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Opera Forward Festival

#Corona-classics I: Le Dernier sorcier Pauline Viardot

When corona measures were declared on Thursday 12 March, it felt surreal at first. The next day, the world premiere of Willem Jeths' opera Ritratto fell through. I had been looking forward to this immensely, just like all the other productions in the Opera Forward Festival. Besides, I was in the midst of preparations for numerous introductions the next... 

'I decided to make an unabashedly grand romantic gesture and blow people away' - Mathilde Wantenaar writes new piece for Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Being creative on demand? That's impossible, you would think. Yet it is the reality for composers and artists who work on commission. Mathilde Wantenaar (1993) therefore got acute choice stress when the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra asked her for a new piece. She was just working on a commission from De Nationale Opera. 'I felt like a rabbit in the... 

Between nappy and dishes - the (in)visibility of female composers

Amsterdam, 8 March 2018. Today is Women's Day, no one can fail to notice. The media are brimming with articles about women's unequal pay and their still limited representation in prestigious positions. Whether in politics, business, academia or the arts. Perhaps the most conservative is the classical music world. There, the female composer has yet to... 

Ingo Metzmacher conducts Das Floss Der Medusa: 'Death is a very seductive woman'

On Tuesday 13 March, the Opera Forward Festival opens with Hans Werner Henze's Das Floss der Medusa. This 1968 oratorio fits seamlessly with the third edition's theme of Fate and Conscience. It was inspired by a true story from 1816, when the French frigate Méduse ran aground on the African coast. Those on board were left to their fate;... 

Opera The New Prince: pretentious bombast

It is not easy to visit an opera presented as a stunning piece of contemporary social criticism without fear. Especially when it evokes such totally different reactions. Some call The New Prince 'an opera on the vein of our own time' (Mischa Spel, NRC), while others give it 'a fat fail' (Erik Voermans, Het Parool). Another needs more... 

Bach's St John Passion as musical theatre: it can be done

Initiated by Pierre Audi in 2016, the Opera Forward Festival questions the future of musical theatre. The 13-day festival offers (young) creators and singers a chance to explore new avenues. For the second edition, Audi himself directed And You Must Suffer, a music-theatrical version of Bach's St John Passion. This production by Muziektheater Transparant and the early music ensemble B'Roque experienced its Tuesday 28 March... 

Composer Moritz Eggert: 'Caliban turns from victim to perpetrator'

'Many opera productions still assume a nineteenth-century vision of the world,' says German composer Moritz Eggert (1965) in the podcast below. 'But art must be relevant to our own times; the answers of then are not the answers of now. Our current problems are largely rooted in our colonial past, in our exploitation of other countries ... 

How I found love for opera in Sexyland. (And how you can too) #0FF17

A prelaunch of the Opera Forward Festival OFF [hints]From 18 to 31 March at De Nationale Opera (formerly the Muziektheater/Stopera)[/hints], among other venues, was organised last night at Amsterdam's new society Sexyland. I was impressed. Pretty surprising. Opera Nopera Disclaimer: the author of this one is not an opera director. The last two operas I saw were both by Philip Glass (the true... 

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... 

Michel van der Aa transcends himself in opera Blank Out

As soon as soprano Miah Persson enters the stage, we hear a loud, electronic crack. Is a branch breaking here, one of composer Michel van der Aa's (Oss, 1970) favourite sounds? Or is it a stone crashing into another after all? Boulders play a major role in his latest opera Blank Out; at the end they crush with thunderous roar 

Opera Forward Festival: open your heart and be stimulated in a different way

Pierre Audi is the creator of the first edition of the Opera Forward Festival - OFF for short - which is being presented to the public for the first time as part of De Nationale Opera and its 50th anniversary. Opera as an art of inspiration is the supporting idea behind the ten-day festivities. The School During the Pre Launch OFF... 

Peter Sellars: 'This opera is a paradise on earth.'

What does the future of opera look like? The National Opera tries to answer this in the Opera Forward Festival: new visions new voices, organised for the first time this year to mark its 50th anniversary. The ten-day festival kicks off 15 March with the world premiere of Only the Sound Remains by Kaija Saariaho. About... 

Kaija Saariaho on her new opera: "Peter Sellars is not appreciated"

Huge, deep black shadows fall on a backdrop of calligraphic foliage in every conceivable shade of grey. Director Peter Sellars intently follows the movements of the three main characters during a run-through of 'Feather Mantle' at De Nationale Opera. Together with 'Always Strong', this short opera forms the double-bill Only the Sound Remains by Kaija Saariaho with which 15 March's Opera Forward Festival... 

National Opera and Ballet 2016-17: Back to normal

'In the new season, we go back to normal,' Pierre Audi said on Monday 15 February during the presentation of the new season of The National Opera. He does, however, continue the forward-looking Opera Forward Festival, which was set up to mark its 50th anniversary. There are also quite a few new own productions on the roll, including the world premiere of... 

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