Glass & Stravinsky Firebird - Celebration 40th anniversary ONDRAF / NIRAS

Fri 02.12.22 20:00
€ 48 - 40 - 26 - 12

Gustav MahlerSymphony No. 10 in F-sharp major

Philip Glass, Hymn to the Sun from: Akhnaten (Belgian premiere)

Igor Stravinsky, The Firebird

Anders Hillborg, Liquid Marble (Belgian premiere)

Jean Sibelius, The Swan of Tuonela

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of NIRAS – the National Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials – the Belgian National Orchestra is creating a new performance in association with visual artist Eva L’Hoest, an expert in 3D design and computer graphics. Using her own imagery and four works from the twentieth-century classical music repertoire, she examines the challenges posed by existing nuclear waste for both current and future generations.

Unbridled faith in a single deity, that is what the pharaoh Akhnaten professes during the Hymn for the Sun in the eponymous opera by Philip Glass. Human inventiveness knows no limits, even if the consequences of some inventions are unforeseeable. On occasion, the possibilities of these electrified times rouse us to wild dances of hell, sometimes lull us to sleep like the firebird in Stravinsky’s impressive ballet.

With Liquid Marble by the Swedish composer Anders Hillborg, we dive straight into the reactor vessels of the nuclear power plants that put our society under high pressure. “Hillborg’s music is that of the nuclear age,” the Evening Standard once wrote, “Woodwinds gurgle cleanly up and down micro-scales like science-fiction robots becoming excited”. Sibelius’ symphonic poem The Swan of Tuonela transports us to another age where people no longer exist in their present form and nature has taken over again.


Antony Hermus, conductor
Gerben van der Werf, countertenor
Eva L’Hoest, video


Antony Hermus

Antony Hermus was recently appointed Chief Conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra, starting an initial four-year term in September 2022 with a Designate year.

Gerben van der Werf

The Dutch countertenor Gerben van der Werf (1994) made his operatic debut at the age of 12 as Erster Knabe in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.