Der Zwerg

Alexander Zemlinsky

A masterpiece about being different

Der Zwerg by the Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky explores an impossible love which turns into bitter misanthropy. It tells a painful story about the refusal to accept and respect other people’s differences. Lorenzo Viotti chose this opera – Zemlinsky’s most melodic, colourful and atmospheric score – to mark the beginning of his tenure as chief conductor. With this production, celebrated Dutch film and theatre director Nanouk Leopold makes her debut in opera. American tenor Clay Hilley, one of today’s leading heldentenors, performs the title role.


  • 4-18 september 2021

Missa in tempore belli

Joseph Haydn / Janiv Oron

A mass for the 21st century

Der Zwerg by the Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky explores an impossible love which turns into bitter misanthropy. It tells a painful story about the refusal to accept and respect other people’s differences. Lorenzo Viotti chose this opera – Zemlinsky’s most melodic, colourful and atmospheric score – to mark the beginning of his tenure as chief conductor. With this production, celebrated Dutch film and theatre director Nanouk Leopold makes her debut in opera. American tenor Clay Hilley, one of today’s leading heldentenors, performs the title role.


  • 6-21 september 2021

Tickle (2+)

Leonard Evers

Effervescent music theatre for the little ones

A violin-playing singer, a dancing percussionist and a singing dancer transport you to a colourful world of sound, full of energy and movement. This award-winning co-production with Oorkaan and Philharmonie Luxembourg will tour again this season.

  • September and October 2021 / May 2022




Michel van der Aa

Eternal life - in digital form

Eternal life? It might be possible sooner than you think: as an upload, a digital version of yourself. In his new opera Upload, Michael van der Aa looks into what this means to our identity, as individuals and human beings, and to our relationships with other people. Versatile artists Julia Bullock and Roderick Williams perform the leading roles. Otto Tausk conducts the Cologne-based Ensemble Musikfabrik. After an intensive rehearsal period during the Opera Forward Festival 2021, it will finally be possible to perform this film opera for a live audience.

  • 1-8 October 2021


    A Song for the Moon (6+)

    Mathilde Wantenaar

    Children's opera based on the book by Toon Tellegen

    The lonely mole decides to write a song to cheer up the moon. The grasshopper rehearses with his orchestra until they have mastered the song, and one night they give a beautiful concert. But... why does the moon look so sad afterwards?

    • 20-24 October 2021


    A Song for the Moon

    Don Giovanni

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Mozart's legendary seducer

    No one who crosses his path is left unaffected. Don Giovanni, the most famous ladies’ man in the history of opera, sweeps through life like a force of nature. This season, Dutch National Opera is reviving Claus Guth’s production, in which Don Giovanni is fatally wounded in the opening scene and experiences the whole drama as he slowly lays dying. The seductive power of this classic is brought to life by a first-rate ensemble of Mozart singers under the musical direction of Jérémie Rhorer, who conducts the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra.

    • 4-28 November 2021


    Don Giovanni


    Neo Muyanga / Maarten van Hinte / Kenza Koutchoukali / Shailesh Bahoran

    Family opera with new voices

    This family show about the wily spider Anansi will make history on the stage of Dutch National Opera & Ballet. Not only is this the first work by an African composer (Neo Muyanga) to be presented on the main stage; this world premiere will also serve to open doors to new stories, new voices and new sounds. This is a co-production with Cape Town Opera and the Junior Company of the Dutch National Ballet, choreographed by Shailesh Bahoran.

    • 13-21 November 2021


    La traviata

    Giuseppe Verdi

    Heartbreaking story of a 'material girl'

    In La Traviata Giuseppe Verdi not only tells the heartbreaking story of a terminally ill courtesan; he also used that story to rub his contemporaries’ noses in their own hypocritical morality. Director Tatjana Gürbaca does the same thing in her version of the story, set in the present day. Initially a carefree ‘material girl’, Violetta loses her way in the capitalist system. Conducted by the Italian maestro Andrea Battistoni, this promises to be a gripping, intense interpretation of Verdi’s masterpiece.

    • 4-26 December 2021


    Gold! (4+)

    Leonard Evers

    Based on a Grimm fairy tale

    A percussionist and a singer act out and sing a fairy tale about a magic fish which can make all your dreams come true. Gold! is an irresistible piece of musical theatre for anyone aged 4 and older. It's a story about wanting a lot, getting a lot – and never having enough. The director is Kenza Koutchoukali, who is also staging Anansi this season.

    • 26 December 2021 - 9 January 2022



    Le lacrime di Eros

    Caccini, Peri, Monteverdi and others

    An unorthodox opera about love

    Le Lacrime di Eros looks to the 16th century as both a nursery and a laboratory for opera as an experimental artform. A dialogue between original Renaissance material by Caccini, Peri, Monteverdi (and others) and the contemporary music of Scott Gibbons gives voice to the many facets of love. In this unorthodox opera Raphaël Pichon and Romeo Castellucci, together with Ensemble Pygmalion, celebrate the richness of opera as an artform.

    • 20-30 January 2022



    Richard Strauss

    Repulsive desire and diabolical innocence

    This season, director Ivo van Hove once again shines the spotlight on the veils of Salome. In this revival of his incisive version of Strauss’s classic the director takes you into the labyrinth of the human psyche and its drives. The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by its chief conductor Lahav Shani, promises to captivate, move and thrill the audience. As Salome, one of her signature roles, soprano Jennifer Holloway makes her DNO debut.

    • 29 January - 14 February 2022



    Opera Forward Festival 2022

    Eurydice – Die Liebenden blind

    Manfred Trojahn

    Classical myth from a new perspective

    Eurydice - Die Liebenden blind tells the famous myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, but from her perspective. Inspired by both the ancient story and German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus, Manfred Trojahn leads us, in his lyrical and contemporary ‘dramatic poem’, into the underworld. Pierre Audi returns to DNO to direct the world premiere. Baritone Andrè Schuen and soprano Julia Kleiter make their company debut as the mythical lovers Orpheus and Eurydice. Erik Nielsen, who recently conducted Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins at DNO, brings Trojahn’s magnificent score to life with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra.

    • 5-17 March 2022


    Opera Forward Festival 2022

    Orphée | L’Amour | Eurydice

    Christoph Willibald Gluck / Zbigniew Wolny

    Love from different perspectives

    What is love, in our modern age? Inspired by the opera Orphée et Eurydice by Christoph Willibald Gluck, director Robin Coops and VR pioneer Avinash Changa explore this question in a three-part opera. In this telling of the story, Orpheus and Euridice are not separated by death. They care about each other, but at the same time they have lost each other in their relationship. They no longer communicate, except by exchanging text messages with L’Amour, who has also become unsure about his role. Theatrical effects and VR technology allow the audience to personally experience three different perspectives.

    A production created in collaboration with the Nederlandse Reisopera and Opera Zuid as part of a talent development programme, in cooperation with WeMakeVR and the M31 Foundation.

    • 5-7 March 2022


    Opera Forward Festival 2022

    [Collective Works]

    Lisenka Heijboer Castañón / Manoj Kamps

    A continuation of a successful experiment

    In just three months, young opera makers Lisenka Heijboer Castañón and Manoj Kamps created a small miracle on a big stage with FAUST [working title] last September. After the success of this whirlwind production, the two are working together once again to explore new ways of making opera. Now, with the luxury of more time and with the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble as a collaborator, they are delving into the figure of the outsider and celebrating different narratives, perspectives and voices.

    • 12-18 March 2022



    Opera Forward Festival 2022

    Denis & Katya

    Philip Venables

    When your death becomes clickbait

    In 2016 two Russian 15-year-old runaways living in a squat shared their final hours via a livestream, leaving behind a trail of devastating footage. The public reaction to this tragic event is central to the chamber opera Denis & Katya, directed by Ted Huffman. An investigation in opera form, exploring how stories are created and shared in our era of online voyeurism, conspiracy theories, fake news and 24/7 digital connections. With singers from the Dutch National Opera Studio in the leads.

    • 11-18 March 2022



    Giacomo Puccini

    Captivating opera noir

    Love, lust and political intrigue intersect in the life of the volatile singer Floria Tosca. When her lover is arrested by the sadistic chief of police Scarpia, Tosca takes matters into her own hands, with chilling results. Conductor Lorenzo Viotti and director Barrie Kosky kick off their three-year Puccini cycle with Tosca. Soprano Malin Byström, who was a magnificent Salome several seasons ago, returns to DNO in the title role.

    • 12 April - 6 May 2022


    Anna Bolena

    Gaetano Donizetti

    The price of the crown

    ‘A success! A triumph! Pure madness!’ – these were some of the reactions of the frenzied audience at the premiere of Anna Bolena in 1830. Donizetti’s melodious music translates the sad fate of the English queen into a world of intense emotion. Anna Bolena is the first part of a Tudor trilogy presented by DNO in the coming three years, staged by the Dutch director Jetske Mijnssen and with the inspiring musical leadership of bel canto specialist Enrique Mazzola. The title part is portrayed by the celebrated soprano Marina Rebeka, one of the few singers capable of playing all three soprano roles in Donzetti’s Tudor trilogy. The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra offers scintillating accompaniment from the pit.

    • 10-29 May 2022


    Anna Bolena

    Der Freischütz

    Carl Maria von Weber

    Dangerous deal with the devil

    How far would you go to get what you want in life? Would you make a deal with demonic forces? This is the subject of Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz. It not only holds the distinction of being the first German Romantic opera; it also includes one of the most blood-curdling scenes in the history of opera. Conductor Riccardo Minasi returns to Dutch National Opera for the third time, on this occasion at the head of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The celebrated Russian film, theatre and opera director Kirill Serebrennikov will offer an unconventional and stimulating interpretation of this classic, which is rarely performed in the Netherlands.

    • 3-25 June 2022



    The 2021/2022 season will see the release of three special new film productions.


    Alongside the theatre production of Upload, which will be performed on stage in the new season, Michel van der Aa has created a film version of his latest opera about 'mind uploading': a technique that allows people to live on forever as digital copies of themselves. The film offers a completely new, complementary experience, making use of the unique possibilities of the medium film.

    • Expected: autumn 2021

    Ensemble MusikFabrik conducted by Otto Tausk
    Stage direction: Michel van der Aa
    Director of photography: Joost Rietdijk
    Singing roles: Roderick Williams and Julia Bullock
    With actors: Katja Herbers, Ashley Zukerman, Esther Mugambi, Samuel West, Claron McFadden en anderen.

    Springtime in Amsterdam

    With Springtime in Amsterdam, celebrated opera director Christof Loy makes his debut in film. Springtime tells the story of four people who meet in Amsterdam at a defining moment in their lives. For his film, Loy was inspired by the style of Jacques Demy, one of the grandmasters of French cinema. The musical world of Springtime in Amsterdam ranges from operetta classics to Jacques Brel. With Annette Dasch, Thomas Oliemans, Theresa Kronthaler, Norman Reinhardt, Henk Poort, Sunnyi Melles and Barry Atsma in the cast, this musical feature film marks a special adventure for artists and audiences alike.

    • Expected: autumn 2021

    Direction and script: Christof Loy
    Music by Jacques Brel, Jean Ferrat, Pieter Goemans, Emmerich Kálmán, Jerome Kern, Zoltán Kodály, Carl Millöcker, Johann Strauss Jr, Oscar Straus and Charles Trenet
    Performed by Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, Dutch String Collective, Women's Chorus of Dutch National Opera conducted by Marko Letonja

    Crazy Days

    In the autumn of 2020, Dutch National Opera was working on a significantly abridged version of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro to perform for a small live audience. Then the second wave of the pandemic hit. Filmmaker Sanne Rovers followed the production process closely, resulting in the documentary Crazy Days: a unique look into the life of young international opera singers and top conductor Riccardo Minasi, and their personal urgency and drive to keep on making opera, even in the most impossible and uncertain circumstances.

    • Expected: autumn 2021

    Direction: Sanne Rovers
    Cast: Riccardo Minasi, Ying Fang, Davide Luciano, Polly Leech and others