Programme Flanders Festival International Ghent - Some Joy in dire times!

4 June 2009

Press Release – Some joy in dire times! (“Joy is not in things—it is in us”, Richard Wagner (translated from the original German)) Flanders Festival Ghent refuses to be bogged down by the crisis and instead opts for unbridled joy! After all, even in difficult times there needs to be room for the occasional smile, a warm feeling, and the odd unforgettable moment. With its main “La Gioia” theme, Flanders Festival Ghent returns to the very essence of music making: the cheerfulness and joy it brings. Humor and music will be combined in over 180 musical events both in Ghent and East-Flanders province. As you have come to expect from Flanders Festival Ghent, we have invited the best and finest. It is therefore with joy that we can already announce the following cheering highlights… Top-Notch Artists Perform Joyful Classics The Festival will kick off in grand style with world-star Yo-Yo Ma (13/04, 8:00pm, Vlaamse Opera, Ghent)! This Chinese-born American cello player is called a “musical omnivore” by some, an artist who has made it a habit to stray away from the beaten classical track. A former child prodigy, Yo-Yo Ma is nevertheless considered the best cellist of his time. Earlier this year, he and soul goddess Aretha Franklin played at Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. Thanks to Flanders Festival Ghent, you will have a chance to hear him play live at Vlaamse Opera on 13 September. Those familiar with the iTunes Store’s turnover also know that Janine Jansen (27/09, 5:00pm, Muziekcentrum De Bijloke, Ghent) is a tremendously popular artist. Her first project published on the internet was such a resounding success that she is now considered the ‘Queen of the download’. She plays a unique Barrere violin, a Stradivarius from 1727, and knows how to create unadulterated joy with it! Another go-to musical event will be the performance by the flamboyant Swedish soprano Anne Sofie von Otter (15/09, 8:00pm, Vlaamse Opera, Ghent). Together with Concerto Copenhagen, she will play only one live concert to promote her new “Back to Bach” CD. Bach, as you may know, is her all-time favourite. Add to that a good helping of music by Haendel and you will realise that this promises to be a memorable performance. And there is more Haendel to come… The opening concert will be captivating performance of the majestic “Messiah”, brought to you by the famous Balthasar-Neumann-Chor and the eponymous ensemble (14/09, 8:00pm, St. Bavo Cathedral). The Festival has chosen this work to celebrate the Haendel year in style. Hallelujah! The More Experiments, The Merrier In addition to household names on the music scene, Flanders Festival Ghent also devotes ample time to both up-and-coming artists and even experiments. For the second time in a row, the former Ghent court house will be stretched to its limits at the occasion of “FestivalMade®!” (26/09, 2:00pm, former court house, Koophandelsplein 23, Ghent). This is an interactive all-day event during which the Festival will send you on a musical exploration! The “From aria to beatbox” theme already hints at what lies in store: prepare to discover completely new aspects to the human voice… What does a human voice sound like under water? How musical are laughter, yelling and whispers? Some of the vocal artists we invited are young hungry talents, others well-known ensembles, but all of them look poised to amaze you. Brace yourselves! A Divine Concert A new project this year is called “The Garden of Eden” (17, 18, 19/09, 8:30pm, Handelsbeurs concert hall, Ghent). The Festival will use delicious wine and superb music to show you what “joie de vivre” is all about. Jelle Dierickx, a doctor in musicology, and the 22-year-wine waitress of the year (GaultMillau) Hilde Jonckheere will introduce you to a unique combination of wine and music tasting. Discover how wine and music combine to an irresistible potion and treat both your ears and your palate to the very finest! ((Festivalcafé?)) Joy In Prison Another unique project, “Singing Behind Bars”, is staged by inmates of De Nieuwe Wandeling prison in Ghent. Inmates are more than the crimes they have been sentenced for. Serving time in prison is certainly not what most people would consider fun. Music and theatre, by contrast, can bring you joy. In March 2009, Tom Dupont and Quilid Ben Chikha were asked by Victoria Deluxe and Flanders Festival to launch a workshop about “dreams” and “needs” behind closed doors. Considered a universal language, music will be used as a liberating force that can bring people from the most diverse backgrounds closer to one another. (A project by Flanders Festival Ghent, CAW Artevelde, De Nieuwe Wandeling prison, Victoria Deluxe & De Rode Antraciet (27/09, 2:30pm & 7:00pm, De Nieuwe Wandeling Gent prison). Guerilla Joy Several auditoriums of Ghent University, Hogeschool Gent and Arteveldehogeschool have been warned of likely friendly guerilla actions… It’s called “uFo!” (Unidentified Festival Object) and it promises to be out of the ordinary (30/09, various venues)! The Festival will take advantage of the usual fifteen-minute breaks to transform selected auditoriums into concert venues. Now there’s a playful way to usher in the new academic year… With the new concept (the sequel to “HouseMusic”), Flanders Festival International Ghent hopes to warm more students to classical music. So Young And So Cheerful… Each year, we come up with new fascinating projects for the young Festival generation. Our “Youngster Happening” presents classical music in a format tailored to 17- and 18-year olds All attendants are asked to follow a track in Ghent’s city centre, along which they are treated to about three short concerts. Presented for the fifth time, this project has become a favourite outing for secondary schools. And for the tiny ones, there will be a special treat during “OdeGand”, a.k.a. our grand opening celebration (12/09, 1:00pm, Ghent city centre). Plus, we will be staging a special opera performance for children based on an opera Mozart wrote at the age of twelve. It tells the story of Bastien & Bastienne (13/09, 11:00am & 2:00pm, Arca), two fair stand holders who are in love with each other but never dare to tell each other. Luckily, the magician-soothsayer Colas decides to dissolve their doubt. This opera has the delicious taste of cotton candy! Finally, the mature youngsters of Young@Heart will be there to prove that what really counts is not your age but how young you feel (23-24-25/09, 8:00pm, Kunstencentrum Vooruit, Ghent). This chorus, whose members are 80 on average, never fails to stun both youngsters and the young at heart with the lust for life they display on stage. They have made it a habit to cover songs by the likes of Sonic Youth and The Clash, while elderly ladies shake their booties to Outkast and James Brown. Flanders Festival Ghent has done its utmost to allow you to see and hear the biggest stars, top-notch orchestras and surprising artists with original and enchanting programmes between 12 September and 5 October! Just go ahead and laugh, roar, give a sigh of relief, smile… you name it—the Festival has something for everyone! Tickets: Uitbureau Gent, Kammerstraat 19, 9000 Ghent, or simply call 0032 70 77 00 00.