Dutch National Opera presents

Little Dog’s Heart Oene van Geel / Florian Magnus Maier


Duration 1:25

By Oene van Geel / Florian Magnus Maier

Language Dutch

Surtitles Dutch and English

Little Dog’s Heart is an opera for young and old. It's all about 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

This is the second time that Dutch National Opera is presenting a newly composed children’s opera. Little Dog’s Heart is an ideal production for kindling enthusiasm for opera in a new generation.

Take a look behind the scenes and see how the image at the top of this page has been created.

In the press

"... an entertaining pandemonium, which makes  - by Marcel Sijm's cheerful direction and by the texts -  a lot of people smile."

Het Parool over Hondenhartje (2017)



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. The Captain poses as the undisputed leader, who defines his leadership through hollow phrases and without a care for nature, throwing plastic overboard and shooting at birds. But then it all goes wrong and ship’s dog Sharik is wounded. In order to save him, part of the Captain’s pituitary gland is transplanted into Sharik’s head. The ship’s dog starts displaying more and more human characteristics and challenges the authority of the Captain. The dispute escalates to such an extent that the crew have to resort to mutiny. When they are unable to elect a new leader democratically, the ship appears to be in danger of sinking in the plastic soup they have created themselves. Can the situation be saved?

Team, Cast and Chorus

Concept and stage director 
Marcel Sijm
Erik Bindervoet
Robbert-Jan Henkes
Oene van Geel
Florian Magnus Maier
Roel van Berckelaer
Esmee Thomassen
Erik van Raalte
Klaus Bertisch


Two experienced composers of children’s operas wrote the music for Little Dog’s Heart: 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. Marcel Sijm makes contemporary music theatre with composed and improvised classical and popular music. He has gained his reputation not only in opera and theatre, but also in projects at locations like the ramparts of Amersfoort, the mines of Essen and the sandpits of Oerol. In 2011, Sijm made his debut with Dutch National Opera with the theatrical world premiere of Legende, an opera by Peter-Jan Wagemans. Since then, he has directed Kopernikus and Ramble to Reims, an adaptation of Il viaggio a Reims.