Sunday, 13 March 2011

Holland Festival 2011

What happens at the Holland Festival happens for the rest of us. Messaien St Francis of Assisi, and Complicité's A Dog's Heart, and the amazing Janáček From The House of The Dead conducted by Boulez. Amsterdam is where it's at, so pay attention.

This year's big feature is Wolfgang Rihm's new opera Dionysius which premiered July 2010 in Salzburg. "Friedrich Nietzsche’s late cycle of poems Dionysus-Dithyrambs ...... The production shows how the god of intoxication manifests himself in the philosopher, who, ailing from syphilis, has gone mad. His erotic, platonic and traumatic relations with the most important women in his life are given form in music, staging and movement. Pierre Audi asked Jonathan Meese, an artist who has often dealt with Nietzsche in his works, to devise the visual component of the performance. Rihm chose not to use a linear narrative, but opted for the more Dionysian approach: a kaleidoscope of scene". De Nederlandse Opera, so the performances will be good. Photos and details HERE. It runs 8, 12, 16, 19 and 22nd in the Westergasfabriek, literally an old gas container. Let's hope this one comes to London.

Wisely, in Amsterdam they do music in context.  On 4th June, Wolfgang Rihm's Quid est Deus?, "a mysterious cantata" for choir and orchestra. Also, Belgian composer Wim Henderickx's sixth and latest installment of a grand cycle Tantric Circle, dealing with astronomy and metaphysics. Both composers will be on hand to discuss (in English).

The Holland Festival is also doing Mozart The Magic Flute, but with a difference - it's the fabled Peter Brook production, heard in Paris December 2010. There's also a Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin.  Much more distinctive, though, will be The Jade Hairpin on 11th and 12th June. This really is special. It's kunqu opera, the oldest form of opera in the world, dating from the Ming Dynasty. It's considered the most poetic and refined form of Chinese opera. The Jade Hairpin is one of the great classics of the repertoire, written in the late 16th century, about star crossed lovers.  Sung in Mandarin with Dutch subtitles, but the plot is easy to follow through gestures and costumes. I'll write more about it later, since this is the only site that covers Chinese AND western opera. The production is led by Wei chunrong. Read more about the recent Beijing performance of this opera by this troupe HERE.  

Another  rarity on 13th June : Erik Satie’s Uspud, "a bizarre ‘christian ballet in three acts’, featuring a host of ghostly appearances, like the Church, saints, martyrs, demons and Christ on the cross. The ballet has the crucifixion as its central theme" Being Satie, it's not going to be religious but oddball. Reinbert de Leeuw conducts, always good.     

And if you miss Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at Aldeburgh, you can catch it in Amsterdam on 15th June. Same cast - Ian Bostridge, the most idiomatic of Britten singers, Angelika Kirschlager and Oliver Knussen.  Big series too on Xenakis. with concerts and an exhibition and a focus on the films of Schlingensief.

No comments: