6-21 sep 2021


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage

Running time



Not available

Missa in tempore belli

A mass for the 21st century

This production of Missa in tempore belli is a dream come true for DNO’s brand-new chief conductor Lorenzo Viotti. Taking Haydn’s ‘Mass in time of war’ as its centrepiece, this special performance combines music theatre, dance, electronic composition and video.

A mass for the 21st century

Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli is also known as the Paukenmesse (kettledrum mass) because of the dramatic use of timpani, a theatrical touch that is unusual for a mass.

In an unusual twist Dutch National Opera is presenting the mass in a fully staged version. Director Barbora Horáková reveals the flipside of the steadfast faith that runs through every note of Haydn’s mass, poignantly portraying individuals who suffer under the heavy burden of a narrowminded, one-sided ideology.

Swiss-Israeli electronic composer Janiv Oron responds to Haydn’s music with beats and sound effects, all created live. These extra sound worlds offer a counterbalance to the religious conviction articulated by the Missa.


Major role for the Chorus, soloists and dancers

The Missa has a starring role for the wonderful Chorus of Dutch National Opera. Up-and-coming tenor Mingjie Lei makes his DNO debut. This production also marks the return to the stage of mezzo-soprano Polly Leech, an alumna of our own Dutch National Opera Studio.

The Spanish choreographer Juanjo Arqués, who is closely connected with Dutch National Ballet, is creating a choreography for nine dancers, thus giving physical expression to the contrasts that are central to the direction.

Performance information

New production

Musical direction  Lorenzo Viotti

Stage direction, set design and lighting design Barbora Horáková

Choreography  Juanjo Arqués

Associate set designer Sieger Kotterer

Associate lighting designer Peter van der Sluis

Costumes  Jorine van Beek

Video  Simon Hänggi | Hervé Thiot

Dramaturgy  Niels Nuijten

Soprano  Janai Brugger

Mezzo-soprano  Polly Leech

Tenor  Mingjie Lei

Baritone  Johannes Kammler

Orchestra  Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Live electronica  Janiv Oron

Chorus Chorus of Dutch National Opera

Chorus master Lionel Sow

Dancers Dutch National Ballet

Costa Allen, Erica Horwood, Dustin True, Clara Superfine, Yvonne Slingerland, Leo Hepler, Sebia Plantefève, Philippe Magdelijns, Isaac Mueller, Gregory Myles, Lauren Hunter, Claire Tjoe-Fat, Emma Mardegan en Guillermo Torrijos. 

Sung in Latin

Behind the scenes of Haydn / Janiv Oron's Missa in tempore belli

Missa in tempore belli
Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

For over 35 years, The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra have been Dutch National Opera's primary orchestral partners. The orchestra is regarded as one of the best opera orchestras in the world. In September 2021, Lorenzo Viotti will become the chief conductor of both the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Dutch National Opera.

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

In addition to its opera tasks, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is a regular performer in The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The orchestra works with internationally renowned guest conductors and soloists, as well as representatives of a new generation of top musicians. The orchestra makes classical music accessible to everyone who is open to it: not only on the big stages, but also in community centres, schools and hospitals. In this way, the orchestra provides the finest and best music experience for both classical connoisseurs and new listeners.

With its hospitable home auditoriu, the NedPhO Dome in Amsterdam's 'Indische buurt', the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is right at the heart of society. Every year, the Orchestra organizes around two hundred activities for music education, neighbourhood participation and talent development.



Lorenzo Viotti about Haydn's Missa in Tempore Belli


Missa in tempore belli - podcast

Missa in tempore belli is a huge project. We hear religious music by Haydn and electronic compositions by Janiv Oron. On stage we see the choir, various video projections, soloists and dancers from Dutch National Ballet. In this introduction podcast (Dutch), Laura Roling, dramaturge at Dutch National Opera, sits down with Niels Nuijten, production dramaturge of Missa in tempore belli. Together they talk about this special production. 

Missa in tempore belli

By: Laura Roling

In the media
Raving reviews

DNO's choir sang as angels from the sky, wrapped in white robes and standing on the upper stage of the constellation. 

7 September

The Netherlands Philharmonic played outstandingly, the timpani duo Theun van Nieuwburg and Marc Aixa Siurana in particular. Their duet began haydnesque, but started to rock instantly. Afterwards, Viotti started the 'Agnus Dei' a capella, as if he wanted to emphasize that his amazing opera choir - first on a floating tribune, eventually on the floor in full glory - was the real star of the night. 

7 September

The music that Oron created partly live on stage consists of soundscapes that match Haydn's religious music, but don't contrast it too much. 

7 September

Viotti's other wish was to work with the National Ballet's dancers, who share the same roof, after all. This integrated choreography by Juanjo Arquès turned out great.  

6 September

This production was made possible by

Brook Foundation

The junior company is made possible by