5-10 May


IJburg College, Theaterzaal

Running time

1:40, incl. pre-performance talk and post-performance discussion


from € 7,50

For a Look or a Touch


A moving short chamber opera about a relevant theme: judgement. Dutch National Opera presents a video registration of the opera directed by Wim Trompert. The screening will be accompanied by a pre-performance talk and post-performance discussion, in collaboration with De Balie.

For a Look or a Touch is a story about the persecution of gay men during the Second World War in Nazi Germany. An old man – a Holocaust survivor – is remembering his former lover who was murdered. His imagination takes over and the memory becomes tangible, making the audience privy to a special kind of love that was forbidden at the time.

Composer Jake Heggie and writer Gene Scheer joined forces to create this short opera, which is largely based on the documentary Paragraph 175 and the diary of Manfred Lewin, a Jewish homosexual who was murdered in Auschwitz, along with the rest of his family. During the pandemic, Dutch National Opera recorded a live performance of For a Look or a Touch, which was directed by Wim TrompertThis video recording will be broadcast twice this year in Amsterdam to mark Remembrance Day and Liberation Day in the Netherlands.

Performance information

For a Look or a Touch  Jake Heggie

Libretto  Gene Scheer

Stage direction  Wim Trompert
Music rehearsals  Maurice Lammerts van Bueren
Violin  Maria Paula Majoor
Cello  Arno van der Vuurst
Flute  Ilonka Kolthof
Clarinet  Levan Tskhadadze
Director of photography  Doesjka van Hoogdalem
Video design  Mónica Hernandez

Vocals and performance  Alexander Oliver, Agris Hartmanis

For a Look or a Touch
Photo: Doesjka van Hoogdalem
For a Look or a Touch
Photo: Doesjka van Hoogdalem
De Balie

In collaboration with De Balie

De Balie will organise a pre-performance talk and a post-performance discussion as part of this showing. The evening will kick off with an introduction by director Wim Trompert. Then, after the showing, producer and creator Isabel Sheridan will lead a discussion, involving various speakers, about some of the key themes highlighted in this opera. How much headway have we made in terms of LHBTQIA+ rights in the Netherlands and Europe? What can we celebrate and be proud of? And which new trends are a cause for concern?


In 2017 and 2018, Dutch National Opera staged this opera to tie in with Remembrance Day on May 4. This is what the opera website Opera Nederland had to say about the performance in 2017: 

For a Look or a Touch is an incredibly moving opera, eliciting and expressing powerful emotions. It gradually peels back the layers of identity, exposing the memories, the struggles, the happy times, the setbacks and the horrors. (…) Heggie’s score adds to and intensifies the story – the music is approachable and melodic, while also being fascinating and, at times, eccentric”

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