Opera Forward Festival
The Opera Forward Festival is organised each year by the Dutch National Opera. The festival presents outstanding opera performances as well as talks by keynote speakers and new and exciting roads into opera by a rising wave of young composers, singers and instrumentalists.
Fate and Understanding
At this year's Opera Forward Festival, the theme of the festival is “Fate and Understanding”, and the festival’s aim is to prompt new initiatives, new work and new talent. The festival takes in opera, art, talks, performances, food and DJs! One example is We Shall Not Be Moved, a Dutch-American music theatre piece that mixes classical, spoken word, R&B and jazz.
The operas taking place are as varied as they are magnificent. From the 17th century Italian canon to 20th-century heavyweights, the opera programme has plenty, no matter what sort of opera fan you may be.
Das Floß der Medusa
Das Floß der Medusa, by the 20th-century composer Hans Werner Henze, is based on a painting that commemorates the victims of the shipwreck of the Medusa. The opera director, Romeo Castellucci, one of the most cutting-edge directors of the present day, manages to make a connection between the opera masterpiece and the current crisis that sees migrants risking and losing their lives on the open seas, repeatedly being forced to make treacherous journeys with no chance of rescue.
Trouble in Tahiti and Clemency
Trouble in Tahiti and Clemency are brought to you in a double bill of two short operas by upcoming young American director Ted Huffman and the young British conductor Duncan Ward who conducts the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti throws together popular and high culture in a snapshot of American suburban life in an opera that criticises materialism.
James MacMillan’s short opera Clemency consists of a tight compact cast backed by a small all-string chamber group. The tale follows Abraham and Sarah who are visited by mysterious people, where Hollywood meets the bible.
La morte d’ Orfeo
La morte d’ Orfeo is Pierre Audi’s newest production as director at the Dutch National Opera. This opera by the Italian Baroque composer Stefano Landi tells the story of Orpheus who has failed to save his wife Eurydice from the underworld, which angers the god Bacchus, leading to Orpheus’s demise. This production takes place almost 500 years after it was first performed!
Passages aus LICHT
Passages aus LICHT is a two-and-a-half-hour German opera by Karlheinz Stockhausen's 29-hour opera cycle LICHT. LICHT is subtitled “The Seven Days of the Week” which Stockhausen composed between 1977 and 2003 and described as an “eternal spiral” because he believes there is "neither end nor beginning to the week”. This radical, utopian opera is backed by young instrumental talent from ensembles of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.
Avventure di anima e di corpo
Avventure di anima e di corpo is an opera filled with dance and physical drama, by György Ligeti and Raphaël Cendo, directed by Pierre Audi. Ligeti was one of the key figures of the Avant-garde, better known to some as the composer whose music can be heard in Stanley Kubrik’s The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey. This opera breaks down borders between man and beast, body and mind and voices and instruments.
Book your tickets
There are discounts for under 35s for just 20 euros, as long as you present your ID. Students can attend for 15 euros with a valid student card. Book your tickets to Opera Forward and enjoy the innovative flair of this year’s festival.
Image credit: Petrovsky and Ramone