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Ine Aya: Wodan's state visit to Kalimantan raises quite a few questions #HF21

After three centuries of colonial oppression and exploitation, it is now pay-back time. However, we, the progeny of the navy that came to get nutmeg there, are not so good at it. Because we come back to Indonesia with mass tourism, cheap clothing dyers and multinationals like Unilever. We do little else but drain the place further. Economically, but also culturally. This can be subject... 

Iranian Turandot disarms with engaging music. But Puccini remains undefeated

It is quite daring. To take a classic Italian opera and give it a 'primal version'. I know a small army of militant opera critics who would prefer to take up arms against that. If that comes from Iran, you soon have the puppets dancing. To get right to the first... 

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... 

Tosca as reality soap at Dutch Reisopera

The theme of Puccini's 1900 opera Tosca is of all times. A cocktail of passionate love, political rebellion, lust and betrayal is centred around the person of Floria Tosca. Director Harry Fehr presents this story as a reality soap, with implicit commentary on our selfie culture. A nice find, but it is questionable whether it can bring the drama to life... 

Dutch Reisopera 2018-19: We're waiting for the curtain to rise!

We're sitting in the opera house; We're waiting for the curtain to arise With wonders for our eyes; We're feeling pretty gay, [...] A feeling of expectancy, A certain kind of ecstasy, Expectancy and ecstasy... Sh's's's's. "Curtain!" With the above words, Charles Ives sang of the excitement of a child going to the opera for the first time. A similar enthusiasm shows... 

Klaas de Vries finds neotonic heaven: 'I can't resist composing'

Dutch composer Klaas de Vries (Terneuzen 1944) pairs Stravinskyian clarity with southern sensuality. He harbours a love for poets such as Pablo Neruda and Fernando Pessoa, and his work excels in recognisable melodies and rhythms. 'However innovative, to be communicative, music must always contain a traditional element,' he said. On 28 and 30 November, Asko|Schönberg will play... 

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... 

Amira, stop imitating opera arias, take singing lessons while you still can!

Nine-year-old Amira Willighagen was when she won the TV talent show 'Holland's got talent' in 2013 with opera arias. Her Puccini aria 'O mio babbino caro' still attracts millions of viewers on YouTube. What makes Amira so immensely popular? Is it her singing skills or is it her adorable childlike appearance? In Huizen, a village in the Gooi region, she gave a concert with... 

Cool Manon Lescaut at The National Opera

In front of a sold-out Stopera, De Nationale Opera presented its new production of Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut on Monday 10 October. Directed by Andrea Breth, the musical director is Alexander Joel. The lead role is sung by Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, who was loudly applauded afterwards. The bad news First but the bad news. The... 

Podium Witteman has lost the stage, er, way

Throughout the year, the public broadcaster spends a lot of time on sports. For World Cup, Tour or Games, cultural broadcasts are cancelled for weeks without pardon. If you can't beat them, join them, Paul Witteman must have thought, or perhaps the viewing figures were disappointing, because on 1 May he devoted an entire Podium Witteman broadcast to cycling. Don't. The reason for the cycling special is... 

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... 

Five reasons why the Netherlands Reisopera should perform Amahl and the Night Visitors every year

Only Maastricht, Den Bosch and Enschede were able to enjoy Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. Far too little for an opera that has only been seen in our country twice before (in 1988 and 1965) but has everything it takes to win a young audience for the genre ánd is the December opera par excellence. Especially when the mini-opera is so... 

The five shows you must see in December

The National Opera, Hänsel und Gretel (opera) It is the best-known fairy tale opera of all time. Not surprisingly, as Humperdinck's adaptation of Hansel and Gretel is overtly rooted in folk music as in almost Wagnerian orchestration. It was bound to be a success. Richard Strauss conducted the world premiere; Amsterdam features International Opera Award Winner Lotte de Beer's version. She moves... 

Joseph Calleja shines in Concertgebouw

For the second time, tenor Joseph Calleja performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on Monday night 22 June, accompanied by the Gelders Orchestra conducted by Frederic Chaslin. A native of Malta, Calleja (b. 1978) is a world-renowned top singer. His timbre evokes memories of the finest voices of yesteryear: the controlled vibrato of Jussi Björling and the crystal-clear, powerful pitch of... 

The five shows you must see in February

#1 Salzburger Festspiele / Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz / Katie Mitchell, The forbidden zone (theatre/performance) - Dutch premiere 11 February, Stadsschouwburg AmsterdamThe British director Katie Mitchell is this month's 'arsonist' at Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg. With performances that are as scintillating as they are transgressive. The forbidden zone is about areas long off-limits to women: wete... You can log in now to continue... 

La bohème 2: verismo of the highest order

After the premiere of Puccini's perhaps most beloved opera La bohème at De Nationale Opera last Thursday, critics were divided in their reaction. Trouw praised conductor Roberto Palumbo, who 'can maximise Puccini's masterful effects', Place de l'Opéra chided the Italian for taking 'too much freedom in the phrasing of the melodies'. Culture Press colleague Henri Drost did not keep it dry 

Volksopera is a celebration of Ondiep, but what will be left when the cameras are gone?

Barely five months between first audition and first performance. That was all the time the makers and local residents had for the Volksopera Ondiep, which experienced the first of two performances on Friday 23 May. It was a warm May evening, touching at times, sometimes dreadful, but fun anyway: classics by Verdi (most of them), Bizet, Puccini and Offenbach, set to Dutch text and sung by complete amateurs. Accompanied, for once, by the Groot Omroepkoor.

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Miraculous play on age-old techniques mirrors Stravinky's music in 50,000 litres of water and 50 minutes

Thai and Vietnamese puppetry. Acrobats, Chinese shadow play and Japanese costumes. A Chinese conductor for a Dutch orchestra, a Canadian directing team and, as the main work, a scant 50-minute opera by a Russian composer, based on a fairy tale by a Danish writer who took his inspiration from China. Loosely.

That, and fifty thousand litres of water, are the ingredients for The Nightingale and Other Fables at Amsterdam's Muziektheater. A performance...

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