Holland Festival 2009

International Performing Arts Festival Amsterdam

By Holland Festival

Artistic Director: Pierre Audi

Three solos and a duet (2009-06-04) by Mikhail Baryshnikov & Ana LagunaHolland Festival

Impression Holland Festival 2009

The preparations for the programme of the Festival in 2009 took place in a period in which there was still a good deal of uncertainty about the size of the budget. One resolution was rock solid, however: in this first year of a new era, the programme had to contain ingredients that would be characteristic of future editions of the Holland Festival. Serenity & Anxiety was a theme with which many people could identify after the credit crisis broke out in the autumn of 2008. This theme connected divergent styles and disciplines and the mix of big names like Mikhail Baryshnikov and Antony and daring experiments by Christoph Schlingensief and Steven Cohen. Familiar figures such as Alain Platel, Sasha Waltz and Heiner Goebbels also graced the Festival with surprising works that could not always be placed in one category. This is why a new chapter has been added to the programme: multidisciplinary.


The realisation of a long-time dream, the performance of the complete oeuvre of the French American composer Edgard Varèse, entitled Varèse 360°, was my first production for the Holland Festival. This project is indicative of the course that the Festival will be steering in the coming years. Because of its magnitude, it took up a great deal of our team’s production capacity. Thanks to the many partners and parties involved, all the effort resulted in a weekend that offered an outstanding example of the Festival atmosphere. For three whole days, the public could immerse itself in a wide variety of activities with the same motif: the work of Varèse. In addition to the large concerts featuring Asko|Schönberg, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Cappella Amsterdam and the visual material of Gary Hill, the public could attend a symposium in the Planetarium in Artis, where the restored version of the Poème électronique was presented in 360° projection. Two documentaries on the life and work of the composer were shown in the Ketelhuis on the Westergasfabriek terrain, where outdoors the Veenfabriek gave a homage to Varèse with the Sirene Orchestra. Teenage Lontano, Marina Rosenfeld’s project with Amsterdam youths, was performed in the Zuiveringshal. The mix of large-scale and small-scale activities, both free and with admission charges, both in the open air and in very specific buildings, stirred up pleasing excitement, discussions and admiration.

The other large, defining production of this edition was Eine Kirche der Angst vor dem Fremden in mir, a personal document by filmmaker/artist/director Christoph Schlingensief. The way in which he used different disciplines, directly confronted his audience and did not avoid the grandiose made this an exceptional piece that was given a prominent place in the Festival.


With respect to collaboration, new alliances were formed in addition to the Festival’s existing ties. After the project with the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2006, this year’s edition again included film. In the wake of the Antonioni Project by Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the Filmhuis Den Haag offered an Antonioni retrospective in coproduction with the Festival that was shown throughout the entire country. The restoration of Abel Gance’s J’accuse prompted the Festival to collaborate with the Filmmuseum; Reza Namavar and Gary Lucas wrote a wonderful new score for this film.


For a lecture on architecture, the Festival engaged Winy Maas of MVRDV, who took a very free approach to the phenomenon of ‘lecture’ and made a talk show out of it. For Eine Kirche der Angst, Orfeus by Brett Bailey, and Teenage Lontano, the Holland Festival worked with local extras of various ages and backgrounds. Almost one hundred Amsterdammers performed for the first time in extremely diverse Festival productions. To which can be added that Orfeus was presented at a new location, outside Amsterdam, which was a new experience for both the audience and the organisers.


The Festival programme was well received by the press, public and programmers. There was generous attention in the media, and thanks to the colloquium hosted by the International Association of Theater Critics, reports on the Festival were published in many countries for the first time. Articles were published in Bulgarian, Romanian, Arabic, Hindu, Finnish and Polish, among others. The public reacted especially enthusiastically to the performances pitié!, Carmen, Hiob and Three solos and a duet by Mikhail Baryshnikov. However, the undisputed favourite of the public was the compelling show The Manganiyar Seduction by Roysten Abel, which received the VPRO Audience Favourite Award. A number of the Festival’s coproductions attracted the interest of other programmers. Varèse 360° will be shown in Paris and London by the coproducers and there is international interest for Passion by Pascal Dusapin and for J’accuse by Abel Gance. The promotion of our productions by the press and our colleagues in other countries is good for the Festival’s reputation. The interest that has been shown confirms us in our choices and the course that we have charted. Together with Annet Lekkerkerker, who is the new Managing Director as of October 1, our new Chairman of the Board Martijn Sanders and the fantastic Holland Festival team, we will continue to seek international, bespoke and innovative productions that once again will make the month of June a high point of the theatre season.

Varèse 360º (2009-06-13) by Edgard VarèseHolland Festival

Varèse 360º
by Edgard Varèse

The complete oeuvre of Edgard Varèse in two spectacular evenings at the Gashouder.

Louis Andriessen 70 years old (2009-06-06) by Louis Andriessen, Jurjen Hempel, Reinbert de LeeuwHolland Festival

Louis Andriessen 70 years old
by Louis Andriessen, Jurjen Hempel, Reinbert de Leeuw

A programme to honour the Netherlands’ leading composer Louis Andriessen.

Eine Kirche der Angst vor dem Fremden in mir (2008-09-21) by Christoph SchlingensiefHolland Festival

Eine Kirche der Angst vor dem Fremden in mir
by Christoph Schlingensief

Theatre maker Christoph Schlingensief confronts his demons with angry, fearful ritual.

Bunraku (2009-06-26) by Yoshida Minosuke, Bunraku-za Company, OsakaHolland Festival

by Yoshida Minosuke, Bunraku-za Company, Osaka

Ancient Japanese puppet theatre with fairy tales and historical legends, only in Amsterdam.

Woyzeck (2007-06-21) by Bayerisches StaatsschauspielHolland Festival

by Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel

A ruthless world transforms a weak-willed drug addict into a killer.

Chandelier (2001) by Steven CohenHolland Festival

by Steven Cohen

Cohen’s work balances on the margins of visual art, dance and drag.

Medea (2007-05-23) by Sasha WaltzHolland Festival

by Sasha Waltz

Sasha Waltz’s nuanced impression of Medea in a choreographic adaptation of Dusapin’s opera.

pitié! (2008-09-02) by Alain Platel & Fabrizio CassolHolland Festival

by Alain Platel

Alain Platel pleads for compassion in universal adaptation of St. Matthew Passion.

The Manganiyar Seduction (2006) by Roysten AbelHolland Festival

The Manganiyar Seduction
by Roysten Abel

Indian folk musicians from Rajasthan in an orgiastic choreography of melody, song and rhythm.

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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