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BAM’s Next Wave Festival Returns With an Ivo Van Hove Production

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The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s artistic director, David Binder, who’s programming the 13 shows for the Next Wave Festival, is mixing “incredible light” and darkness, he said.

It’s the primary in-person edition of the festival since 2019 and it would run from Sept. 28 to Dec. 22. The highlight will probably be the U.S. premiere of the stage adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s novel “A Little Life” (Oct. 20-29) — a coming-of-age tale about 4 young men that features depictions of self-harm, domestic violence, child abuse and suicide.

“There’s optimism and there’s things that talk to the difficult world all of us live in,” Binder said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “So I believe it relates to at least one piece of all of that mosaic.”

Ivo van Hove’s production of Yanagihara’s Kirkus Prize-winning novel, which is about to be presented in Dutch with English supertitles at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, runs just over 4 hours and contains a live video screen to point out close-ups of agonizing moments, like a personality burning his own arm — and pouring salt within the wound. (Yanagihara is the editor in chief of T: The Recent York Times Style Magazine.)

“It’s a rare production that challenges the audience,” said Binder, who saw the world premiere production in Amsterdam in 2018. “Very similar to the entire season.”

Regardless that it’s long, he said, “I guarantee you it holds you each moment.”

That is just the second Next Wave Festival that Binder, who began as BAM’s artistic director in 2018, has programmed, after the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the pandemic. He told The Recent York Times in 2019 that his focus for the primary event would “move it forward by adding in an entire recent slew of artists,” and that emphasis continues this 12 months, with 13 programs created in eight countries featuring dance, music and theater. Nine of the 13 artists and corporations are acting at BAM for the primary time.

“That was our tenet,” he said this week, “to cover a number of ground with plenty of international recent artists.”

Considered one of the returning artists is the German director Thomas Ostermeier, whose riotous production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” will come to BAM’s Harvey Theater stage this fall (Oct. 27-Nov. 5). In Ostermeier’s staging, Ophelia and Gertrude are played by the identical actor — as are lots of the other characters; the play features just six performers. (The Guardian called the production of it in Berlin, which mixed pop music and drag shows with duels, “kookily funny and coolly self-aware.”)

Next up on the Harvey will probably be the U.S. premiere of the Brazilian choreographer Lia Rodrigues’s carnivalesque dance piece “Encantado,” whose title refers to spirits of healing — the encantados — and which features 100 coloured blankets that transform the stage (Nov. 8-9). Meanwhile, on the Howard Gilman Opera House, one other dance piece, the Greek director-choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou’s dreamlike concoction “Transverse Orientation,” pairing experimental, painterly choreography with music by Vivaldi, may have its Recent York premiere, Nov. 7-11.

Then the fundamental stage shifts to opera with the U.S. premiere of Ong Keng Sen’s “Trojan Woman,” a queer Korean operatic tackle the Greek tragedy (Nov. 18-19). The production, performed in Korean with English subtitles, fuses the standard Korean musical storytelling type of pansori with K-pop music. (The “Parasite” composer Jung Jae-il composed the music in collaboration with the renowned Korean pansori master Ahn Sook-sun.)

Binder also programmed work from inside the US, including an orchestral hip-hop performance by the Los Angeles producer and rapper Flying Lotus, the composer and D.J. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Wordless Music Orchestra that’s being billed as a rendition of their Hollywood Bowl performance in Los Angeles this summer (Oct. 6-7).

The festival is about to wrap up with an immersive installation by the Brooklyn-based interactive-electronics artist Andrew Schneider, whose world premiere of “N O W I S W H E N W E A R E (the celebrities)” at BAM Fisher would be the closest a Recent Yorker will come to clear-sky stargazing (Nov. 29- Dec. 22). Visitors will enter a very dark space and be guided by an unseen voice as 5,000 programmed points of sunshine, which the artist has said are inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s “infinity” mirror room, reply to everyone individually.

The season also features the American premiere of the Belgian theater collective FC Bergman’s wordless production of “300 el x 50 el x 30 el” (Sept. 28-Oct. 1), which follows the inhabitants of a small village frightened of an impending disaster. (The title refers to the scale of Noah’s Ark.) The Argentine choreographer Constanza Macras will showcase “Open for All the pieces,” which sheds light on contemporary Romany people, on the Harvey (Oct. 5-8). The Grammy-winning violinist Jennifer Koh and the bass-baritone Davóne Tines’s staged musical work “All the pieces Rises,” which seeks to “replace abstract slogans and inert diversity statements with lived experience and direct engagement,” will probably be at BAM Fisher (Oct. 12-15).

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