Cultural Compass: Greek tragedies, fashion photography, violin competition and more

Exhibitions, music, architecture, books, festivals… this is Belga English's pick of cultural activities in Flanders and Brussels, published every Sunday.

Performers from NTGent paraded through the streets on 1 May to commence their eight-week run of the All Greeks Festival. Paying homage to the original format of ancient Greek theatre, the organisation will present 32 reimagined Greek tragedies outdoors and often at sunrise. Those curious to witness the rituals and performances are welcome to come and go as they please to the free open-air spectacles.

The retellings of classic Greek myths such as Medea, Antigone, Elektra and more will be interwoven with contemporary experiences and input from residents in Ghent in collaboration with artists and institutions such as resident artist Milo Rau, Tiago Rodrigues, Olympique Dramatique and Toneelhuis, among others. Interested parties have 32 sunrises to catch the varied interpretations of classics until 23 June.

MoMu, the Fashion Museum of Antwerp, is hosting an exhibition centred on the Belgian photographer Willy Vanderperre, whose editorial work regularly appears in magazines such as Vogue. His striking oeuvre includes photographs from campaigns used by Dior and Prada among others.

Vanderperre’s style has been consistently informed by the themes of youth and subcultures, which have been ever-present over his three-decade career. “They are the future,” he says about youth. “How you express yourself, what you do, it all has its origins in your teenage years.” The exhibition showcases his photographs and a separate video installation provides a compilation of ​ his commercial work. Willy Vanderperre: Prints, Film a Rave and More runs until 8 August.


Starting Monday, Belgium’s highly anticipated annual Queen Elisabeth Competition will begin with this year’s focus on violin. until 11 May, Brussels will host 70 selected international violinists of the 290 who applied in the first public round at Studio 4, Flagey. For the next month, judges’ scores will whittle the competitors down until 12 finalists remain, each hoping to take home the monetary prizes and titles.

The competition was established in 1937 by Eugène Ysaÿe and Belgium’s Queen Elisabeth as a platform for young violinists, pianists, singers and cellists to launch their careers. The tradition of royal patronage continued with support from Queen Fabiola and now the current queen, Mathilde, who attends the performances each night. Tickets to each round and the final concerts are available but often sell out quickly.


On Friday, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts kicks off in Brussels. The international performing arts festival offers three weeks of theatre, film, dance, discussions and more. The organisation focuses on several themes when curating the artist line-up, including working with contemporary established and up-and-coming artists who have a bold vision about today’s world. International artists are invited to bring different perspectives from their unique cultural standpoints. Around 30 venues around Brussels host the “nomadic” element of this festival, which includes using theatres, cultural centres, museums and public spaces for performances.

Since 1994, the festival has aimed to reflect the diversity of Brussels. In doing so, a Free School is offered every year amid the performances that is dedicated to sharing knowledge and artistic practices.

Additional cultural coverage from Belga this past week includes: Baloji, Human Rights League and UGent among winners of Flemish Ultima awards and Halle Gate in Brussels to be revamped into interactive museum

​​Ongoing events

The Turn of the Screw, La Monnaie
Knights of the Golden Fleece​
Afrika Film Festival ​
Jean-Michel Folon, A Journey in Brussels​​​​​
Jef Verheyen: Window on Infinity KMSKA​​
Paul Harbutt, Museum De Reede​
Rodin: A Modern Renaissance



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