The String Quartets Guide to Sex and Anxienty

Erwin Olaf - The String Quartets Guide to Sex and Anxienty

The theme of the 2018 Holland Festival is Border and Boundaries: national borders, the boundaries of individual behaviour and the boundaries between the audience and artist. British composer Sir George Benjamin is composer in focus at the 2018 Festival. A focus programme has been curated by Sir George in consultation with the festival to show the development of his work, from the first vocal composition to the latest large-scale opera.

Next to the focus on Sir George Benjamin there are also several other British artist that are performing at the Holland Festival. The programme includes the electronical music installation Longplayer by Jem Finer, the British Heat Quartet performs in The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety by the Spanish director Calixto Bieto, British Director Steve McQueen presents his video-installation End Credits, the British videogame company The Chinese Room and their composer Jessica Curry present their Dear Esther at the festival, a performance Tribute to Blackstar a concert in which they bring a tribute to the late David Bowie, as well as Roman Tragedies, Ivo van Hove’s revolutionary stage adaptation of three Shakespeare tragedies (Corionalus, Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra). 

Longplayer is a cyclical composition for singing bowls that lasts a thousand years. The piece started playing on 31 December 1999 at midnight, and – if all goes well – will complete its cycle on the last second of the year 2999. The work, conceived and composed by Jem Finer, can be heard as an electronic sound installation at listening posts in London and San Francisco, as well as via a live-stream and app. For this edition of the Holland Festival, Longplayer can be experienced in the tower of the Lloyd Hotel, with a magnificent 360 view of Amsterdam. One person may enter for half an hour. The meditative sound of the singing bowls never repeats. Longplayerbrings together ancient instruments and modern technology in a work that encourages you to contemplate time and life.

7 - 30 June 2018 – Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy
Tickets and more information on the Holland Festival website.  

End Credits
British visual artist Steve McQueen (also known for his feature films 12 Years a SlaveShame and Hunger) presents the latest version of End Credits for the first time in the Netherlands. This video installation is about Paul Robeson (1898-1976), a celebrated African-American singer and actor who became a great civil rights activist,  communist, and an outspoken opponent of social inequality. Beginning in the McCarthy era, the FBI assiduously compiled a file consisting of thousands of pages. McQueen's video presents a scrolling view of scanned pages of heavily censored, declassified documents as actors narrate selections from the text. End Creditsshows the perverse nature of political discrimination and persecution.

9 - 28 June 2018 – Loods6
Tickets and more information on the Holland Festival website.

The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety
What is the relationship between sex, fear and music? The Spanish director Calixto Bieito and the British Heath Quartet bring tragicomic musical theatre about melancholy and burnout. Two important philosophical works are Bieito’s sources of inspiration: The Burnout Society (2015) by the Korean-German philosopher Byung-Chul Han and The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), an essay by Robert Burton, one of the first to write about psychological disorders as a symptom of modern times. Four string players and four actors on stage reconstruct the melody of melancholy in a staging full of insanity, creativity and music. This show doesn’t have the cure, but you will feel better after seeing it.

13 and 14 June 2018 – Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam
Tickets and more information on the Holland Festival website.   

Roman Tragedies
Roman tragedies has been an unprecedented success since its world premiere at the Holland Festival in 2007. Ivo van Hove’s revolutionary stage adaptation of three Shakespeare tragedies (CoriolanusJulius Caesar and Anthony  & Cleopatra) returns to Amsterdam, and plays in the Royal Theatre Carré. This co-production by Toneelgroep Amsterdam and the Holland Festival is a thrilling multimedia show, in which the dark side of politics is exposed in all its ambiguity and drama. The audience mixes with the actors on stage and in the wings. It is possible to eat and drink on stage, and comment live on social media. This is your last chance to see this masterpiece.

15 - 21 June 2018 - Koninklijk Theater Carré
Tickets and more information on the Holland Festival website.   

Tribute to Blackstar
Tribute to Blackstar is a homage to David Bowie, the legendary pop star who died in 2016. Together with singers Anna Calvi, Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab) and Anja Plaschg (Soap&Skin) the musical collective stargaze will perform Bowie’s critically acclaimed final album Blackstar. Exciting new arrangements by composers, such as Aart Strootman, Jherek Bischoff, André de Ridder, and Josephine Stephenson, have been specially written to explore the emotional

depths of Bowie’s music. The composers work with the adventurous ensemble’s possibilities, resulting in completely new versions of songs like Lazarus, I Can’t Give Everything Away and Blackstar.

23 June 2018 – Koninklijk Concertgebouw
Tickets and more information on the Holland Festival website

Dear Esther
Dear Esther is being hailed as one of the most innovative computer games of the last ten years. The game is poetic, symbolic and understated, and explores themes such as love, loss and redemption. A walk through the beautiful deserted landscape of an uninhabited island in the Scottish Hebrides is mysteriously connected with a traumatic car accident and an existential crisis. Brought to the stage – both the game and the music are played live – the video game takes on new and unexpected musical theatre aspects. Jessica Curry’s cinematic music plays a big role in the dreamy, desolate atmosphere and makes the beautiful natural landscapes even more scintillating. Together with Oikospiel II: Heat CantataDear Esther is one of two works exploring live video games as music theatre.

24 June 2018 – Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ
Tickets and more information on the Holland Festival website.