May 29, 2007 - Jun 24, 2007

Holland Festival 2007

Holland Festival

International Performing Arts Festival Amsterdam

Impression Holland Festival 2007
The Holland Festival celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in June. It was an opportunity to unveil a special festival season, which showed the festival to be firmly rooted in society's social and political realities. The jubilee season was opened by the opera From the House of the Dead by Czech composer Leos Janácek, regarded as one of the 20th century 's most important works. Despite the harsh character of the setting and the events portrayed, this opera presents images of compassion and hope that are rooted in pure and honest humanity. These motifs in the opening performance directly echoed the festival's theme of Oppression & Compassion, and the related issue of the balance between morality and power politics. It's a theme which lay at the heart of the music theatre performance Into the Little Hill, a variation on The Pied Piper of Hamelin, which told the story of a minister sacrificing his own child to remain in favour with the people. A similar connection between morality and politics was made in Roman Tragedies, in which director Ivo van Hove showed us three men in power and their relationships with their people and with democracy. Power, politics and morality also surfaced in many other festival performances this year. In the opera Doctor Atomic, every thought and ambition of nuclear scientist Robert Oppenheimer was revealed in the forty-eight hours that preceded the first nuclear tests. The Lebanese Walid Raad himself experienced how it was to be interrogated by the American Secret Service and showed how a collection of harmless possessions can put someone under suspicion. The young director Emma Dante portrayed the Sicilian mafia culture in Cani di Bancata, whilst the dance performance Honour Bound showed the audience a glance at daily life in Guantanamo Bay. The Burgtheater from Vienna presented Babel, a text by the Austrian writer and Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek. For this militant left-wing feminist the events in the Abu-Ghraib prison and the revolution in Fallujah were the inspiration for a fearless anthropological journey into the deepest abysses of humanity and society. In contrast to this we saw how Frenchman Jérôme Bel and Thai Pichet Klunchun came to appreciate each others’ explorations, and how dancers Akram Khan and Sylvie Guilllem entered each other’s worlds with respect and a light tread. British composer Jonathan Harvey 'sang' in praise of our compassion with the dying in his new opera Wagner Dream, in which Richard Wagner is redeemed from his fear of death by a Buddhist monk. And in a related programme we experienced what it could be like to cross the threshold of life, in the late Gérard Grisey's Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil. The universal character of this jubilee programme's theme was also reflected in the international range of its talent. They included artists from France, Great Britain, The United States, Australia, Thailand, Austria, Italy, Pakistan, Belgium, Lithuania and the African Sahel. The festival’s closing programme summoned up memories of Maria Callas’ Dutch debut at the Holland Festival. The Slovakian soprano Edita Gruberova returned to the Concertgebouw for the first time in fifteen years in a festive programme of operatic arias which included excerpts from Norma and Lucia di Lammermoor. Over the last 60 years, the Holland Festival has brought the best of performing arts to the Netherlands and given a creative impulse to Dutch culture in a continuing dialogue between artists and public. In its jubilee season the festival once again presented a programme that moved, challenged and stirred debate. 

Wagner Dream
by Jonathan Harvey & Jean-Claude Carrière

Composer Jonathan Harvey and librettist Jean-Claude Carrière together have adapted the history of Die Sieger, an opera left unfinished by Wagner, combining the last hours of his life with the plot of the opera.

Doctor Atomic
by John Adams & Peter Sellars

A new opera by John Adams and Peter Sellars about the development of the first atomic bomb.

Babel
by Elfriede Jelinek and Wiener Burgtheater.

For Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, a militant left-wing feminist, the events in the Abu-Ghraib prison and the revolution in Fallujah are the points of departure for an anthropological journey into the deepest abysses of humanity.

Honour Bound
by Nigel Jamieson

Dance performance Honour Bound shows both movingly and overwhelmingly what happens when the fear of terrorism gains the upper hand over universal human rights.

Edita Gruberova - Casa Diva

In this final concert of the Holland Festival Edita Gruberova appeared in a programme of selected arias that included the Casta Diva from Norma and the Madness Scene Il dolce suono from Lucia di Lammermoor.

Artistic Director: Pierre Audi
Credits: Story

Artistic director Holland Festival 2005 - 2014:
Pierre Audi

Credits: All media
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