May 31, 2008 - Jun 22, 2008

Holland Festival 2008

Holland Festival

International Performing Arts Festival Amsterdam

Impression Holland Festival 2008
Themed Cielo e Terra, the 2008 Holland Festival embraced not only the concrete concepts of heaven and earth, but also the more metaphysical aspects. The literal climatological conditions were represented in, for example, MOLIÈRE and in Peter Missotten’s WeerSlechtWeer (the weather influencing both the players’ performance and the spectators’ experience). The religious dimensions featured in Olivier Messiaen's music – in particular his opera Saint François d’Assise – and in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre. In Louis Andriessen’s new opera La Commedia, both the literal and metaphysical aspects of heaven and hell were adressed, as it brought together the parallel notions of heaven, hell and purgatory in the form of film, song and dance. One of the central concepts of this festival was passion. In musical-Christian tradition, this is the story of the suffering of Jesus Christ performed every year in a number of versions, including that by Bach. This 61st edition of the Holland Festival presented works which connected with this tradition – or, in fact, did their best to break away from it. Calliope Tsoupaki’s Lucas Passion combined Greek Orthodox, Arabic and Christian elements into a contemporary version of Christ’s suffering as the basis for mankind’s salvation. And Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos, a composition bursting with Latin American verve, was equally upbeat, and as such made a fitting final performance of the festival. The theatre makers were much more sombre: in Luk Perceval’s MOLIÈRE the main character was transformed from a utopist into a senile old man who had lost all hope of love; Emio Greco | PC took Dante’s Purgatorio (the purifying Purgatory from La Divina Commedia) as the starting point for an epos about the fragility and temporality of the body and the beauty of suffering. Another recurring theme was the terrible things people are capable of doing to each other: the two main characters in Quartett (a text by Heiner Müller based on the well-known Les Liaisons Dangereuses), who keep each other in a stranglehold with their amorous manipulations; the Arab clans in Richard III, who begrudge the other's power; the tradition of the castrato – for centuries an accepted phenomenon, but in the course of the nineteenth century rejected on ethical grounds – in the Mexican performance of De Monstruos y Prodigios; and the serial killers in Koohestani’s new work Quartet. The opening performance, Beckett’s Happy Days, was directed by Deborah Warner. This splendid illustration of man’s capacity for forming cruel relationships offered a portrait in miniature of companionship at its hyperbolic limit. Composer Guo Wenjing and director Li Liuyi were more accepting of the limitations of human interaction. Their Peking Opera trilogy portrayed three ‘war heroines’ from Chinese traditional theatre. In Sifters Dinge the German theatre-maker and composer Heiner Goebbels abandoned human dialogue altogether with this ‘no-man show’, a performance without actors or musicians, a kaleidoscope of video images, sounds, ideas and clouds. EarFuel and EyeFuel, which have become standard features of the Holland Festival, served as extensions, expansions or focal points of the main programme. Bzzz Pük, the hot jazz trio from Northern France was a new discovery for the Netherlands; a gigantic climatological panorama by visual artist Hans Op de Beeck offered contemplative respite at the Gashouder; Paradiso staged Only Night of the Proms and the second edition of Dream Amsterdam with the multitalented Japanese electronic composer Ryoji Ikeda. In MindFuel, fuel for the brain, the festival facilitated a space for text and context to meet, and to go further than simply offering pre-concert talks or meetings with the artists. Architect Rem Koolhaas gave a lecture, and the festival invited writer and critic Kees Fens for a special evening dedicated to the documentary about the 'archaeology of the soul' he collaborated on. De Gids published a double-sized Holland Festival issue with essays on the subject of religion and culture. The 2008 edition also saw the Dutch debut of The Forsythe Company and their choreographer William Forsythe, an important event in the festival's history. And the festival took its leave from the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who died on 5 December 2007, with the world premiere of Glanz, Stockhausen’s last completed work.

Richard III
by William Shakespear, Sulayman Al-Bassam

It was in response to a commission from the Royal Shakespeare Company that Kuwaiti writer and director Sulayman Al-Bassam created this highly celebrated modern Arabic version of Shakespeare’s tragedy of power.

Stifters Dinge
by Heiner Goebbels

Music without musicians. Theatre without actors. The acting area free of people for the whole seventy minutes. A ‘no-man’ show.

by Luk Parceval

Hypnotic marathon performance in which biographical data about Molière is blended with excerpts from his famous plays.

by William Forsythe

Decreation is one of the last works that William Forsythe created for Ballet Frankfurt before this illustrious ballet company was dissolved in 2004.

[purgatorio] POPOPERA
by Emio Greco | Pieter C. Scholten

After their kaleidoscopic HELL (2006), Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten continued their journey through Dante’s La Divina Commedia with a [purgatorio] diptych.

Chinese Heroines - Liang Hongyu
by Guo Wenjing

Holland Festival 2008 presented the world premiere of an opera from China in three parts about heroines from the dynasties wars: the young warlike Mu Guiying, the woman disguised as man Hua Mulan, and the devoted mother Lian Hongyu.

Mondo Cane
by Mike Patton

Italian 1960s glitter and glamour by hard rocker Mike Patton (from Faith No More) and the Metropole Orchestra.

by Heiner Müller and Barbara Frey

The Dutch actor Jeroen Willems and the German film and stage actress Barbara Sukowa performed Heiner Müller’s razorsharp adaptation of Les liaisons dangereuses (1782) behind, on and around a twenty-four metre long table.

La Pasión según San Marcos
by Osvaldo Golijov and Robert Spano

A Latin American Passion by an Argentinean composer with Jewish roots.

Artistic Director: Pierre Audi
Credits: Story

Artistic director Holland Festival 2005 - 2014:
Pierre Audi

Credits: All media
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