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Holland Festival celebrated the live arts in corona time

The 74th edition of the Holland Festival closed last weekend with the performances Transverse Orientation by Dimitris Papaioannou, Age of Rage by ITA-Ensemble and Pierrot Lunaire by Marlene Monteiro Freitas. The festival collaborated with two associate artists, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and French-Austrian theatre maker Gisèle Vienne. Twenty-three companies performed one hundred and eleven performances over twenty-five days. The festival presented seven world premiere... You can log in now 

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... 

Holland Festival presents scalable programme: It's about time.  

A night walk where, for once, it is not about talking to each other, or exercising the muscles, but about being very aware of where you are. Mindfulness as a theatre experience, then, and if all the coronagraph remains against us, the only part of the Holland Festival that can go on live because of sufficient distance and outside. It needs to be that bad... 

Retrospect Opera presents Fête Galante by unjustly forgotten Ethel Smyth - Buy that CD!

'Had I not possessed three things unrelated to music, I would have perished early on from loneliness and disillusionment,' wrote Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) at 60. Those three things were: 'Iron health, a distinct fighting spirit and a modest but independent income.' Whereas women in the nineteenth century were condemned to compose 

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... 

Jimi Hendrix and Hlengiwe Lushaba: heavenly union in a requiem for Congo's freedom

Hlengiwe Lushaba, remember that name. This South African singer sings the paving stones out of the street during Sur lessons traces the Dinozord. She does so with a voice that goes from gritty falsetto to full Wagner soprano, though that term will again be resented by classical sharpshooters. But what would it be? Hlengiwe Lushaba will care little, because... 

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... 

Minister Van Engelshoven: 'CaDance is a gift'. Blame her.

Peaks and valleys right from the opening night of CaDance, the festival of contemporary dance. From toe-curlingly long dance to sky-high drama. Highlights: dancer Sammie Hermans and the entire Mom:Me. Crushing New artistic director Stacz Wilhelm, in the presence of the minister during his opening speech, names the harsh years of austerity since 2013. The so-called obviousness of art he wants to... 

Lessons in Love and Violence: glowing music fails to spark icy drama at @hollandfestival

'Love is poison' Mortimer sings to the king in the first scene of Lessons in Love and Violence. The military adviser denounces his relationship with Gaveston, whom he showered with favours while his subjects went hungry. 'Don't bore me with the price of bread' ripostes the king. Rather than worry, he treats his lover to poetry and music... 

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,... 

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra plays Fires by Raminta Šerkšnytė

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is coming to our country. On Monday 9 April, they will give a concert in TivoliVredenburg Utrecht under their young chief conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. They will play music by Wagner, Debussy and Beethoven, a fairly standard programme at first sight. But fortunately, Lithuanian Gražinytė-Tyla brings a piece by her compatriot Raminta Šerkšnytė. Who wrote Fires... 

Culture outside the Randstad: Amersfoort's struggle

Displaced paintings by Armando. Artists fleeing the city. A tinpot that brought financial disaster and summer festivals that attract tens of thousands of visitors every year. And you thought Amersfoort was boring? A footnote along the A1 motorway? Forget it. Let me tell you about this city struggling with its cultural identity. A story in eighteen impressions. Guilty landscape In his youth... 

Why I love that the Holland Festival is programming Stockhausen's 'Aus Licht'

Towards the end of the year, we are inundated with lists. The best CDs, the best books, the performances you shouldn't have missed, etcetera. In this sea of choices from reviewers and other opinion makers, one post stands out, from opera critic Olivier Keegel. He started a veritable petition to prevent Karlheinz Stockhausen's 'Aus Licht' from being performed in June 2019,... 

Seven shows you wish you had seen in 2016 (but don't give up hope)

In The Hague, they think it's a waste of money. Let them. Here are seven performances that were more than worth 'that sin'. Mona, Ariadne, Mariken, but also breathtaking circus theatre, a secret marriage, genre-transcending satire and the biggest set ever. 1. Mona, NTJong (youth theatre/drama). It is the biggest pitfall of the age indication for theatre performances. Put in 6+ and... 

Decors steal the show in The National Opera's Parsifal

Austrian bass Günther Groissböck received the biggest applause in Parsifal on Thursday 15 December, for his role as Gurnemanz. A close second was Russian soprano Elena Pankratova. She signed for the vocal part of Kundry, who took shape on stage in the person of assistant director Astrid van den Akker. However, judging by the deafening cheers, the audience was the... 

Stop whining about ageing audiences at classical concerts

Last weekend, I attended a coffee concert by the baroque company The Continuo Company. At 53, I was one of the youngest visitors. Around me wrinkled faces and grey hair. I increasingly hear that ageing audiences for classical music are a problem. I think this is big nonsense and am becoming increasingly annoyed by this... 

Ariadne auf Naxos by the Nederlandse Reisopera is making history.

Many a director is at a loss when it comes to Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. This is not surprising. In the prologue, about three quarters of an hour long, the composer is told, via the 'Haushoffmeister' of Vienna's richest man, that he is supposed to perform his opera buffa simultaneously with the opera seria of the commedia dell'arte-like dance troupe of Zerbinetta.... 

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... 

Publicity image Eyes Wide Shut by Toneelgroep Maastricht, Photo: Stefan van Fleteren

Eyes Wide Shut: why Schnitzler's 'Dream Novel' is still best read.

At the end of this month, Toneelgroep Maastricht will present 'Eyes wide shut'. The play is an adaptation of Stanley Kubrick's film of the same name. The latter was in turn inspired by Arthur Schnitzler's 'Droomnovelle'. The book was published 90 years ago and caused quite a stir. The story of DreamnovelleThe Viennese doctor Fridolin is shocked when his wife Albertine confesses to him that she... 

Ed Spanjaard is the ideal new leader of the Orchestra of the East

After it was announced in January this year that Jan Willem de Vriend was leaving at the end of the 2016/2017 season, the Orchestra of the East announced that it was in no hurry to find a successor. One would start working with "renowned guest conductors". Just over six months later, a few months before the departure of interim director Bart van Meijl, a successor was still presented. That this successor, Ed Spanjaard, is given the title of 'permanent conductor' seems mainly a semantic issue.

Jubilee concert #DNO: unnecessary flexing of muscles

'I feel cheated,' said the man next to me as we left the auditorium at ten to nine-thirty. He had come all the way from Tilburg to the Stopera for the concert that concluded the National Opera's 50th anniversary on Wednesday 29 June. 'It will take me even longer than the concert lasted, including intermission,' he grumbled. He also had little to say about the offering itself. And that while all around us the audience stood on their seats to cheer on the internationally renowned soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek.

This is more than a review of the opening of the Holland Festival

On Saturday 4 June 2016, I attended the royal opening of the Holland Festival and was able to attend no review write about, because I was sitting in the front row of the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg. As the stage was elevated, I was looking against a black wall, above which only the front actors were visible. The back and lower half of the stage were completely eluding me.

Me wrote that on, and the Holland Festival generously offered me the opportunity to go and see the performance again, from a better seat. At the same time, the organisers told me that the first three rows of the Stadsschouwburg would be compensated at this performance. So I went to Amsterdam one more time, on Monday 6 June.

Before the performance, while not eating a blackened hamburger in theatre restaurant Stanislavski, I heard from the neat people at the little table next to me that the front seats were offered at a sharply reduced rate, and that people like them who had already bought tickets had the choice of thus getting a partial refund or going on the waiting list for a seat with better sightlines. Whether they eventually managed to get one of the spots with better visibility, I don't know. The performance

Joost Galema on writing as a marine and opera singer Bastiaan Everink

Joost Galema, journalist and programme maker, was called one day by Bastiaan Everink. The baritone and ex-marine wanted to make a book about his personal struggles and how music changed his life. Not being a writer, he started looking for a ghostwriter. Joost was third on his list. A few days later, Bastiaan was standing in Joost's Hilversum living room telling his story. The singer talked about marines, survival, violence, Iraq, Wagner's music and a search for...

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Mayke Nas wins composition prize: 'I don't want fear, I want adventure'

Grandfather Louis Toebosch was a famous organist and composer. His daughter - her aunt - Moniek an equally famous artist and performer; mother recorder teacher, father Mozart-crazy: 'When I left home I couldn't hear a recorder or Mozart anymore!' Mayke Nas (Voorschoten, 1972) is no stranger to making music and composing. In doing so, she likes to avoid the beaten track and... 

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