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Little Dog's Heart Doggy paddle through the plastic soup

Children’s opera for age 8 and up

Duration 1:15

Language Dutch

Surtitles Dutch

Little Dog’s Heart
Or the rambling and true story of the unfortunate voyage of a Dutch cargo ship and the ship’s dog Sharik, through the unstoppable Plastic Soup.

In short

New production: following the success of Ramble to Reims, Dutch National Opera is presenting a newly composed children’s opera. Performed for and by sea dogs and everyone who has a soft spot for them.

Take a look behind the scenes in the rehearsals!
Will you sing along with the crew about their adventures on sea?


On a cargo ship filled with frozen goods, the Captain and his crew sail the seven seas. Everyone’s in a good mood and joins in with the sea shanties. But the Captain doesn’t care about nature. He throws plastic overboard and shoots at birds, until it all goes wrong. Ship’s dog Sharik is wounded by birds falling from the sky. In order to save him, part of the Captain’s pituitary gland is transplanted into Sharik’s head.

While nature becomes ever more hostile and Sharik ever more human, the big questions of life are dealt with in consultations with the Captain. When the cargo ship gets stuck in the plastic soup and is in danger of sinking, a leadership dispute is inevitable. 

“No, there’s no fresh fish. All the oceans are empty. But don’t worry, I’m seeing lots of the world. The ship’s dog is getting better, but he’s started using filthy language and is beginning to sound like the Captain. I have to stop now”.

Take a look behind the scenes and see how the image at the top of this page has been created.
This is the shark we made together with you during our Open House!

Marcel Sijm


Marcel Sijm (concept and director) creates opera in all its various forms and does not shy away from interaction between different styles and performers. Besides the Baroque, classical and Romantic opera repertoire, he has a penchant for contemporary works, preferably in the Dutch language.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Concept and stage director 
Marcel Sijm
Erik Bindervoet
Robbert-Jan Henkes
Oene van Geel
Florian Magnus Maier
Musical coordination 
Leonard Evers
Roel van Berckelaer
Esmee Thomassen
Erik van Raalte
Klaus Bertisch
De Captain 
Anthony Heidweiller
Gable Roelofsen
Jeroen de Vaal
Alexander de Jong
Mitch Raemaekers
Martijn Cornet
Tim de Timmerman 
Marc Pantus
Heintje, altviool-cajon 
Oene van Geel
Kurt, gitaar 
Florian M. Maier
Felix, (alt)viool-gitaar 
George Dumitriu
Korneel, klarinet-scheepskat 
Bart de Kater
Ijsbrand, slagwerk-scheepslier 
Andreas Kühne
Vrouw van de Dierenbescherming 
Nanette Edens (actress)
Children of Circuswerkplaats Boost 
Orchestra aboard 
Members Nationaal Jeugd Orkest


Bulgakov wrote a satire about the new Soviet man. Bindervoet & Henkes take a good look at our Dutch business acumen. Little Dog’s Heart shows the mess that adults make. Bobbing about in their little merchant ship, they control nature while wanting to stay in safe waters.

The music was written by two experienced composers of children’s opera: Oene van Geel (jazz musician) and Florian Magnus Maier (composer of heavy metal, flamenco and modern classical). Marcel Sijm based his concept on the novella Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov and the picaresque novel Wijdlopige, brede en waarachtige beschrijving van de ongelukkige reizen van het schip de Visstick en haar gezagvoerder Kapitein Iglo by Bindervoet & Henkes.


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