13-21 November


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Auditorium

Running time

70 minutes


From €10


Music, dance and theatre for all

Forget Spiderman. The mythical spider Anansi will be taking over in the coming season. Dutch National Opera and Dutch National Ballet are joining forces to create a new, exciting music theatre production about this amazing creature who has travelled halfway round the world. Renowned opera stars, musicians from various genres, ballet dancers and dancers from the hip hop scene come together to tell a fascinating story which combines different cultures, sounds and movement styles in an innovative way.

Music, dance and theatre for all

How ANANSI freed the stories of the world is the first in a new series of productions to be presented jointly by Dutch National Opera and Dutch National Ballet in the coming years.

For this brand new performance, the makers delved into the story of the mythical spider Anansi, which originated in Ghana and then became known – in various versions – in the rest of West Africa, in Suriname and in the Caribbean. In this unique show the ingenious spider, whose cleverness is unmatched and who always manages to escape by the skin of his teeth, frees the world’s captive stories from the claws of the sly tiger Tigri. Though it goes without saying that this is no walk in the park.


‘This special world premiere opens doors to new stories, new sounds and new voices.’


The power of telling stories

This new music theatre production has been created by a very versatile artistic team and is a playful marriage of different cultures, sounds and stories. Neo Muyanga’s colourful composition takes you on a musical journey in which Western music styles are interwoven with Afro-Caribbean influences and West African percussion. In the innovative direction of Kenza Koutchoukali and the choreography of Shailesh Bahoran, promising soloists and the classically trained dancers of the Junior Company join forces with hip-hop dancers and various instrumentalists. Anansi, therefore, does not tell the story on his own, because, following the African oral tradition, telling stories is something you do together. The colourful sets and costumes are designed by Dieuweke van Reij.


Multitude of voices

Let yourself be enchanted by the adventures of the inventive spider Anansi. The title role is sung by the young South African tenor Zwakele Tshabalala. Latvian bass Agris Hartmanis sings the role of his opponent Tigri. They are joined on stage by DNO audience favourites Claron McFadden, Katia Ledoux and Martin Mkhize.



The libretto is based on the Anansi-toris: the numerous narratives featuring the spider Anansi. Originating from Western Africa, they have spread around the world with the African diaspora. Each narrative is unique because every narrator recounts an Anansi-tori in his or her own way.


PLEASE NOTE: you need a valid QR code from the coronavirus entry pass to visit this performance. 

Performance information

Libretto  Maarten van Hinte
Composition  Neo Muyanga
Stage direction  Kenza Koutchoukali
Conductor  Lochlan Brown 
Set and costume designs  Dieuweke van Reij
Lighting design  Wijnand van der Horst
Choreography  Shailesh Bahoran
Dramaturgy  Maarten van Hinte, Wout van Tongeren and Naomi Teekens
Sound design  Nina Kraszewska

Anansi  Zwakele Tshabalala 
Makuba  Katia Ledoux 
Tigri the Tiger  Agris Hartmanis
Snake the Serpent  Martin Mkhize**
Sista Leopard  Carla Nahadi Babelegoto
Princess Vixen  Claron McFadden
Hornets  Leonie van Rheden and Makudu Senaoana

Luca Abdel-Nour*, Katherine Bamford*, Lily Carbone*, Mila Caviglia*, Joley Groeizaam, Lauren Hunter*, Nicola Jones*, Patrick Karijowidjojo, Isaac Mueller*, Gregory Myles*, Catarina Pires*, Gabriel Rajah*, Marchano Sarijoen, Guillermo Torrijos*, Arjuna Vermeulen, Louisella Vogt*, Lucinda Wessels, Sven de Wilde* en Koyo Yamamoto*. 

* member of the Junior Company of Dutch National Ballet

Orchestra  Het Balletorkest (The Ballet Orchestra)
Percussionist  Carlo Hoop
DJ  Abstract – Gestow Power

** Dutch National Opera Studio alumnus 

Coproduced and commissioned by Dutch National Opera and Dutch National Ballet, in collaboration with Cape Town Opera


Watch the teaser

ANANSI teaser

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To ensure that, in spite of the current corona pandemic, your visit is as safe as possible, Dutch National Opera & Ballet follows the guidelines of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Read more

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Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak
Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak
Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak
Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak
Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak
Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak
Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak
Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak
Rehearsal Anansi | Photo: Milagro Elstak

Free online programme booklet

Click on the link below and receive the free online programme booklet before the premiere. The booklet contains beautiful images and everything you need to know about the music and cast!

Lees meer
Kenza Koutchoukali

‘We try to find a new voice with this polyphonic, colourful creation’

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Sedrig Verwoert en Djuwa Mroivili| Foto: Milagro Elstak

Black Achievement Month: a nice initiative that shouldn’t exist

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Sebia Plantefève-Castryck

‘I want to show kids that they can do this too’

Read more

Dutch Ballet Orchestra

Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany its partners, Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands.

Het Balletorkest

Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This gives the orchestra its unique character: flexible, dynamic and high-quality.

More about Dutch Ballet Orchestra


Partners Junior Company

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