Holland Festival 75 years

9 - 3 2022


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

  • Focus on climate
  • Focus on representation

Including: Sami Yusuf, Tiago Rodriques, , Mary Finsterer, Robin de Raaff , Philippe Manoury, Wu Tsang, Trajal Harrell, Abd Al Malik and Wallen, Heiner Goebbels, Ben Frost and Zeynab Abib. 

The 75th edition of the Holland Festival will kick off on Friday 3 June in Royal Theatre Carré with the concert Mother Nature by Angélique Kidjo, with guest artists such as Jeangu Macrooy, Yemi Alade and Blue Lab Beats. The festival is working with two associate artists for this edition: the French-Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo (1960) and the German theatre director Nicolas Stemann (1968). New and recent from both will be featured, including Yemandja from Kidjo and Der Besuch der alten Dame from Stemann. Their professional networks and broad fields of interest will find their way into the programme as well. 

Climate change
The work of both associate artists reflects a range of common interests, which include their concern over climate change. Mother Nature is a clear example of this. The piece Kein Licht (2011/2012/2017), a ‘thinkspiel’ from Nicolas Stemann in collaboration with composer Philippe Manoury, based on a text from Elfriede Jelinek, takes place immediately after a nuclear disaster. In the piece Altamira 2042 from Gabriela Carneiro da Cunha, the people who live by the Brazilian Xingu river speak about the threat that a gigantic dam poses for humans and nature there. There is also sharp commentary on our current society from Julian Rosefeldt. With his new, spectacular film installation Euphoria, he makes both the ‘euphoric’ and destructive sides of consumerism tangible. For many artists, climate change is not just a subject, and many also reflect on the climate impact that making theatre itself has and what the role of the artist is. With A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction, director Katie Mitchell made a concept for an energy-efficient piece in which the necessary energy is generated live and for the audience to see. In preparation for the opera Antarctica, a world premiere, composer Mary Finsterer organised a symposium with artists and scientists in the field of Antarctic research.

Overlooked perspectives
Stemann’s Der Besuch der alten Dame will be featured, a piece in which only two actors play all the roles of a classic Swiss text about guilt and punishment and in this way embody all possible perspectives. Featured as well is Stemann’s Contre-enquêtes, based on the novel The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud, in which the nameless Arab who is killed in Camus’ The Stranger, is given a name. In the debate surrounding identity politics, the two associate artists and many makers with them, are currently asking themselves: who are we to tell this story? Who can play these characters? From what perspective are stories best told? This is clearly reflected in the personal musical theatre piece Yemandja that Angélique Kidjo made about the history of slavery in her birth country Benin. In the opera The Murder of Halit Yozgat, director Ben Frost presents a true-life murder case from different perspectives. But old classics like Moby Dick  and Der Ring des Nibelungen are also given a new meaning in the adaptations by, respectively, directors Wu Tsang and Christopher Rüping, who allow previously excluded voices and stories to now play a major role. 

75 years of building bridges
International connection has been a major aim of the Holland Festival since 1947. It is, in fact, the reason why it was founded. World star Sami Yusuf bridges cultural distances in his collaboration with the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra and Capella Amsterdam for When Paths Meet. This openness, which transcends genres and cultures, fits well with the Holland Festival. Therefore this year, in which the Holland Festival has been around for 75 years, there will also be plenty of attention for artists who the festival has been following throughout their careers. Composer and director Heiner Goebbels will present his new composition A House of Call, the Dutch National Ballet will honour choreographer Hans van Manen with a Hans van Manen festival, and Arno Schuitemaker will present 30 appearances out of darkness. Artists whose work can be heard from previous festivals are composer Benjamin Britten in Ifé and Luciano Berio, whose Coro is played in combination with the new piano concerto Circulus by Robin de Raaff. 

Programme and accessibility
The festival will be present at Lofi (for two club nights) and De Melkweg (for an evening with rappers from South Africa and Nigeria). Two operas will be streamed free of charge from Park Frankendael: the opera Der Freischütz, while for the second opera the audience can vote for a title from 20 years of Opera in the Park, which Holland Festival has presented with the Dutch National Opera since 2001. 

The programme is further deepened in an eight-day context programme in collaboration with ROEF and other partners about climate change and how we, as an organisation, artists and audience, can take action. There will also be workshops, meet the artists and panel discussions with guests from the Netherlands and abroad. The introductions to the pieces will appear in the form of a podcast series in collaboration with De Groene Amsterdammer, which can be listened to starting 1 April. Leading up to the festival, there will be noteworthy films online that have a thematic link with the festival programme. 

This year’s regular collaborating partners from the Netherlands include: The Dutch National Opera, the Dutch National Ballet, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. 

In total, Holland Festival will be presenting 35 productions with 109 pieces, including 10 world premieres and 14 Dutch premieres  The festival will take place from 3 through 26 June 2022. Tickets may be purchased through www.hollandfestival.nl

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