Holland Festival 2015

International Performing Arts Festival Amsterdam

By Holland Festival

Artistic Director: Ruth Mackenzie

Impression of Holland Festival 2015

The 68th edition of the Holland Festival, the first under new artistic director Ruth Mackenzie, continued the tradition of innovation. Well-known international names presented new work at the festival: Robert Wilson directed and performed in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape; the Russian director Lev Dodin brought a young stellar cast from the St Petersburg Maly Drama Theatre to offer a gripping interpretation of Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard; French choreographer Boris Charmatz staged his radical dance performance manger, visual artist William Kentridge directed the opera Lulu for Dutch National Opera and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. True to Holland Festival traditions, the performance of Dutch National Opera was shown free on the big screen in Park Frankendael. Of course there were some world class acts from the Netherlands as well. These included the choreographic duo Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten, presenting Extremalism, the first co-production by their two companies ICKamsterdam and Ballet National de Marseille. Composer/pianist Misha Mengelberg’s absurdist opera Koeien was given its world premiere, featuring a memorable performance by the Dutch actor Pierre Bokma. Dutch theatre artists Nazmiye Oral and Adelheid Roosen were commissioned to make a world premiere, Niet Meer Zonder Jou. Building on the Holland Festival tradition of offering art free to a wide audience, the festival commissioned new free pieces, including Liam Gillick’s largest ever piece on the Museumplein in partnership with the Stedelijk Museum, and Michel van der Aa’s interactive, digital song cycle, The Book of Sand, which you can still watch on your mobile, tablet or desktop computer. And this year everyone was invited for the opening party. House in Your House featured live streamed DJ sets led by Joost van Bellen which people could enjoy in their own homes. As well as these free events, there were events offering tickets at very low prices to give a wide audience a chance to try out world class art – such as Fernando Rubio from Argentina with one-on-one performances in beds which popped up all over the city, from Dam Square and the Oudezijds Voorburgwal to the Westerpark. The 12 Hour PROM also offered tickets for only 10 euros for world class artists in a festival atmosphere. In the Concertgebouw, the chairs were taken out of the stalls to make way for a twelve hour marathon mini festival. The audience could walk in and out as they wished during four consecutive concerts, including Dutch star soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, Slagwerk Den Haag with a large scale percussion piece for all the family, Anna Calvi and the Metropole Orchestra, and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra giving an exceptional programme with music by Xenakis and Boulez. This concert in the Proms was part of a special tribute to the conductor and composer Pierre Boulez, who celebrated his 90th birthday this year. For years, Boulez has been a particularly welcome guest at the Holland Festival. His visionary, radically innovative works have left an indelible stamp on international music. The festival featured three other performances with Boulez’ work. Asko|Schönberg and Slagwerk Den Haag performed highlights from his oeuvre in Beyond the Score®. His masterpiece Répons received two consecutive performances at the Gashouder, a unique double bill which allowed the audience to experience the great depths of this masterpiece. And the free lunchtime concerts by students of the Royal Conservatory were also dedicated to Boulez’ work. Another theme of this year’s programme was ‘Power and the people’ – about the classical role of art as a critique of the establishment. Various productions focused on power politics, ranging from global politics to the power relations between men and women. In Kings of War, Ivo van Hove and Toneelgroep Amsterdam gave us three compelling portraits of three rulers and the different ways in which they deal with political crisis and war, taking Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III. La imaginación del futuro by the Chilean company La Re-sentida reconstructed the final hours of Chile’s socialist president Salvador Allende, whose suicide in 1973 paved the way for the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The current consequences of the war in Syria were put under the spotlight in Oh My Sweet Land. This piece also looked from a woman’s point of view, as did Christiane Jatahy’s What if they went to Moscow?, the Catalan director Angélica Liddell in You are my destiny (Lo stupro di Lucrezia) and the Japanese digital diva Hatsune Miku in a new pop opera The End. A third thread which ran throughout the programme, notably the music programme, was the relationship between the Netherlands, Turkey and the Turkish region. At the festival’s opening night the Turkish diva Candan Erçetin teamed up with folk band Kardeş Türküler and the Amsterdam-raised singer Karsu to get the audience at the Royal Carré Theatre off their seats and dancing on the balconies. Alternative pop & rock venue Paradiso hosted A Night Under Eastern Skies, with the Al-Kindî ensemble, the Turkish sufi DJ Mercan Dede and the trio Niyaz propelling traditional Ottoman sufi music into the 21st century. The following day, the Turkish rock band mor ve ötesi and singer Şebnem Ferah set the place on fire with a scintillating concert. In the west of Amsterdam, the new Holland Festival venue Podium Mozaïek staged the musical journey From Byzantion to Istanbul, as well as a concert with the music of Armenian composers George Gurdjieff and Komitas Vardapet, which touched on their ambivalent ties with Istanbul. In their production Niet Meer Zonder Jou (No Longer Without You), theatre makers Adelheid Roosen and the Turkish-Dutch Nazmiye Oral explored cultural differences, particularly the experience of intimacy and affection, and forms of relationships which can transcend these differences. Linked to this performance, a series of photographs was displayed at tram stops across the city. All these special local and global collaborations show the Holland Festival working with partners to create diverse work, spread around Amsterdam. The new design agency Thonik offered a new typeface and look for the festival banners and posters throughout the city. In this review we look back at the highlights of a successful first festival under the artistic direction of Ruth Mackenzie. The festival team is already busy putting together the programme for 2016. We hope to see you again then!

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Boğazı Geçen Şarkılar (Songs across the Bosporus)
by Kardeş Türküler with Candan Erçetin & Karsu Dönmez

Opening Holland Festival 2015

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by Boris Charmatz

'A rare and gripping performance which touches everyone’ - Die Presse

The Book of Sand (2015-05-31) by Michel van der AaHolland Festival

The Book of Sand
by Michel van der Aa

A new genre: the digital, interactive song cycle. Experience at thebookofsand.net.

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You are My Destiny (Lo stupro di Lucrezia)
by Angélica Liddell

‘Rape as ultimate love token’ - De Morgen

Todo lo que está a mi lado (2015-06-10) by Fernando RubioHolland Festival

Todo lo que está a mi lado
by Fernando Rubio

At six outdoor locations in the heart of Amsterdam – on the streets, the quaysides and the canals – people could experience a very special encounter with a complete stranger – in bed.

House in Your House
by Joost van Bellen, Riptide, Mike Mago, Falco Benz

The big Holland Festival opening party was at your place!

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The Inner Landscape
by Guo Wenjing, Frank Scheffer

Film with opera becomes opera with film – in a project by a Chinese composer and a Dutch filmmaker.

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12 Hour PROM
by among others Eva-Maria Westbroek and Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Anna Calvi and Metropole Orkest, Slagwerk Den Haag, Multiple Voices, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Choir

During the last festival weekend, the Holland Festival presented a new, one-day mini festival inspired by the famous Proms.

ein tag und eine stunde in urbo kune (2015-06-06) by Klangforum Wien, forum experimentelle architekturHolland Festival

ein tag und eine stunde in urbo kune
by Klangforum Wien, forum experimentelle architektur

For 25 hours the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ changed into an utopic city.

Keaton Henson & Amsterdam Sinfonietta (2015-06-11) by Keaton HensonHolland Festival

Keaton Henson & Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Rare performance by singer-songwriter and his heartfelt, desolate songs.

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The End
by Keiichiro Shibuya + Hatsune Miku

Global star Hatsune Miku's first pop opera.

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Krapp's Last Tape
by Robert Wilson

Enter the cold world of a lonely man.

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What if they went to Moscow?
by Christiane Jatahy

Three Sisters from Brazil

Répons (2015-06-14) by Pierre Boulez, Ensemble intercontemporain, Matthias PintscherHolland Festival

by Pierre Boulez, Ensemble intercontemporain, Matthias Pintscher

Masterpiece of experimental music unfolds at the Gashouder

As Big As The Sky (2015-06-11) by Arnoud Noordegraaf, Ai Weiwei, Adrian HornsbyHolland Festival

As Big As The Sky
by Arnoud Noordegraaf, Ai Weiwei, Adrian Hornsby

Megalomania in modern China. World premiere of opera by Arnoud Noordegraaf, Ai Weiwei and Adrian Hornsby.

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Yesterday Tomorrow
by Annie Dorsen

'Yesterday' evolves into 'Tomorrow' in computer-controlled performance

The Cherry Orchard (2015-03-24) by Anton Chekhov, Lev Dodin, Maly Drama TheatreHolland Festival

The Cherry Orchard
by Lev Dodin, Maly Drama Theatre

Chekhov's seminal play staged by one of Europe's most original directors

A Night Under Eastern Skies (2015-06-12) by Al-Kindi, Mercan Dede, NiyazHolland Festival

A Night Under Eastern Skies
by Al-Kindi, Mercan Dede, Niyaz

Extraordinary mix of classical sufi repertoire and hypnotic pop music

Extremalism - The body in revolt – Le corps en révolte (2015-06-12) by Emio Greco | P.C. Scholten, ICKamsterdam, Ballet National de MarseilleHolland Festival

by Emio Greco | P.C. Scholten, ICKamsterdam, Ballet National de Marseille

30 dancers in a new work by Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten

Der Untergang der Nibelungen - The Beauty Of Revenge (2014-10-23) by GORKI, Sebastian Nübling, after Die Nibelungen by Friedrich HebbelHolland Festival

Der Untergang der Nibelungen - The Beauty of Revenge
by GORKI, Sebastian Nübling

Behind the scenes at Der Untergang der Nibelungen at Holland Festival 2015

Credits: Story

Artistic director Holland Festival 2015:
Ruth Mackenzie

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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