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Two unique (dance) productions created in pandemic Tears of Peter and the National New Year's Blessing

Two unique (dance) productions created in a pandemic: Tears of Peter and the National New Year's Blessing

It is remarkable to see two productions bringing together dance and faith in a short time. Dancer Marijn Rademaker (former soloist Het Nationale Ballet) portrays the suffering of the apostle in Di Lasso's Tears of Petrus by Nederlands Kamerkoor and Dance Company Nanine Linning, dancer and recently assistant artistic director of The Dutch Don't Dance Division Kiran Bonnema portrays the change in the life of the still-young patriarch Jacob in EO's National New Year's Blessing.

And Stockhausen saw that it was good - aus LICHT in Holland Festival #HF19

'Then he could split into three and was a singer, dancer and trumpet player,' says a girl on the screen prior to Michael's Jugend. She is one of the little children who tell at the beginning of each day what aus LICHT is about. A good find by Pierre Audi and his artistic team, because the universe that Karlheinz Stockhausen gives us... 

Tannhäuser at DNO: not director's theatre but subtle take on hypocrisy surrounding courtly and earthly love

A petition was recently started to restore Olivier Keegel's press accreditation by The National Opera. He was denied press passes because he frequently expressed negative views on Pierre Audi's programme choices on the blog Operagazet and in Het Parool. Moreover, he denounced his penchant for "director's theatre", in which, according to him, the content falls prey to a far-fetched... 

*With sound!* Why the Holland Festival show doesn't have to stop for now

'Please stop the show!", shouted an 83-year-old former reviewer from the back row. Theatre Frascati fell silent for a moment. There had never really been such an interruption at the Holland Festival's traditionally festive press conference. And that while Faustin Linyekula had just got into his stride, telling about the projects he is carrying out with his Studio Kanako in Kisangani. They provided... 

Long-winded Juditha Triumphans at DNO

Oratorios are notoriously undramatic, because they only tell a story for one second and do not zoom in on human emotions. Juditha Triumphans is no exception and the narrative itself has little to it. To rid her town of its assailants, Judith gets their general drunk and then cuts off his head. This could make for a compelling story, were it... 

Camilla de Rossi in NTRZaturdayMatinee: three centuries late premiere

After years, my harping on the invisibility of female composers is starting to bear fruit. Thanks in part to the #MeToo movement, composing ladies are also finally being taken seriously and performed. The NTRZaturdayMatinee is even making them a spearhead of its programming this season. This post is more than a year old, and so may have been overtaken by time by now.Last Saturday, we sounded... 

Publicity image Gesualdo. Photo: Sofie Knijff

At the Holland Festival, Mackenzie is opening the doors to a new avant-garde among the audience.

The neat couple next to me, in the front row at the Holland Festival press conference, hadn't counted on it for a moment. Four members of the Nederlands Kamerkoor starting to undress one by one down to their pecker-sized nakie. A giggle, a small cough, but hey, this is the Holland Festival, they said to each other. So too... 

Why it's good that the Holland Festival is putting the focus on Africa, rather than opting for a single artistic director.

Faustin Linyekula. Photo by: Joe Mabel [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsWilliam Kentridge and Faustin Linyekula. Remember those names, if you didn't already know them, because they are going to help define the face of Holland in the coming year. They have been appointed by the Holland Festival as associate artists. With this, the festival continues the phenom... You can log in now to continue... 

Why it's good that the Holland Festival gets this general manager #HF17

Annet Lekkerkerker is one of the few women in the cultural sector for whom the glass ceiling is no longer an obstacle. That she is now, after several years as 'business director', formally becoming top woman of the country's most important performing arts festival is wonderful for more reasons. She is not only the first woman at that high position. Her appointment also makes clear why... 

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 

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... 

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... 

7 reasons why you should invest in Holland Festival 2017 #hf17

Ruth Mackenzie has achieved an enormous amount in the short time she has been boss of Holland Festival. I've experienced the festival now since the late 1990s and watched it evolve from something very personal and sometimes obscure (under Ivo van Hove), to an ethereal feast of sizzling aesthetics (with Pierre Audi), to what it... 

Amsterdam has run out of things to do: now Stedelijk Museum topper gone too

Bart Rutten becomes the new artistic director of Utrecht's Centraal Museum Bart Who? Bart quite an important figure. Bart Rutten was the man behind some great blockbusters at Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum. That he is going to Utrecht after Malevich and Matisse says a lot about the good work of his predecessor Edwin Jacobs. It says even more... 

Holland Festival must look for new director: Mackenzie to Paris in 2019

It's quite unfortunate. Ruth Mackenzie is moving into even higher realms. She has made the past two editions of the Holland Festival considerably more refreshed and modern, and so it stands out. Paris beckons. Ruth Mackenzie has been nominated by Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, as Directrice Artistique (artistic director) of Théâtre du Châtelet, effective 2019. This means Ruth Mackenzie will direct the festival's... 

These five shows you really want to see in December

I tell you here why you should go to see Parsifal, and not even just because of the object by Anish Kapoor that plays a part in it. And you could also go to theatre one day, by the way. With The Girls. Fel theatre by our very best theatre company (according to Americans). The National Opera, Parsifal (opera) Four years ago, I attended Pierre Audi's... 

Ça ira (1) Fin de Louis, Joël Pommerat, photo: Elisabeth Carecchio.

On the edge of Europe, Holland Festival attracts 86,000 visitors #HF16

Ruth Mackenzie has brought new impetus to the Holland Festival. Not that her predecessor Pierre Audi did badly, but the British organisational talent has brought topicality and urgency to the programme. When she devised her programme theme, she too will not have suspected that the concept of 'Edges of Europe' would take on such a charge. After all, simultaneously with the last weekend of the festival, the English people decided, against the wishes of everyone but the Welsh, to leave the European Union behind. The Netherlands suddenly found itself on the far edge of Europe, with only a view of distant Ireland.

Theatre of The World (1): Design by Quay Brothers tastes like more #hf16

Carré's history and programming make it an odd duck in the Holland Festival pie. Programmed for next year are a boxing memorial, Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Ali B. The sawdust for dressage horses never seems very far away. It doesn't seem the most obvious place for a postmodern opera, or rather a grotesque in nine scenes. But now it is here: Theatre of the World. An event so big that we have two reviews and an interview to it.

Helen Westerik discusses the design of this opera.

Harrison Birtwistle: from shocking to guttural musical theatre

In his youth, Harrison Birtwistle (1934) was one of the Angry Young Men of English music, now elevated to the peerage and going through life as 'Sir Harry'. He trained as a clarinetist and composer at the Royal College of Music in Manchester, where he was annoyed by the conservative climate. Together with John Ogden,... 

Louis Andriessen: 'I've never found a new sound'

For Theatre of the World, his fifth full-length opera, Louis Andriessen (1939) was inspired by the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680). He was the last Renaissance man, someone who could do everything and knew everything. Kircher wrote books full of the most diverse subjects, from the meaning of hieroglyphics to vulcanology and musical instruments. He even designed a cat piano, based on the idea that each cat screams at a different pitch when you press ...

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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... 

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... 

Holland Festival 2016: urgent, challenging and inviting

Never before has the Holland Festival placed itself at the centre of society as it is today. The 2016 programme is steeped in the turbulent times in which we live. The Netherlands holds the presidency of the European Union this spring. Artistic director Ruth Mackenzie has taken this fact unflinchingly to give 'Europe' a wide place in the programming. In presenting... 

People are interested in people. 4 Essential lessons in master class by Pierre Audi.

In a full University Theatre on Tuesday 6 October, Pierre Audi gave a master class for young singers, dramaturgs and directors. Three scenes had been prepared by the students and were then expertly filleted by Audi. "Sorella, que dici?.... Prenderò quel brunettino", from Mozart's Così fan tutte began as a scene of two punk girls gripped by consumerism. The director and trainee dramatists... 

Todo lo que está a mi lado on Dam Square in Amsterdam (photo Wijbrand Schaap)

I shared the bed with an actress, and for a moment the world was quieter

A confession. There is no other way. So: yes. I was lying between immaculate white sheets in a comfortable bed with actress Lina Issa and it was beautiful. She whispered soft words in my ear, put a hand on my hand and it was very quiet around us. Thanks to that whispering, the noise of the big city fell away. Trams... 

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