Coral Biennial lives up to its new name

HAARLEM – “Our festival represents joy, connection, wonder, entertainment and innovation,” says artistic director Neil Wallace. “We program very diverse and multidisciplinary world-class shows. Until now we were called Coral Biennial, but that no longer covers it. Starting this year, we proudly carry our new name: The Big Sing.” With the full lineup to be announced in May, the festival is already revealing some big names making an appearance today: New York’s The Wooster Group, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Basil Twist and local pop genius Thomas Azier. Ticket sales for these functions have also started. The Big Sing will take place from Saturday, June 25 to Sunday, July 3, 2022 with performances at, among others, De Philharmonie, De Grote of St. Bavokerk and De Schuur in Haarlem and at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam.

After an absence of many years, The Wooster Group returns to the Netherlands. The legendary New York theater company presents The B-Side, which is a Dutch premiere. This new performance is inspired by a 1965 album released by Bruce Jackson of work songs recorded in Texas prisons, which inmates sang daily. They lived there in subhuman conditions. By singing all fourteen tracks of the B-side integrally and seamlessly with the album, the three singing actors put the audience in touch with contemporary discourse on diversity and (in)equality. The B-Side is a shocking and moving epic that makes the roots of slavery tangible. The Wooster Group has left its mark on the development of the contemporary Western scene for almost half a century and is one of the most prominent groups in the world. Watch the trailer.

Book of Mountains and Seas | Ars Nova Copenhagen l Toronto Percussion l Paul Hillier l Huang Ruo l Basil Twist

Book of Mountains and Seas is a new full-length work by Chinese American composer Huang Ruo (Composer in Residence at Het Concertgebouw in 2015) in a staging by the idiosyncratic American designer, performer and puppeteer Basil Twist. The theatrical piece is performed by two percussionists from Toronto Percussion, six performers and the twelve singers from the renowned Ars Nova Copenhagen conducted by Paul Hillier. This is also a Dutch premiere. The performance is inspired by The Classics of Mountains and Seas, a Chinese book from the 4th century BC. It is a collection of ancient creation myths, in which respect and wonder for nature are central. Huang Ruo and Basil Twist create their own myth and thus present their vision of the current climate crisis. His version of ancient history is not only about the creation of the world, but also its disappearance. Watch the trailer.

Superlatives in the US

Recently, Book of Mountains and Seas was performed six times to sold-out audiences in Brooklyn. The American press ran out of superlatives. New York Times: ‘high tension propulsive music… uncannily gripping’, Wall Street Journal: ‘An exquisite masterpiece of suggestion, an immersive tapestry of sound and image that weaves its way into your imagination’, Financial Times: ‘A riveting work of visual theatre’, Broadway World: ‘Keeped the audience in thrall for 80 minutes’.

Glossolalia | Thomas Azier Pop genius and stage animal Thomas Azier works on his new stage musical performance Glossolalia together with Finnish guitarist and producer Obi Blanche, drummer Simon Segers (De Beren Gieren) and a handpicked group of vocalists. Azier, who is one of the few Dutch pop composers and musicians to have made an international breakthrough and who recently appeared during the King’s Night Concert on television, gives his fascination with ensemble singing a lot of space in Glossolalia. He breaks the rules and shows off feathers. During the performance, the singer, the musicians and the audience move freely around the room. Watch the trailer.

The Big Sing – Choral Biennale Next level | Sat 25 June to Sun 3 July 2022

The Wooster Group | the b-side
Thu June 30, Fri July 1 and Sat July 2
The barn, Haarlem

Book of Mountains and Seas | Ars Nova Copenhagen – Toronto Percussion – Paul Hillier – Huang Ruo – Basil Twist
Sat 2nd and Sun 3rd of July
Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam

Glossolalia | Thomas Azzie
Thu June 30 (two performances)
Patronage, Haarlem
The full schedule will be announced in May.

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