Minister van Engelshoven was please to announce that, “The festival is alive in the Netherlands and far beyond our borders”

In a sold-out Grote Zaal in TivoliVredenburg, culture minister Van Engelshoven has just officially closed the 38th edition of the Utrecht Early Music Festival. The minister praised the largest early music festival in the world for its artistic strength as one of the most important performing arts institutions in our country. “The Utrecht Early Music Festival lives in the hearts of the public, in the Netherlands and far beyond our borders. It is a festival for everyone that is heard throughout Utrecht. For example, pop-up opera performances in the surrounding neighbourhoods demonstrate that the festival also knows how to reach and retain a new audience.”

The Utrecht Early Music Festival organized 228 concerts, lectures, debates and live streams from 23 August to 1 September around the theme Napoli – music’s forgotten capital. With an increase of 5%, the number of individual tickets sold rose. Due to a lower seating capacity for the free events, the total number of visitors remained at last year’s record level of more than 70,000 visitors.

Festival director Xavier Vandamme: “The Utrecht Early Music Festival increasingly wants to showcase its social involvement. The 98 concerts in the main program, with rediscovered music from Naples, are meant to interact with lectures and debates that have a distinct cultural-historical and political bias. In the series Storie napoletane we gave a platform to the concerns of today’s Neapolitans, such as the actress Cristina Donadio, known from the Netflix series Gomorra. Moreover, thanks to partnerships with socially engaged organizations like De Tussenvoorziening, Stichting Present and the ArmoedeCoalitie, the festival is also becoming increasingly accessible to a wide and diverse audience.”

Highlights of this festival were the residencies of Marco Mencoboni (Cantar Lontano) and Giulio Prandi (Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri). Co-curator Thomas Höft presented the intermezzo Il Ciarlatano five time to sell-out crowds, and he also took the production to various neighbourhoods in the city as a pop-up opera. Christina Pluhar gave two sold-out concerts in the Symphony Hall of TivoliVredenburg. Marco Mencoboni was a guest in the ‘Pieces of Tomorrow’ series, where he gave the rock and pop audience of TivoliVredenburg an introduction to early music. In the Italian media this festival edition has been praised as a milestone: the largest and most innovative event ever devoted to early music from Naples.

The Early Music Festival 2020 runs from 28th August to 6th September with the theme Ars Rhetorica – Let’s talk. Co-curator is Prof. Dr. Frits van Oostrom, Distinguished University Professor of Medieval Studies at Utrecht University.     1st September 2019