Klarafestival: Five freeing festival essentials

© Tim Kloecker

This year's theme "Libera Me" from Faust makes for a Mephistophelic festival. Here are our five highlights.

String Quartet Marathon

Fan of the string quartet? Then you’re in luck. The Klarafestival is giving you four of them in just two days. The Artemis Quartett celebrates its 30th birthday by kicking off the marathon with works by Barber, Britten, and Schubert. Then the Ragazze Quartet gives you the chills with Crumb’s Black Angels, and the Vision String Quartet performs Ravel and Schumann standing up. To finish the fourfold fiesta two quartets join forces to play Mendelssohn’s octet.

18 & 19/3, Flagey

Homo Deus Frankenstein

1653 Homo Deus Frankenstein
© Kenneth Michiels

Fear not if your kids were still a little too young to drag along to the new opera at De Munt/La Monnaie. The Antwerp-based wind ensemble I SOLISTI teams up with Kopergietery, the creative venue for kids in Ghent. They’re bringing their version of Frankenstein as a musical theater for kids aged eight and up, while giving the classic Shelley story a twist for the digital age that makes this world première just as interesting for mom and dad.

23 & 24/3, Bronks

The Hermetic Organ

1653 KLARA John Zorn
© Scott Irvine

Each year, the Klarafestival tries to push the boundaries of what a classical music festival ought to be. This year they’re doing this by inviting jazz multi-instrumentalist John Zorn to Bozar. He gets to climb behind the legendary, recently renovated organ in the Henry Le Boeuf hall. No programme has been predefined, so that leaves us guessing where Zorn’s creative mind might take us. But wherever that may be, it’ll be an experience not to be missed.

23/3, 20.30, Bozar

The Rake's Progress

1653 Barbara Hannigan
© Musacchio Ianniello

The Grammy Award-winning Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan will not lend her voice tot Igor Stravinsky’s famous opera The Rake’s Progress. Instead she’ll be leading the Ludwig Orchestra and the Flemish Radio Choir through the Russian’s retelling of the Faust story. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that it is only a semi-staged version. For that will give you the possibility to focus even more on Hannigan’s conducting capabilities.

25 & 26/3, 20.00, De Munt/La Monnaie

Verdi's Messa da Requiem

1653 Teodor Currentzis
© Anton Zavjyalov

If you would have crossed Teodor Currentzis on the street a couple of years ago, you would’ve thought he played in a the Cure cover band. The Greek-Russian conductor has lost some of his new wave looks, but he still is the Robert Smith of the concert hall. No wonder he has picked the insanely dramatic Messa da Requiem by Verdi to close the festival. It promises to be a grandiose experience. If this doesn’t liberate you, nothing will.

28/3, 20.00, Bozar

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