Opera Ballet Vlaanderen kicks off 2021 with no less than 24 titles. In January and February you can expect a new production or surprise from Opera Ballet Vlaanderen almost every week. They will start the new year online and as soon as it is allowed they will once again receive live audiences in theaters.
Looking ahead in these times is bound to be risky business, of course. The COVID-19 situation continues to be a roller coaster of up and down curves, restrictions and hopes that they can be eased. We therefore cannot guarantee that the plans we are presenting today will actually become reality. But we also feel it’s important to publicize our plans and show we’re here for our audience, online and live, once we can welcome everyone back.
We would have liked to present these plans in the fall of 2020. A brochure for the 2021 season was ready to go to press when the second lockdown was announced, which of course had an impact on some of the titles scheduled. We have decided to nevertheless publish this season brochure, with an accompanying letter on the adjustments, to our public. Again as a signal that we are not abandoning them.
Due to the second confinement, we had to adjust the start of the new year. The adaptation of Tristan und Isolde by Annelies van Parys will be cancelled. A completely new staging of Tristan und Isolde will be scheduled in a later season.
We will broadcast Memento Mori, but not in double program with Faun.
The Ghent performances of Ophelia, a co-production with HETPALEIS, will be postponed, as will the concert Les Noces in collaboration with the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. We hope to be able to present these two productions later in the season.
Fortunately, we were able to keep the rest of our plans and even complete them with new productions. This means that in the spring of 2021 we will be able to offer no less than twenty-four productions, including opera, concerts, dance and productions by Vonk, the third pillar of our house, focused on talent development. and innovative projects. We will resume the schedule from page 39 of the brochure and the Sing Out show.
In recent months Opera Ballet Vlaanderen presented a series of video performances under the title Imagination is Alive and on December 18th we broadcast live a performance for the first time: Choreolab. It was an experience and a learning experience with new media.
The success of the Choreolab live-stream and the many positive reactions from the public, very happy to see the dance broadcast remotely in their living room, form a solid base for us to continue to develop the streaming experience.
We will therefore broadcast our first three productions in January and early February. We will ask for a small access fee of maximum 10 euros for these, as we intentionally want to keep the threshold low.
As with a regular performance, people can book in advance and will receive a link when the time is right.
The first concert we will broadcast in this way is the performance Libertango, based on the intoxicating tango music of Astor Piazzolla. An ensemble from the Symphony Orchestra and dancers from Opera Ballet Vlaanderen will provide a passionate start to the year.
We will also celebrate this new year with the concert Finally 2021! This will be the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak that our full choir and symphony orchestra will perform together again under the musical direction of our Music Artistic Director Alejo Pérez. The program is still in development at the time of its publication, but Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Berlioz and Wagner will certainly be on the guest list for this festive gathering.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s impressive Memento Mori will also be broadcast live.
Troostparade, directed by Lukas Dhont and Dounia Mahammed, could not take place this fall, but Lukas Dhont and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui directed the short film Our Nature based on the choreography that Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui created for Troostparade, which we will present .
When we are able to reopen our rooms, we will follow the program indicated in the brochure. But of course, this is all subject to change.
Five grand operas, two dance performances, three concerts and five musical theater performances are on the program between February and June. We will also present two world premieres.
Among the operas, the stars are Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, directed and choreographed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, which we hope to finally be able to present this season after a year’s delay.
In Dido and Aenas Remembered, Hungarian director David Marton infuses Henri Purcell’s score with the contemporary music of Kalle Kalima, bridging the gap between the 17th and 21st centuries. With Dido and Aeneas Remembered, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen continues its collaboration with B’Rock Orchestra.
We will present the romantic hit Werther by Jules Massenet in concert version with a fabulous ensemble supporting Enea Scala – who has already appeared in productions such as La Juive and Le Duc d’Albe – in the role of Werther, and the Tunisian mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb as Charlotte. After her success with Rusalka, the young Lithuanian maestro Giedr?- Šlekyt?- will be the musical director.
Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss will also be presented in a concert version with Argentinian soprano Carla Filipcic-Holm as Ariadne and Swedish tenor Michael Weinius as Bacchus. We also find artists who have already made a name for themselves in our house such as Vuvu Mpofu as Zerbinetta, Raehann Bryce-Davis as Der Komponist and Craig Colclough as der Musiklehrer.
In 2018, composer Annelies van Parys and librettist Gaea Schoeters premiered the chamber opera Usher, based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. The tale, in which an illness causes claustrophobic fear, seems to have been prophetic for our current times and we are happy to finally be able to present this production at the Ghent Opera.
The new All Arias festival will succeed Opera21. Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, deSingel, Concertgebouw Brugge, Muziektheater Transparant, Muziekcentrum De Bijloke Ghent and LOD Muziektheater will present a varied and stimulating program filled with contemporary musical theater and projects from April 16 to May 2.
The festival will kick off with the world premiere of Woman at Point Zero, a co-production with LOD Muziektheater. Based on the novel of the same name by Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero tells the story of a woman awaiting execution on death row in Cairo. Composer Bushra El-Turk, director Laila Soliman, writer Stacy Hardy and filmmaker Aida Elkashef deliver a captivating multimedia production.
The music of Bushra El-Turk is also presented in the symphonic concert Transcen(dance) with music by Claude Debussy, Bela Bartok, Manuel De Falla and Wim Henderickx.
Another world premiere will be Palmos by choreographer Andonis Foniadakis. In 2018, his According to Desire was featured on our show and quickly became an audience favorite thanks to its impressive group dynamics and energy. Today, he creates an integral performance for our dancers that does not shy away from the themes that currently preoccupy the world.
With Mea Culpa, we revisit one of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s recent masterpieces. In Mea Culpa, he questions a shared feeling of guilt that is transmitted from generation to generation and that still persists today. Inequality, discrimination, colonization and slavery are explored from the perspective of both the aggressor and the victim. This moving and often heartbreaking performance will leave no one indifferent.
We end the season with Brahms’ Third Symphony and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. Both concerts will be conducted by musical director Alejo Pérez.
But there is more…
We also have a number of special projects in store. The musical theater show Sing Out! tells the story of the human voice. We will present the success DEDAPONTETRILOGIE in its entirety, directed by Tom Goossens, in a single marathon performance. We will welcome Tutti Fratelli and the International Opera Academy as well as participate in the urban project Uit volle borst (In full voice).
Our acclaimed podcast series De Stemmen (The Voices) will continue to warm your ears in 2021 with memorable stories.
In addition, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen is a partner of the new cultural channel Podium-19, but a separate press conference on this will take place on January 13.
We sincerely hope that we can achieve all these plans and that in June we can look back on a busy, tired but satisfied spring program. We look forward to sharing it with you.
You can book broadcasts via the website www.operaballet.be. After payment you will receive a confirmation email and half an hour before the start of the performance you will receive a link.
Ticket sales for the live shows are not yet open and will be once we are sure we can open our doors. Season tickets will be sold this season.