Dutch National Opera Announces Opera Forward Festival

By Francisco Salazar

The Dutch National Opera has announced the fifth edition of the Opera Forward Festival,

The festival will take from March 18-21 and will be showcased on a custom-designed online festival venue. This year’s theme will be “Where do we go from here?” and the festival will present daily thematic programming, completely free of charge and with English subtitles, on operaforward.nl.

DNO director Sophie de Lint said, “I see OFF as the engine for the entire company. OFF is a trailblazer and motivates us to innovate, to pursue new avenues with new talent. For example, take a look at the alternative programming we offered last year. It clearly reflects the influence of OFF.”

The festival will begin on March 18 with an evening dedicated to the seven deadly sins. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, winner of the International Booker Prize 2020, will open the evening with a specially created poem reflecting on the power and importance of art.

That will be followed by “The Seven Deadly Sins” by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht performed by  Dutch star soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, actress Anna Drijver and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Erik Nielsen.

The evening concludes with Seven spoken word artists creating short performances revolving around the seven deadly sins. The artists include Suehaylee Vergouwen, Stryder, Lev Avitan, Danny Kuiper, Isis van Geffen, Manu Kersbergen, and Houda Bibouda.

On March 19, the festival will present six new short student operas, the physical performance HCoV-NL63 by Gregory Caers with students of the MBO Theaterschool Rotterdam, and the special OFFspring projects by participants of previous editions of the festival.

On March 20, the festival will present technological developments that are radically changing the way we live our lives. The festival will preview the new Van der Aa opera “Upload” and will feature musical performances, and stimulating discussions.

Finally, the festival will conclude on March 21 with an afternoon for all generations. There will be a pre-performance program especially for children, as well as important conversations for adults about the importance of art and music education in schools. The festival will also showcase “Een lied voor de maan – A Song for the Moon.”