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Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Announces Fall 2020 Programming and Leadership Changes

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Jan Vandenhouwe, who was artistic director opera, will from now on be artistic director of opera and ballet.

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Announces Fall 2020 Programming and Leadership Changes

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen has announced a reshuffle at the top of the company and presents an alternative fall program with intimate concerts and recitals. Flanders biggest cultural institution hopes to bring back opera and dance productions from january 2021.

Now that Jan Raes has been appointed ceo of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, further changes at the top are announced.

Jan Vandenhouwe, who was artistic director opera, will from now on be artistic director of opera and ballet. He will develop the artistic policy for the whole company.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui remains with the company as artistic director of ballet but will focus more on his role as an artist, choreographer and an inspiration. In the following years he will create three new works for the company. Opera Ballet Vlaanderen will also keep on cherishing his repertoire.

Alejo Pérez remains as musical director and Kiki Vervloessem, who until now was company manager, will be deputy ceo from henceforth. A new manager dance will be recruited to support the dance company and the artistic director.

From the start of the merger that ultimately formed Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, opera and dance have been in search of an identity, in a sense, as art forms. They embarked on that adventure together with their audience. The compelling positioning of the Ballet through the work of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui makes it possible for Opera Ballet Vlaanderen to position itself today as a diverse and hybrid arts institution. Since his appointment, Jan Vandenhouwe has emphasised this hybridity, without losing sight of the autonomy of these art forms with recent productions as Rusalka (directed by choreographer Alan Lucien Øyen) and planned productions such as C(H)OEURS 2020 by Alain Platel and Cosi fan tutte directed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaecker. In the coming years the artistic vision to combine opera and dance in hybrid productions will be pursued.

Alternative program fall 2020

Theatres in Belgium are carefully reopening again.

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen was one of the first companies to close down completely in march 2020 and has since then communicated it would not be producing large scale productions until the end of this year. The financial consequences of the lockdown period are still under review, but so far Opera Ballet Vlaanderen reports a loss in revenue of 3 million euro.

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, which won the coveted Company of the Year Award at last years International Opera Awards, will reopen its opera house in Antwerp on 24th of september with the concert Mozart De Luxe.

At this moment they can only welcome 200 audience members in their theatres. It is their intention to gradually enlarge that number to about 600 seats in Antwerp and 500 in Ghent. Of course the audience will have to observe the necessary safety measures such as social distancing and the wearing of mouth masks. Intermissions are not possible at the moment and their foyers will remain closed for the time being.

This fall the company will present an alternative live program with intimate concerts with music by W. A. Mozart, Leos Janáček, Arnold Schönberg and Franz Shubert and recitals featuring Belgian talents with whom the company already has a strong connection: Liesbeth Devos, Denzil Delaere, Tineke van Ingelgem and Lore Binon.

Their first concert Mozart de Luxe will be on 24th of september featuring Mozart's concert aria's performed by Chia-Fen Wu (soprano), accompanied by Kristie Su (violin) and Pedro Beriso (piano).

During the lockdown Opera Ballet Vlaanderen also developed a new platform that will be called Vonk.

Vonk (or Spark) is the beginning of something new. Vonk will be a space for experimenting with new talent and welcomes their super diverse society with an open mind. Vonk loves working with unusual partners or art forms and gives them the opportunity to explore the rich history of opera and ballet/dance and to take the art form in a new direction. Vonk will also operate in unexpected venues that sometimes need a moment of beauty. In the coming months performances in hospitals or a penitentiary institution are being planned.

But also challenging productions are in development. This fall for instance will see the premiere of A Revue by self proclaimed jester Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe. Billed as 'a retro futuristic cabaret' A Revue explores what will happen with the opera genre in 2000 years.

Theatre director Dounia Mahammed and filmmaker Lukas Dhont - who shot to worldwide recognition with his movie Girl - will create an open air performance: The parade of Consolation, which will be an actual parade. Inspired by the many artists who during their lockdown performed on their balconies, this parade wants to bring opera and dance to everyday life on the street. Musicians, dancers and singers will perform on a float that will parade through neighborhoods in the cities of Antwerp and Ghent. People will thus be able to experience opera and dance from the safety of their living rooms. The parade will be conducted by maestro Alejo Pérez and choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

Choreolab will be the first production to return. Choreolab offers the dancers of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen the opportunity to discover their talents as a choreographer. This year Choreolab will have its fifteenth edition.

During the past months Opera Ballet Vlaanderen launched several short dance and opera videos on its digital platforms under the banner #imaginationisalive. They will continue this series of video performances in the coming months.

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen has the intention to start performing opera and dance productions again from january 2021 depending on how the pandemic will develop. More information about program in 2021 will follow in the next months.

From now on it is onwards and upwards.

Visit their website for the full fall program.

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