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The Holland Festival 2013 opens with a tale of love, intrigue, heartbreak and torment. Based on Heiner Müller’s stage version of Les Liaisons dangereuses, composer Luca Francesconi wrote an opera which had its world premiere in 2011 at Milan’s La Scala Theatre with a spectacular staging by Àlex Ollé. On a stage that symbolises their emotional prison, Valmont and Merteuil fight their bitter, violent battles, a vocal duel interspersed with orchestral dreams of what could have been, but never will be. After all, the two former lovers not only play a deadly game with the hearts of others, with their cynical machinations they ultimately also condemn their own chances of happiness to failure.