Skip to content

Spirit of Trump haunts press presentation National Opera & Ballet

'Before we start the actual presentation, let me give you some facts & figures', says Els van der Plas, general director of National Opera & Ballet. 'No, not the 'alternative facts', she adds wittily. The spirit of the US president will be through the Stopera more often this afternoon.

Van der Plas recalls the successes that both companies were able to celebrate in the past season. She also stresses the importance of the various education projects, which will continue in the new season.

Thus, pupils from 25 schools in the Zaan region create their own version of Turandot by Puccini, to conclude their school year. 'Instead of the standardised musical,' says Van der Plas somewhat disdainfully.

'Van Manen is really very good'

Ted Brandsen, director of the Dutch National Ballet announces a grand celebration of the 85e birthday of choreographer Hans van Manen. 'He has worked for us so many times that his presence almost seems obvious,' he says. 'But I have recently seen his ballets in many foreign theatres and found that he is really very good.'

Hans van Manen

Van Manen will develop a new ballet on a collage of piano compositions, performed by a young talent yet to be announced. Highlight is Ode to the master, a programme featuring four gems from Van Manen's oeuvre. This will also tour extensively.

British choreographer David Dawson designed Tristan & Isolde, to specially composed music by Szymon Brzóska. The Junior Company's fifth anniversary will be celebrated with a tour and a festival weekend around young talent.


Pierre Audi, director of The National Opera, first praises a few more productions in the upcoming Opera Forward Festival. Such as the refugee crisis-inspired Fortress Europe by Calliope Tsoupaki and director Floris Visser. Equally topical is The New Prince by Mohammed Fairouz about a Trump-like figure, directed by Lotte de Beer.

Audi says it also still has the two next season programmed, although he is officially leaving in 2018. 'I would like to invite you as press...' - for a moment we expect a sneer along the lines of the red-headed American hothead - ' a farewell lunch.'

Proudly, Audi says it has finally succeeded after 20 years of pushing and pulling Les contes d'Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. Also notable are the world premiere of Lessons in Love and Violence by George Benjamin and new productions by Eliogabalo by Francesco Cavalli and La morte d'Orfeo by Stefano Lando. This opera, which 'continues where L'Orfeo of Monteverdi ends," will be Audi's farewell performance.

Das Floß der Medusa - painting by Théodore Géricault

Henze becomes 'Enze

Audi draws special attention to the production of Das Floß der Medusa by Hans Werner Henze. This opens the 2018 Opera Forward Festival. 'A very contemporary theme, because it is about fate and realisation, about refugees dying on a boat.' Italian Romeo Castellucci signed on for the staging and was interviewed about it by house dramaturge Klaus Bertisch.

However, Castellucci has no more than a few platitudes to offer; his vision clearly has yet to mature. When he repeats an empty phrase for the umpteenth time, associations with the American helmer come to mind. Charming though is how he robs Henze of his initial time and again with his heavy Italian accent.

Wondering what Castellucci thinks of Das Floß der Medusa of 'Enze is going to make.

Full programming can be found here.


Thea Derks

Thea Derks studied English and Musicology. In 1996, she completed her studies in musicology cum laude at the University of Amsterdam. She specialises in contemporary music and in 2014 published the critically acclaimed biography 'Reinbert de Leeuw: man or melody'. Four years on, she completed 'An ox on the roof: modern music in vogevlucht', aimed especially at the interested layperson. You buy it here: In 2020, the 3rd edition of the Reinbertbio appeared,with 2 additional chapters describing the period 2014-2020. These also appeared separately as Final Chord.View Author posts

Private Membership (month)
5€ / Maand
For natural persons and self-employed persons.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Own mastodon account
Access to our archives
Small Membership (month)
18€ / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of less than €250,000 per year
No annoying banners
A premium newsletter
All our podcasts
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Posting press releases yourself
Extra attention in news coverage
Large Membership (month)
36€ / Maand
For cultural institutions with a turnover/subsidy of more than €250,000 per year.
No annoying banners
A special newsletter
Your own Mastodon account
Access to archives
Share press releases with our audience
Extra attention in news coverage
Premium Newsletter (substack)
5 trial subscriptions
All our podcasts

Payments are made via iDeal, Paypal, Credit Card, Bancontact or Direct Debit. If you prefer to pay manually, based on an invoice in advance, we charge a 10€ administration fee

*Only for annual membership or after 12 monthly payments

en_GBEnglish (UK)