Opera Forward Festival, special first edition
The Dutch National Opera presents the first edition of a special new festival in Amsterdam taking place from March 15 until March 25: Opera Forward!
Opera Forward Festival is an initiative based on the 50th anniversary of the Dutch National Opera. At the heart of the 10-day festival is the future of opera, brought to light by the presentation of various interesting performances and lectures, including two world premieres.
At the festival, there will be a special discount (between 15 and 30 euros for a ticket) for young people under 30.
Festival themed around "the soul"
The first edition of Opera Forward is themed around "the soul". One of the premieres embodies this theme as well.
The festival will kick off with the world premiere of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's Only the sound remains, directed by Peter Sellars and with the famous counter tenor Philippe Jaroussky in the lead role. This new opera combines two Japanese Nôh dramas about the soul. The performance has English and Dutch surtitles.
A series of Opera Forward Talks in cooperation with universities and art colleges in Amsterdam takes place prior to the festival period. Leading artists and scientists such as Peter Greenaway, Claron McFadden and Chantal Mouffe will discuss different aspects of "the soul" in relation to the arts.
Presenting four operas
The Dutch National Opera will present a total of four new operas. The productions will be performed in three different venues: Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ and the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam.
Besides Only the sound remains, the other three shows are:
Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, March 20
The world premiere of Michel van der Aa’s Blank Out is a chamber opera for soprano and 3D film. It has English and Dutch surtitles.
In Blank Out, Van der Aa explores the human condition in a groundbreaking combination of live action, video images and innovative music. This opera mixed with tech continues on from his previous successes After Life and Sunken Garden.
Nationale Opera & Ballet, March 16 and 20
The new production of Khovanshchina, the politically inspired opera by Mussorgsky, has key roles for the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chorus of the Dutch National Opera.
The performance has English and Dutch surtitles.
Stadsschouwburg, March 18 and 23
Cimarosa’s opera Il matrimonio segreto | The secret marriage is a new coproduction between Dutch National Opera Talent, De Nederlandse Reisopera and Opera Zuid.
The opera was last presented by the Dutch National Opera in 1976 with talented youngsters taking part, just like in the 2016 edition.
Il matrimonio segreto | The secret marriage is directed by Monique Wagemakers - now a much sought-after opera director. The performance has Dutch surtitles.
Purchase tickets for one of these four special performances here.
Heart of the festival
Dutch National Opera & Ballet will serve as the beating heart of the festival. During the day, the theatre will be a centre of debate, an exposition space and a location for readings and performances.
Since Opera Forward Festival also focuses on new audiences, several partners are involved with the festival. A fine example is the participation project in which 250 students from multidisciplinary backgrounds work together on five short operas that will be presented during the festival.
Opera Forward Talks
During the festival there will be some inspiring talks by prominent speakers such as Peter Sellars, Richard Sennett and Aernout Mik. They will talk about the role of the arts, both now and in the future.
The Opera Forward Festival will also feature the side programme Hosted Nights, in which they collaborate with cultural partners like Foam, EYE and Fiber.