Studium' by Belgian group Busy Rocks makes you look at them with fresh wonder.
Three of the four dancers, darkly dressed, engage in carefully crafted poses against e...

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Oerol arrives. Competition for Holland Festival on scarce arts pages in Festivalland #hf10

 The Marathon Effect is well known: put spectators together in a theatre for half a day or more, preferably on uncomfortable seats, and hand them over to a couple of actors with a play. Success seems assured, and the ancient Greeks already knew that. So that there would be no discord surrounding the monster project I Demoni, the Dostoevsky adaptation of Peter... 

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