The Holland Festival is lively - a great excuse to visit Amsterdam in early summer. This year the Festival celebrates Louis Andriessen's 70th birthday. The Andriessen family have long been significant figures in the Dutch music scene. In the 60's and 70's Louis symbolised the progressive spirit of the times, creating the Orkest de Vollharding and seminally important works like De Staat.
On June 6, there'll be an all day series featuring Andriessen's Haags Hakkuh (2008) and Vermeer Pictures (2005) plus works by Henrik Andriessen (father), Stravinsky (hero) and Diderik Wagenaar, another important Dutch composer. There'll also be another programme with vocal/theatre work, La Passione (2002) and the Folksongs of Luciano Berio, Andriessen's mentor.
Th big opera this year is Adam in Ballingschap by Rob Zuidam. Claron McFadden sings, which should be interesting. If I were going this year (alas not), I'd be heading for Pascal Dusapin's Passion, based on Monteverdi's Orfeo. This is also on in Paris in April. Dusapin writes exquisite chamber music and his operas are restrained but to the point. His Faustus, the Last Night is excellent. It's out on DVD. For a detailed description of Passion in Aix last year follow the link on the labels list at right. Dusapin was Iannis Xenakis's only student. More on Xenakis coming up soon, bookmark this blog.
Since writing this I've looked at the printed book programme and there's lots more - quite a bit of Dusapin chamber music and also the opera The Anatomy of Melancholie on 19th June. There is also a concert of Goeyvarts and his opera Aquarius on 21st June. There are several Varese events, a symposium, some concerts and installations. Holland Festival always delivers interesting things !
The Holland Festival is also good on world music, and this year's special is a performance of Buranku theatre. Bunraku puppets are stylised, as divorced from modern western concepts of theatre as can be, more austere than kabuki. Yet that's precisely why they're interesting. I'd go to this if I could.