400 artists, 150 performances, 30 locations
GHENT, 27 September - The 64th edition of Ghent Festival of Flanders is over. The twenty-day festival will not only be remembered as an ode to the waltz, but also as the first fully fledged outdoor and indoor Covid Safe festival in Belgium, where the audience could once again experience culture without worries on presentation of a certificate and identity card. The kick-off was given in a packed Sint-Baafskathedraal with the Wiener Philharmoniker, after 40 years finally back on Ghent soil, and ended festively with the award winning harpist Anneleen Lenaerts. The one and only Mozart's Violin gave Ghent an almost sacred moment and with the first edition of Whispering Leaves, Gent Festival managed to set up a varied and surprising city festival.
Veerle Simoens, Director of Ghent Festival of Flanders: "We can look back on a successful edition of Ghent Festival. After a long period in which possibilities were very limited, combined with organisational uncertainties, it was a revelation to revive the Festival and put it on the international map. We once again brought world class to Ghent, which made itself felt in the unparalleled enthusiasm of both audience and artists.
From classical grandeur...
Top violinist Janine Jansen and Amsterdam Sinfonietta convinced with a blistering Four Seasons by Vivaldi. Director of the Mozarteum and world tenor Rolando Villazòn gave no less than two dazzling performances during the Mozartwoche on Tour, while Ian Bostridge, with Schubert's Winterreise, showed vocal stamina that combined virtuosity and passion in an unprecedented way.
... to eclectic bravura
Ghent Festival did not only bring arias, symphonies and concertos: the first edition of the intimate city festival Whispering Leaves, which took place in hidden gardens and parks, also focused on jazz, singer-songwriters and experimental music. At OdeGand, too, the public could get to know a musical selection from all corners of the world, both during the day and in the evening. At KidsOdeGand, the little ones were treated to a cultural bath with a series of interactive performances, and the HORIZON project gave promising musicians the chance to play before a live audience again.
Cohen in new clothes
Take This Waltz, the poem by Lorca on which Leonard Cohen based his song, was the musical sauce with which the whole Festival was poured and surfaced in different guises. The composer-conductor Dirk Brossé, who has been honoured for his 40-year career, and Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen together with Daan and Lady Linn paid a special tribute to Leonard Cohen in front of a full Capitole. Cohen's famous song also inspired many artists to make their own arrangements and could be heard almost daily somewhere in the city.
Festival of East Flanders
The Festival of East Flanders will take place up until 11 December in several locations, with East Flanders cities and municipalities bringing the festival vibe to life on a regional basis. The concert programme can be found here.
Save the date : OdeGand 2022
The exact dates for Ghent Festival 2022 will be announced later, but the organisers are already announcing that the 20th OdeGand will take place on Saturday 17 September 2022. The current edition of OdeGand was still somewhat subdued; next year, the festival on Ghent's inland waterways promises to once again shine in utter exuberance and full glory.
Viktoria De Cubber
M +32 494 98 21 44