Dirk Bakker
Photo: Jan Willem Kaldenbach

Dirk Bakker

Head of Stage Machinery Maintenance

1.    How and when did you start working at Dutch National Opera & Ballet (description schooling / career)?
Immediately after successfully completing the Hogere Zeevaartschool Terschelling, I was chosen to do my military service with the land forces, a ‘logical’ choice of the ministry, considering my nautical education. At the end of military service, I joined the Defensie Pijpleiding Organisatie (DPO) as an assistant engineer, followed by a brief interlude at HWZ Leidingen. I was then invited back at DPO, only to be tipped to apply for the position of head of Maintenance Theatre Technology at Het Muziektheater, now Dutch National Opera & Ballet (DNO&B). After an introductory visit with a guided tour, it quickly became clear that the theatre is brimming with technology, particularly in terms of the variety of different techniques used to make a performance possible.

2.    What makes your craft / job so special within DNO&B and what makes it so special to yourself?
It quickly became apparent that the name "Maintenance" is a huge limitation of what the department does, as maintenance is only a small part of technical management (projects and maintenance). As a department, we are responsible for new constructions, modifications, replacements, breakdowns, repairs and maintenance of all facilities. But we are also closely involved in designing and creating moving objects for productions, and we are the lynchpin of the company’s emergency response organization.

3.    What is your favorite production seen from your craft’s / job’s perspective? Do you have any special memories of that production?
My favorite production is Porgy and Bess, a co-production with The Metropolitan Opera of New York and the English National Opera of London. This process began with a set designer's dream and resulted in a working turntable - 16 meters in diameter - with three moving houses on it with a combined weight of about 30,000 kilograms. If the set designer upon completion emotionally says, "a dream comes true", then you know that you have performed at the highest level together. That is a big motivation!

Last update: 04-10-2022.