On June 4, 2016, the 69th Holland Festival will open at the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg with Peter Handke's Die Stunde da wir nichts voneinander wußten by the Hamburg Thalia Theater and Estonian directing duo Ene-Liis Semper and Tiit Ojasoo. This year's festival is themed around Europe, titled Edges of Europe. The opening performance shows the diversity and tensions of modern day Europe while Milo Rau's The Dark Ages, Joël Pommerat's Ça ira (1) Fin de Louis, Wael Shawky's Cabaret Crusades: The Secrets of Karbala and Ukrainian band Dakha Brakha's Zemlja delve into the history of the continent. Dutch theatre company Wunderbaum address current issues in The New Forest and dispersed members of The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music, some of whom found refuge in Europe, will be reunited for a concert led by conductor Issam Rafea, alongside British songwriter and producer Damon Albarn and guests at Royal Theatre Carré. As well as focusing on Europe, the festival will also focus on Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth, the Kronos Quartet and the Dutch actors' collective Wunderbaum.
The music program centers around Olga Neuwirth and the Kronos Quartet. Ensemble intercontemporain will play Neuwirth's latest major work Le Encantadas at the Gashouder and bassoonist Pascal Gallois and pianist Marino Formenti will perform pieces by the Austrian composer as well. The Kronos Quartet will be artists-in-residence at the festival, showcasing their Kronos’ Fifty for the Future project, for which they are commissioning fifty scores from fifty different composers over the next five years. At the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, they will perform the Fifty for the Future scores by Yotam Haber, Merlijn Twaalfhoven and Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, as well as a Holland Festival commission by composer Yannis Kyriakides. At the Holland Festival Proms, closing event of the festival with six promenade concerts in one day, the Kronos Quartet will perform a selection of their greatest hits interspersed with new material and a guest performance by Tanya Tagaq, who will also perform elsewhere at the festival. The Holland Festival Proms will also see Africa Express present the first African version of Terry Riley's minimalist masterpiece In C, pop artist Ben Folds playing with the yMusic chamber orchestra, the Gnawa Oulad Sidi Ensemble staging a Lila ritual, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra performing Poul Ruders’ Solar Trilogy and Merlijn Twaalfhoven mounting his latest work for more than one hundred bassoonists. The Proms’ cheaper tickets (€ 10 per concert), will offer a wide audience access to its six concerts, offering them the opportunity to enjoy the Holland Festival in a festive and free atmosphere.
Dutch actors' collective Wunderbaum present four performances –The Future of Sex, with texts by Arnon Grunberg and directed by Johan Simons; Privacy, in collaboration with Dutch theatre company De Warme Winkel; a reprise of De komst van Xia(The coming of Xia); and their film mockumentary Stop Acting Now. This year's theatre program also features an interactive sound installation recounting personal stories from deceased Syrians by Lebanese-British artist Tania El Khoury.
Two audience favorites will make a welcome return at this year’s Holland Festival. Director Simon McBurney will stage his latest show The Encounter, whereas Christiane Jatahy will present The Walking Forest. In this year's dance program, returning Festival artists include Akram Khan, mounting his latest performance Until the Lions, the Wuppertal Tanztheater staging Nelken by Pina Bausch, and Meg Stuart presenting her rarely seen Sketches/Notebook.
The 2016 Holland Festival features three films with live music. Ukrainian band Dakha Brakha will play their new soundtrack to Aleksandr Dovzhenko's classic 1930 Soviet film Zemlja (Earth);Scottish post-rockers Mogwai perform their live score to the screening of director Mark Cousin's Atomic (2015); and Collegium Vocale Gent and B’rock Orchestra's performance of Haydn's The Creation, led by René Jacobs, is accompanied by original footage created by Berlin artist Julian Rosefeldt.
The festival's music theatre program is headlined by the world premiere of Louis Andriessen's new work Theatre of the World. Director Pierre Audi and video artists the Quay Brothers will recreate the dream world of Athanasius Kircher, the last true Renaissance man, at Royal Theatre Carré. Composer Harrison Birtwistle will stage his latest chamber opera The Cure and its companion piece The Corridoron the same set, directed by Martin Duncan and performed by London Sinfonietta, soprano Elizabeth Atherton and tenor Mark Padmore. Basel Theatre, director Sebastian Nübling, choreographer Ives Thuwis, early music specialist Andrea Marcon and Basel Junges Theater jointly present Melancholia, a piece about today's disenchanted youth.
As in previous years, the Holland Festival will present works in the public space which are accessible and free of charge. Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija's interactive installation Tomorrow is the Question will be mounted in Amsterdam's Museumplein. Following last year’s success of Michel van der Aa's digital song cycle The Book of Sand, the Holland Festival has commissioned Sjaron Minailo and Anat Spiegel to create a digital work for this year's instalment. Their digital opera The Transmigration of Morton F., an ode to Morton Feldman, starring Joan La Barbara, will be available from June 20 on mortonf.net.
After the success of the Save the Bassoon campaign launched at Holland Festival 2015, this year the festival launches Save the French Horn with a ringtone competition and the launch of the website reddehoorn.nl.
The 2016 Holland Festival will present 45 productions totaling 104 performances, concerts and events spread over 23 days –including 12 world premieres and 41 Dutch premieres. The festival will run from June 4-26, 2016. Tickets are available at hollandfestival.nl.