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Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival Presents “Sea & You” in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Submitted by on 04/07/2012 – 10:11

By Rupert Parker

From 7-15 September, Rotterdam’s Gergiev Festival explores the intensely personal relation between man and the sea using opera, classical concerts and musical happenings.

Rotterdam is the 2nd largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. It’s therefore fitting that the theme of this year’s festival, with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, conducted by Valery Gergiev, has a maritime concept. “The Sea & You reveals the sea as the mirror of the human soul”, says festival manager Hans Waege.  “A dive into the inner self, a discovery of the deep waters of the soul, and a song of praise to the inspiration and the vital powers the sea fills us with.”

The Festival will present a broad programme of opera, symphony music, happenings and musical gems, featuring world famous artists such as the Choir of King’s College, Lise dela Salle, Christianne Stotijn, Aleksandrs Antonenko and the Artemis Quartet.


On Sunday 9 September, Valery Gergievwill conduct a one-off concert of Verdi’s Otello, starring world class tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role, together with soloists, choir and orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre.

Symphony Concerts

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra will stage 5 symphony concerts of seaworthy music, conducted by Valery Gergiev and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Yannick will also conclude the festival with a programme entitled “The Magnificent Night of the Sea”, offering an impressive nautical repertoire from Sibelius to Debussy.

Pearls & Gems

  • Dvořák’s classic New World Symphony will be paired with Bryar’s Sinking of the Titanic.
  • In a unique combined directorship, the Festival and Ro Theater will stage a moving music theatre production based on Drums in the Night by Bertold Brecht.
  • Young piano phenomenon Lise dela Sallewill give recital in which she lets Saint François de Paule walk on water and sing about a sea of love.
  • Alexander Balanescu and Ada Milea are washed ashore on a desert island in a mini‑opera of unbridled fantasy.
  • The Choir of King’s College will give a concert based on the theme Sea & You.
  • Scottish folk group The Whistlebinkies will play the obscure composition Scottish Circus by John Cage which will be paired with a whisky tasting.

Children’s Programme Little G (ages 4–9)

Programme item Little G will enable children to map their own musical path.  They can take a walk along the beach together with cellist Claire Goldfarb and juggler Pierre-Nicolas Bourcier, enjoying the splashing sounds of Handel’s Water Music, or transform themselves into a living instrument. There’s also a workshop led by composer Thomas Smetryns where they will create a brand new composition. Their instruments can all be found on the beach: water, buckets, watering cans, shells, wind chimes and sand.


  • On the night of 7 September, the Festival will present a composition for four hot-air balloons, ensemble and live electronics at the Schouwburgplein.
  • C the City is a series of free musical events staged in various locations on Saturday afternoon, 8 September, with performances by Gabriel Rivano, The Spiral Consort and many others.

Useful links:

Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival “The Sea and You”
Rotterdam Tourist Board has further info about hotels etc.
Tourism Holland
Train fares from London to Rotterdam start at £123 standard class return per person. Call 0844 848 4070 or visit the Rail Europe Travel Centre at 193 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EU.

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