Sunday 14th May 11:00 - 17:00
Festival Day - The Spanish Court (Het Spaansche Hof)


11:00 - 12:30h | The Spanish Court: Ballroom
Prize winners' concert

Chamber opera 'The Border'
Great Chamber music Prize 2017

The festival presents itself since years as the breeding ground for excellent talented young persons who are offered the opportunity to perform on stage as well as the experience to play together with established professionals. Since 2017 the Royal Conservatory has been a cooperative partner in developing talent.

On the 28th March 2017 after the final in the Jurriaanse Hall of the Doelen in Rotterdam the annual Great Chamber Music Prize is presented to the most promising classical ensemble. This competition is realized through cooperation between Codarts Rotterdam and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. After the final, artistic leader Eva Stegeman, together with a jury, selects which of the finalists My present themselves during the festival in the Ballroom of the Spanish Court. The ensemble and their program can be found on the website as from the 29th of March.

After the interval the scene changes. It is 1918: the Great War is coming to an end and Emperor Wilhelm II appears at the border to ask asylum in the neutral Netherlands. The Dutch government is not yet aware of this, and whilst waiting for a decision, the Emperor (mezzosoprano Eva Kroon) is held for a day in the station in Eijsden. He gets talking to the station master (soprano Ginette Puylaert), a man who is his total opposite in origin and character. Conversation between the two gentlemen becomes steadily more heated, but there is one thing they have in common:  total powerlessness over the situation in which they find themselves. 

A historical event with a present-day significance presented in a compact chamber opera: The Border is a short performance lasting 30 minutes that brings the music close to the public, not least through unique film images from 1918.

The singers Eva Kroon and Ginette Puylaert are on the verge of breaking through in the opera world. The music is played (and acted) by the violinist from The Hague Pieter van Loenen (winner of the public award The Dutch Violin Competition 2016) and the innovative Collective But What About (winner of the Great Chamber Music Prize 2016) that consists of clarinet, accordion, double bass and percussion. The music is written by Peter de Graaff, who as one of the youngest composers signed a contract with publishers Donemus immediately after he graduated from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. The libretto is by Yuri Robbers and the director is Saskia Bonarius.

14:00 - 15:00 - The Road

'Again a station. I see signs 'Amsterdam'!'

In 'The Road' Ekaterina tells the story of the journey that she made as a teenager with her family, an escape from the former Soviet-Union. From Uzbekistan, The Road leads them from border to border, from country to country. In a sober scene, consisting of a map and a suitcase, Ekaterina narrates, plays and sings about her trials and setbacks during this long journey. How friendships appear to be different from what they first seemed to be. How oneís  ancestry suddenly becomes important and how it  influences daily life. She tells about alienation of what is familiar, of herself, but also about a road of resilience and hope. A gripping narrative concert, personal and recognizable, illustrated with beautiful music. 

'I am so nothing on this earth'

From an article for the website of UAF (Foundation for Refugee Students):
In a time of ideals of freedom, of glasnost and perestroika, Ekaterina saw Uzbekistan slowly falling apart. As a Jewish girl of sixteen she was treated differently in her school class, kept out of the long queues for the shops and being abused by cashiers. One day her father decided that enough is enough, the feeling of exclusion, contempt and humiliation.íëHaving lost your roots, wanting to belong somewhere, to grow up to finally and come home again: these are the themes that Ekaterina Levental depicts in an unusual way in her performance The Road. She narrates, sings and accompanies herself on the harp. The uncertain, uprooted teenager quickly grew up as asylum seeker in the Netherlands and worked very hard to make her dream of a grand and compelling life come true. By now she is a famous harpist and opera singer who affects people around the world.

Ekaterina Levental > text and performance (harp, play, vocals)
Chris Koolmees > direction and design

16:00 - 17:00h - Final Concert: If I didn't have love...

A program about love, no, may be the other way round: imagine you didnít have love? Is love infinite and ideally borderless, or, on the contrary, are borders important in the domain of love? What does love mean to you, to your beloved, to your environment? The music is about all of this, music that sometimes seemingly heartlessly enters, without warning. A program in which cultures mingle and in which tradition has a different sound.      

André Heuvelman > trumpet | Wilmar de Visser > double bass | Mike Fentross > chitarrone | Santiago Cimadevilla > bandoneon | Eva Stegeman > violin