Since 1947, the Holland Festival is the leading international performing arts festival in the Netherlands. The festival offers a broad scope of international performing arts with a mix of performances and concerts from all corners of the world. The festival features established names as well as new talent, showing innovation in art and exploring new types of venue and forms of theatre. The Holland Festival’s tradition of innovation is further expanded by opening the festival up, for instance by staging performances, concerts and events in public spaces.
The 72nd edition of the Holland Festival starts on Wednesday, 29 May 2019. The Holland Festival is putting the world on stage with both new names and great masters, from Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, the United States, South Africa and other countries. This is the first edition in which the Holland Festival is working with associate artists; for 2019 William Kentridge and Faustin Linyekula. The festival is presenting new work by both artists and showing work by artists related to them. This year the festival is also presenting the immense Stockhausen project aus LICHT. The programme consists of 39 productions and an extensive context programme.
The world on stage
As usual, the Holland Festival provides a platform for work from around the world. The festival is opening with The Head & The Load in Theater Amsterdam (in the Houthavens), William Kentridge’s new music theatre production with music by Philip Miller and Thuthuka Sibisi and choreography by Gregory Maqoma. The Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and the Catalan theatre maker Angélica Liddell are returning with recent work. New to the festival are the Frenchman Philippe Quesne and Krystian Lupa from Poland; both are internationally regarded as amongst the most important contemporary European theatre directors. A unique piece is composer Bryce Dessner’s and the ensemble Roomful of Teeth’s music theatre performance Triptych, about the controversial American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s work.
The festival is also presenting the Colombian Mapa Teatro’s Los Incontados: un tríptico, a triptych about the country’s violent history. The Chilean director Marco Layera (this time without his group La Re-Sentida) is staging a performance with and about nine teenage girls. Mitra is music theatre which tells the oppressive, true story of an Iranian psychoanalyst and Turan Dokht is an ‘intercultural rewriting’ of Puccini’s opera Turandot by Iranian-Dutch composer Aftab Darvishi and Dutch director Miranda Lakerveld. The French writer and rapper Abd Al Malik will be at the Muziekgebouw with his ‘rhythmic rebellion’ Le Jeune Noir à l’épée, in which he tells about his childhood and escape from the French banlieues, using texts by Charles Baudelaire and Édouard Glissant.
The Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer and his chamber orchestra Kremerata Baltica are an eye-catcher in the music programme. They are taking a closer look at the Russian composer Mieczysław Weinberg’s music and eventful life. The Muziekgebouw is hosting the installation Eight, a digital project by the Dutch composer Michel van der Aa in which he uses virtual reality to create a spatial experience of music theatre.
In the theatre programming, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam is co-producing The Cherry Orchard with the Holland Festival. Director Simon McBurney, who the Holland Festival introduced to the Netherlands, is now directing this local ensemble for the first time. The American Richard Siegal, a newcomer to the festival, is staging Roughhouse, a performance with dadaesque dance about violence in language.
With the South African William Kentridge and the Congolese Faustin Linyekula as associate artists, this year’s festival has joined forces with two artists who live and work in Sub-Saharan Africa, whose work has a global scope and who each has great stature in their respective disciplines. The festival is giving prominence to new work by both artists in the programme and exploring their sources of inspiration, themes and ambitions. As well as the opening performance, Kentridge’s Paper Music and Ursonate are being staged and Eye Film Museum is screening William Kentridge – Ten Drawings for Projection. Faustin Linyekula is presenting his latest work Congo, a poetic representation of his homeland, Sur les traces de Dinozord and Not Another Diva…, which he made with the South African singer Hlengiwe Lushaba and is being staged at both the Muziekgebouw and the Cultureel Educatief Centrum in Amsterdam-Zuidoost. He is also directing Parliament Debout, a theatrical parade through Amsterdam-Zuidoost.