For the last few years our motto has been: beyond baroque. In the 2016–2017 season, in dialogue with an increasingly extensive and international audience, we shall again be continuing to define our role and significance as a baroque orchestra in the here and now.
At the present time we are faced with political, social and cultural tensions that we have not experienced for decades. Our thoughts and feelings on European cultural identity, on what we have in common and what divides us, and on our shared future, are put into sharp focus. The cracks and contrasts are becoming ever larger. Music and art are able to reconcile and unite. They enrich us with special insights and stimulate our critical thought. A great deal has already been written about the healing power of music, and we remain absolutely convinced it is true. So it is no surprise that several of our productions are once again linked to such current topics as multiculturalism, religion, environment, despair, exile and uncertainty.
From The Creation, in which Haydn's Die Schöpfung is set against an impressive video installation by Julian Rosefeldt, through Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and Gluck's Alceste, to And You Must Suffer, in which Bach's St John Passion is combined with the Arabic poetry of Etel Adnan. I SAY TO YOU is a new series of alternative New Year concerts we are starting with NTGent, in which music and the spoken word enter into an inspiring dialogue. The main guest this first time is Dyab Abou Jahjah, an enfant terrible in the social debate, but also a human rights activist, columnist, a former leading light in the Arab- European League, and the founder of Movement X. In his talk he draws up a present-day balance of topics such as barbarism and the ideals of the French Revolution.
The Baroque of course remains our first love, but are our instruments suited only to early music? Not in the B'Rock world, where past and present sometimes sample each other with curiosity and sometimes embrace each other like old friends.
The 2016-2017 season reads like a perfect rendering of our mission: sparkling, fully-committed concerts, keen and bold choices from the repertoire, lively music theatre, opera and a variety of in-between forms. In this regard we like to be inspired and enthused by leading soloists, conductors, directors, artists and thinkers. Such familiar artists as René Jacobs, Peter Dijkstra, Andreas Spering, Pierre Audi, Johan Simons, Wouter Van Looy and Muziektheater Transparant will be joining us again, but we also have some new and refreshing partners including Lionel Meunier, Vox Luminis, ChorWerk Ruhr and the Musica Aeterna chorus from Perm in Russia.
Music that is newly composed but suited to our historical instruments plays an increasing part in our work. We are certainly looking forward to the production entitled Baroque 360°, in which we shall be giving the first performances of three new solo concertos for baroque ensemble plus a single, special solo instrument: the Japanese sho, live electronics and the human voice.
Lastly, we are proud to announce a new, structural partnership with NTGent, and two long-term residencies at deSingel and the Opéra de Rouen. We thank our partners and you, our fine and generous audience. We hope to be able to welcome you once again to our new season.