22 Oct 2023


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Foyer

Running time

1:15, no interval


€15; Stadspas (City Pass), CJP and students €12,50

Majoie Hajary

About Majoie Hajary’s opera La Larme d’or

For over thirty years, pianist and composer Majoie Hajary (1921-2017) worked on La larme d’or, a grand opera about the history of her native Suriname. A final version of the opera never made it to the stage, but when Hajary passed away in 2017, she left behind a wealth of musical and textual material. This material has been donated to The Hague City Archives / Netherlands Music Institute (NMI). We will reflect on Majoie Hajary’s life and work and will present excerpts from the opera during a special programme in the foyer of Dutch National Opera & Ballet.

Blue Raga is a mix of blues and Indian Raga and is actually an invention of composer Majoie Hajary herself. It describes her musical signature, so to speak, and it is also part of the musical language in her opera La larme d'or.

Photo: Majoie Hajary | © heirs Hajary / The Hague City Archives / Netherlands Music Institute (NMI)

The Golden Tear

A multi-voiced story

Paramaribo, early 18th century. The Dutch rule in Suriname is faltering. The city’s enslaved people are rising against their oppressors. Forced labourers in the Netherlands also threaten to rebel. Meanwhile, a French privateer is laying siege to the city from the sea. Amid all the turmoil, the Dutch governor is particularly possessed by stories of a golden city in southern Suriname. The golden tear (la larme d’or) of a mythical prince appears to be proof of this. This opera tells the story of how Europeans, Africans, and indigenous people in Suriname cross paths. 

Uniting cultures

Majoie Hajary was born in Paramaribo in 1921 as the daughter of a Hindustani father and a Afro-Surinamese-Chinese mother. She worked as a concert pianist after studying at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and lessons with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, among others. In her own compositions, she united Western classical techniques with Afro-Caribbean and Indian music. Despite the fact that she had lived outside of Suriname since her childhood and acquired French nationality, she cherished her ties to her homeland. She wrote multicoloured compositions to unite the country’s varied demographic groups with her Sranantongo oratorio Da Pinawiki (‘The Passion Week’) and La larme d’or.


During the foyer programme, multidisciplinary theatre maker Maarten van Hinte will speak with Ellen de Vries (Majoie Hajary’s biographer) about the composer’s rich legacy and joins forces with singer Samhita Mundkur in uncovering the dazzling Indian influences in Hajary’s La larme d’or. Together with master percussionist Carlo Hoop, he will also explore the influences of the marron culture in the work.

Throughout the evening, countertenor Arturo den Hartog and pianist Ernst Munneke will perform various songs from Hajary’s oeuvre.

Special thanks

Special thanks to Ellen de Vries, biographer of Majoie Hajary, for her programming advice and for sharing her research on life and work of Majoie Hajary.

Special thanks to Haags Gemeentearchief, collection Nederlands Muziek Instituut (NMI).

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Hilversum studio

Momentum for Majoie Hajary

An interview with Maarten van Hinte and Ellen de Vries

Black Achievement Month

Every October, the Black Achievement Month Foundation celebrates individuals with African roots. As a result, the Black Achievement Month Foundation, in collaboration with other partners across the country, highlights the talents of diverse people. The goal is to celebrate diversity while combating racism, discrimination, and intolerance. Dutch National Opera & Ballet will present an opera and ballet programme this year to reflect on the legacy of the past, honour contemporary artists, and look forward to the future, as part of our long-standing partnership with the Black Achievement Month Foundation.

Met dank aan