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24 Productions Announced For The First Half of 2021 at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen

They will start the new year online and as soon as permitted, they will once again receive audiences live in the theatres.

24 Productions Announced For The First Half of 2021 at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen is embarking upon 2021 with no fewer than 24 titles. This January and February, you can look forward to a new production or surprise from Opera Ballet Vlaanderen almost every week. They will start the new year online and as soon as permitted, they will once again receive audiences live in the theatres.

Looking ahead in these times is bound to be a risky venture, of course. The COVID-19 situation continues to be a roller-coaster of rising and falling curves, restrictions and hopes that they can be loosened. So, we cannot guarantee that the plans we are presenting today will in fact all become reality. But it also seems important to us to make our plans known and to show that we are there for our audience, both online and live, once we can welcome everyone back.

We would have liked to present these plans in the autumn of 2020. A season brochure for 2021 was all ready to go to press when the second lockdown was announced, which of course had an impact on some of the scheduled titles. We have decided to nevertheless release this season brochure, with an accompanying letter about the adjustments, to our public. Again as a signal that we are not abandoning them.

Because of the second lockdown, we have had to adjust the start of the new year. The adaptation of Tristan und Isolde by Annelies van Parys will be cancelled. A brand-new stage production of Tristan und Isolde will scheduled in a later season.

We will stream Memento Mori, but not in a double bill 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 in Antwerp. We hope to be able to present these two productions later in the season.

Fortunately, we were able to preserve the rest of our plans and even supplement them with new productions. This means that, in the spring of 2021, we will be able to offer no fewer 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 again starting from page 39 in the brochure and the performance Sing Out.

In recent months, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen has presented a series of video performances under the title Imagination is Alive and on December 18, we live-streamed a performance for the first time: Choreolab. That was an experiment and a learning experience with a New Medium.

The success of the Choreolab live-stream and the many positive reactions from the audience, who were very happy to have dance broadcast remotely into their living rooms, forms a solid basis for us to continue to develop the streaming experience.

We will therefore be streaming our first three productions in January and early February. We will ask a small access fee of maximum 10 euros for these, as we intentionally want to keep the threshold low.

Just like with a regular performance, people can reserve in advance and will be sent a link at the appropriate time.

The first concert that we will stream 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 deliver a passionate start to the New Year.

We will also celebrate that New Year with the concert Finally 2021! It will be the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 that our full Chorus and Symphony Orchestra will play together again under the musical direction of our artistic director of music Alejo Pérez. The programme is still being compiled as of publication, but Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Berlioz and Wagner are sure to be on the guest-list of this festive reunion.

The impressive Memento Mori by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will also be streamed live.

Troostparade, directed by Lukas Dhont and Dounia Mahammed, could not take place this autumn, but Lukas Dhont and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui made the short film Our Nature based on the choreography that Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui created for Troostparade, which we will be presenting.

When we are able to reopen our theaters we will follow the programme as indicated in the brochure. But of course, all this is subject to change.

Five major operas, two dance performances, three concerts and five musical theatre performances are on the programme between February and June. We will also present two world premieres.

Among the operas, the eye-catchers 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, the Hungarian director David Marton infuses Henri Purcell's score with the contemporary music of Kalle Kalima, bridging the gap between the 17th and the 21st centuries. With Dido and Aeneas Remembered, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen is continuing its collaboration with B'Rock Orchestra.

We will present Jules Massenet's romantic hit Werther in a concert version with a fabulous ensemble supporting Enea Scala - who previously appeared in productions such as La Juive and Le Duc d'Albe - as Werther, and the Tunisian mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb as Charlotte. Following her success with Rusalka, the young Lithuanian maestro Giedr?- Šlekyt?- will be the musical director.

Also Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos will be presented in a concert version featuring the Argentine soprano Carla Filipcic-Holm as Ariadne and the Swedish tenor Michael Weinius as Bacchus. We also reunite with some artists that have already made their name 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 created the chamber opera Usher, based on The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. The tale, in which a disease causes a claustrophobic fear, seems to have been prophetic for our current era and we are happy to be able to finally present this production in Opera Ghent.

The new All Arias festival will be the successor to Opera21. Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, deSingel, Concertgebouw Brugge, Muziektheater Transparant, Muziekcentrum De Bijloke Ghent and LOD Muziektheater will present a varied and challenging programme full of contemporary music theatre and projects from April 16 to May 2.

The festival will be kicked 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 provide a gripping multimedia production.

Bushra El-Turk's music is also featured in the symphonic concert Transcen(dance) along 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 Selon désir was featured on our programme, and quickly became an audience favourite thanks to his impressive group dynamics and energy. Now, he is creating a full-length performance for our dancers that doesn't shy away from the themes that are currently preoccupying the world.

With Mea Culpa, we revisit one of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's recent masterpieces. In Mea Culpa, he examines a shared feeling of guilt that is passed on from one generation to the next and is still being felt to this day. Inequality, discrimination, colonization and slavery are explored from the perspective of both perpetrator and victim. This moving and often harrowing performance will leave no one unmoved.

We round off the season with Brahms' Third Symphony and Mahler's Fourth Symphony. Both concerts will be conducted by musical director Alejo Pérez.

But there's more...

We also have a number of special projects in store. The music theatre performance Sing Out! tells the history of the human voice. We will present the successful DEDAPONTETRILOGIE in its entirety, directed by Tom Goossens, in a single marathon performance. We will host Tutti Fratelli and the International Opera Academy as well as taking part 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 in the new culture channel Podium-19, but a separate press conference about this will be held on January 13th.

We sincerely hope that we will be able to realise all these plans and that, in June, we can look back on a well-filled spring programme, tired but satisfied. We can't wait to share it with you.

You can make reservations for the streamings via the website www.operaballet.be. After payment you will receive a confirmation email and, half an hour before the performance starts, you will receive a link.

Ticketsales for the live performances are not yet open and will be once we know for sure we can open our doors. Season tickets will be sold this season.


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