Holland Festival 2011

International Performing Arts Festival Amsterdam

By Holland Festival

Artistic Director: Pierre Audi

Mea Culpa (2009-03-20) by Christoph SchlingensiefHolland Festival

Impression Holland Festival 2011

The 2011 edition of the Holland Festival was one of the biggest and most broadly programmed in its history. From the opening to the jewel of a finale with singer Fairouz, the Holland Festival celebrated the beauty beauty and expressiveness of the arts. The festival opened with the multidisciplinary production Mea Culpa – Eine ReadyMadeOper. The title referred directly to the life’s work of its maker, Christoph Schlingensief, who utilized all aspects of his illness as inspiration for a production that might have been unsettling in the first instance, but ultimately evoked poignancy and sympathy. This first show reflected the red thread that ran through the Festival: order and chaos. The public could choose from a broad palette, as was already indicated in the introduction to the programme pocket. More than ever, the Festival demonstrated the richness and freedom, in form and content, of art right across the globe. The programme was characterized by great diversity. In the area of theater alone, the public could choose between a site-specific project in the Zuidas (the melancholic Before I Sleep directed by Tristan Sharps, where visitors walked on individually through the space) or repertoire in the Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam’s municipal theater (Un Tramway with Isabelle Huppert and De Russen! by Toneelgroep Amsterdam), between the visual theater of Romeo Castellucci or the flood of words in Elevator Repair Service’s adaptation of a book, The Select (The Sun Also Rises), by Ernest Hemingway, between contemporary alienation in Japan (Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech by Toshiki Okada) or a virtuoso, physically-acted performance from Hungary (Leonce & Lena by Maladype Theatre). The final theatre production on the programme was The School for Scandal, a Holland Festival coproduction with Barbican, directed by Deborah Warner. Order and chaos, the Apollonian and the Dionysian, was the preeminent theme of the opera Dionysos by Wolfgang Rihm. This composer was one of the musical programme’s two anchor points. In addition to an opera (Dionysos) and a choreography (Jagden und Formen (Zustand 2008) by Sasha Waltz) two more works of his were performed, the cantate Quid est Deus? and the cello concert Versuchung. The second anchor point was an entire weekend devoted to the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis. Five concerts were given in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, including the seldom performed Terretektorh and the ‘ballet for orchestra and tape’, Kraanerg, for which Visual Kitchen created visual material, on commission from the Holland Festival. Throughout the entire festival, the public could visit an exhibition about Xenakis, with many hand-rendered scores, architectural drawings, concepts, sketches and graphic scores. The Holland Festival also put a focus on the contemporary composer Thomas Adès, presenting two concerts in collaboration with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. What’s more, the Festival presented its own music theatre production, The Cricket Recovers, after a book by Toon Tellegen. For the first time, the Festival presented a musical: Fela! by Bill T. Jones. Replicated for this production in the Royal Theater Carré was ‘The Shrine’, the famous club of the Nigerian political activist/musician Fela Kuti. From the very first days of its run, the show drew a mixed public. In its slipstream, many late-night activities took place. In this year’s edition, the Holland Festival experimented with a longer run for some shows. Both Fela! and Before I Sleep were on the programme for almost three weeks. The Festival expected each of these productions to require a start-up period, after which word-of-mouth would do the rest. Another reason for choosing a longer playing period was that these productions were atypical of the Holland Festival. The strategy worked, although the costly start-up period took a heavy toll on the programming budget. In the same way that the 2010 edition experienced an exceptional opening with the Egyptian singer Amal Maher, this year’s edition had an ecstatic finale. After years of preparation, the Festival managed to engage ‘the Angel of the Middle East’, the singer and icon Fairouz. An extremely varied public from all over the world came to Amsterdam to experience this unique evening in person. The VPRO and NTR made a introduction program about her for television that excellently represented how great the impact of her music was and is, also in the Netherlands. The Holland Festival’s ambition to draw a broader public without making concessions regarding its mission – striving to obtain the highest artistic quality – has succeeded. The number of visitors rose by over 23% in comparison to the 2010 edition. Particularly the Broadway musical Fela!, the dance production Nya and the concerts by The National and by Fairouz drew a wide and varied audience. Audience favorites in the Festival were the site-specific production Before I Sleep, the musical Fela!, the music theatre piece Une flûte enchantée directed by Peter Brook, the dance production Birds With Skymirrors by the New Zealand director Lemi Ponifasio, Un Tramway with the French actress Isabelle Huppert, the new dance classic The show must go on by Jérôme Bel, the operas Dionysos and Eugene Onegin and the finale concert given by Fairouz.

Xenakis 1234 - Terretektorh (1966-04-03) by Iannis XenakisHolland Festival

Xenakis 1234 - Terretektorh
by Iannis Xenakis, Residentie Orkest

This year’s Holland Festival showcased the work of composer and architect Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001). The programme comprises four concerts, plus an exhibition about the connection between Xenakis’ architecture and his music.

Human Music Box (2011-06-17) by The IrrepressiblesHolland Festival

Human Music Box
by The Irrepressibles

Avant-garde pop blending richly orchestrated melodies with theatrical performance.

Une flûte enchantée (2010-11-09) by Peter Brook, after Walfgang Amadeus MozartHolland Festival

Une flûte enchantée
by Peter Brook

Brook’s poetical interpretation reveals the heart of Mozart’s music.

The Cricket Recovers (2005-06-10) by Richard Ayres, Toon Tellegen, Rozalie Hirs, Pierre AudiHolland Festival

The Cricket Recovers
by Richard Ayres, Toon Tellegen, Rozalie Hirs, Pierre Audi

Modern opera based on the story by Toon Tellegen.

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Vieux Carré
by The Wooster Group

'Is there nothing The Wooster Group cannot imagine – or re-imagine?’ – The New Yorker

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by Bill T. Jones

After New York and London, the groundbreaking Broadway musical about Fela Kuti came to Amsterdam.

Sandglasses (2010-10-28) by Justė JanulytėHolland Festival

by Justė Janulytė

A musical installation that challenges your sense of time and space.

Before I Sleep (2010-05-01) by Tristan SharpsHolland Festival

Before I Sleep
by Tristan Sharps

‘It isolates, immerses, beguiles, cheeks, challenges and moves. You come out blinking
into a real world that seems as provisional as the one you just left.’ – The Times

Fairouz (2011-06-26) by Nouhad Wadi Haddad (Fairouz)Holland Festival


She is widely known as the Angel of Lebanon. Legendary singer Fairouz is revered throughout the Middle-East and beyond. She performed in all the major cities of the Arabic world, in world cities such as London, New York and Paris, and now also in Amsterdam.

Credits: Story

Artistic director Holland Festival 2005 - 2014:
Pierre Audi

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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