Holland Festival is celebrating its 75-year existence with a topical programme

Angélique Kidjo sings Philip Glass at Bozar with Antwerp Symphony Orchestra Brussels, Belgium Sunday 8 December October 2019 Picture : © Etienne Tordoir

Holland Festival is the largest international performing arts festival of the Netherlands and one of the oldest festivals of Europe. This year, the Holland Festival has existed for seventy five years. International connection has been a major aim of the Holland Festival since 1947, and this is, in fact, the reason why it was founded shortly after the war. The need for the connecting power of art is now, especially in these current times, felt particularly strongly again.

For seventy five years, the festival has shown live performing arts from all over the world that would not have been featured in the Netherlands otherwise: from theatre, dance, music, musical theatre and opera to multidisciplinary forms, and crossovers with visual art, digital art, photography and film. It has worked with associate artists since 2019. This year, these are the French-Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo (1960) and the German theatre director Nicolas Stemann (1968). New and recent work from both will be featured. Their professional networks and broad fields of interest will find their way into the programme as well.

On Friday 3 June the festival will kick off in Royal Theatre Carré with the festive concert Mother Nature by Angélique Kidjo, with guest artists such as Jeangu Macrooy, Yemi Alade and Blue Lab Beats. Last month Kidjo received the Grammy Award 2022 Best World Music for her latest album Mother Nature, which effortlessly fuses West African traditions with North American influences like R&B, funk and jazz. Yemandja is breathtaking musical theatre about love, betrayal and the injustices of slavery. Drawing inspiration from her ancestors, her family and Africa’s resilience, Kidjo tells a story that is a wake-up call to her audience. Finally, Kidjo sings in Ifé about creation myths from Benin in her native language of Yoruba to music by minimal-composer Philip Glass. An evening in The Concertgebouw that brings music styles and cultures together, from baroque and jazz to minimal and chansons.

From the German theatre director Nicolas Stemann three works will be presented. Kein Licht. (2011/2012/2017), based on a text by Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, is a pessimistic but at the same time humorously neurotic opera that dispenses with our faith in technology. In the tragicomic play Der Besuch der alten Dame, originally written for a cast of thirty actors, only two actors play all the roles in a story about guilt and punishment. Featured as well is Contre-enquêtes, in which Stemann stages the imaginary encounter between the main characters from two novels, one written by the French Albert Camus and the other by the Algerian Kamel Daoud.

In this festival edition, there will be special attention for two current and relevant areas of focus: climate and representation. In 2022’s inspiring and surprising programme, some great international collaborations have been realised, and significant bridges are built between genres and cultures. Besides familiar festival names like Heiner Goebbels, Ben Frost, Tiago Rodriques, Sami Yusuf, Mary Finsterer, Robin de Raaff, Philippe Manoury, Trajal Harrell and Abd Al Malik, there are also plenty of new names to discover, like directors Wu Tsang and Christopher Rüping and singers Zeynab Abib and Wallen. Many artists focus on the value and vulnerability of nature, and there is attention for energy-efficient production. Sustainability also underlies the reflection on, and making space for perspectives that were not heard or seen often enough throughout history. The Holland Festival is for everyone.

Holland Festival
3 – 26 June,  Amsterdam

Info & tickets: www.hollandfestival.nl