Freedom, equality, fraternity. The famous slogan of the French Revolution has lost none of its relevance in the 21st century. In 2013, freedom was the central theme of Opera Days Rotterdam. This year fraternity (brotherhood) is the leitmotiv of the festival. It runs from 17 through 25 May 2014 in various locations around Rotterdam. Whereas freedom and equality concern the needs of the individual, the concept of brotherhood is about communal spirit. Who will lead the community now that religion is no longer the benchmark of society? Where are the shining beacons on the horizon that we used to refer to as heroes? These questions inform our quest during the coming edition of Opera Days Rotterdam.
Some highlights of Opera Days Rotterdam 2014
International meetings and showcases
From Thursday 22 May through Sunday 25 May, Opera Days Rotterdam is the international hotspot for everyone who has anything to do with contemporary opera and music theatre. Prominent guests from all over the world will be coming to Rotterdam to attend showcases, meetings, and debates.
Soselo in Siberia - Collective 33 1/3, Rosa Ensemble, Jeroen Kimman
Can heroes still be trusted? What if the 'hero' ostracizes people? The opening production of the festival is visualized by the video-pioneers of Collective 33 1/3 (also known for their internationally acclaimed production Bluebeard). It takes us back to communist Russia using Stalin's poems and Bulgakov's literary masterpiece, The Master and Margarita. In Soselo in Siberia the national hero Soselo – Stalin's nickname when he wrote poetry – is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
(17 May on location; 22 & 23 May in the Rotterdam Schouwburg)
macbEth - Brett Bailey and Fabrizio Cassol after Giuseppe Verdi
The tragic message of this incisive version of Verdi's opera Macbeth is that social exclusion can help form a community. The trail-blazing South African director Brett Bailey and Belgian composer Fabrizio Cassol have set the blood-drenched Scottish play in what is now eastern Congo. In this post-colonial macbEth, a choir of African singers recount the fate of Congolese refugees, set to Verdi's music. (19 & 20 May in Nieuwe Luxor Theater)
Arthur – Paul Koek, Muziektheater Transparant, Cappella Amsterdam, B' Rock
If there is one story that celebrates supreme brotherhood and hero worship it is the famous saga of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Director Paul Koek has actualized Henry Purcell's eponymous semi-opera, which is directed by Paul Koek. In the extraordinary Onderzeebootloods (a vast submarine hangar), we watch as humanity roams the battlefields, exactly 100 years after the start of World War I. Conductor: George Petrou. (21 & 22 May in Onderzeebootloods)
Van den Vos - FC Bergman, Liesa van der Aa, Kaleidoskop
Theatre collective FC Bergman approaches the renowned epic fable Reynaert de Vos from an unusual angle. In Josse de Pauw's adaptation, entitled Van den Vos, the antihero rather than the hero shapes the community. When the immoral Reynaert is hunted down, the crafty old fox puts us to shame by holding up a mirror. It clearly shows that the root of all evil can be found inside ourselves. (23 May through 25 May in the Rotterdam Schouwburg)