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CARMEN: VERY NEW AND HISTORICAL!

I'd like to dedicate a few lines to an exciting Carmen production I conducted last December. At the initiative of Director Hans van den Boomen, we produced a multidisciplinary version of the opera, whereby both opera and theater were combined.

The result was a combination of theater scenes alternated with the music of the opera, glued together to one organic unity. This version came probably a lot closer to the original version of Bizet's Opera Comique, when dialogues were always spoken, very different from the opera performances we are used to nowadays. The real novelty in our production was the fact the main characters (Carmen/Don Jose/Michaela) were doubled by an actor and a singer who performed their own roles simultaneously. This not only gave a very interesting perspective of the story, but it also enabled the specialists to excel in their own discipline of music or theatre.

The aim of this family-production was to bring Opera closer to a younger audience. I am pretty sure that we succeeded, since all performances were sold out and the children (from age 9 on) really seemed to enjoy it. I am convinced that it is worthwhile to explore the possibilities of this 'genre' in future projects, since this could well be the classical alternative to the nowadays very popular musical! Maybe this is one way to connect classical music a bit more with today's society?


WITH THE ASKO/SCHONBERG ENSEMBLE AT KRAKOW'S FESTIVAL




THE FUTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC

With great pleasure I announce the launch of a web-forum discussion concerning the future of classical music: www.future-of-classicalmusic.com.
I strongly believe there is a need for some changes in the classical music scene, and the aim of the forum is to bring together the know-how and ideas of the many relevant participants: creators and performers of music as well as the audience. These will identify the steps to be taken. Please join the discussion and contribute your ideas!
I am committed to help realise what is necessary to give future to classical music!



CD RECORDING WITH KEES VAN KOOTEN AND THE N.N.O.

In the TV programme Pauw&Witteman and on NL-Radio4, Dutch author and comedian Kees van Kooten already announced the release of the CD "de Dag-en Nachtegaal" (the Day- and Nightingale), a composition of Dutch composer Theo Loevendie, with Kees van Kooten as storyteller, the North Netherlands Orchestra and with me as conductor. Kees van Kooten wrote a new, lively text to the music which Loevendie wrote in 1974. This composition, based on The Chinese Nightingale, the lovely fairytale of Hans Christian Andersen, has been performed worldwide with great success.
It has been a real pleasure to help produce this attractive new version, with the fruitful cooperation between van Kooten and Loevendie. Editor is the Bezige Bij, "Luisterboek" with CD, DVD and a karaoke option. ISBN: 978 90 234 3698 0. The CD will also be issued in other languages!



NEW ROLE AT CODARTS

As from June 2008, I have been appointed Chairman of the newly established Artistic Board of CODARTS (the Rotterdam Conservatory). The Artistic Board was created to develop and coordinate the overall artistic policy of the conservatory, covering its six Academies (Classical music, Jazz music, Pop music, World music, Music theater and Music education). This role is very interesting because I am convinced that once the Academies work well together they will all experience surplus value, and very interesting things will happen artistically. CODARTS will then be (even more) a breeding place for trendsetting musicians.

HAVE A LOOK AT YOUTUBE AND SEE ME IN ACTION!



 

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in the Concertgebouw with Shostakovich

     
 

The Brabants Orchestra with Beethoven

     
 

The Codarts Orchestra at Liberation Day concert 2008, at the podium on the Amstel

     
  Hans Leenders tells about conducting.


You can also have a look at the following samples.