11 Mar-2 Apr 2023


Various theatres, The Netherlands

Running time

1:15, no interval



OFF campagnebeeld

Revolutionary music theatre

Opera meets spoken word

Many revolutions passed on the world stage, in various guises and with varying degrees of success. In a setting of fragments of previously fought ideologies, we ask: do we need the rubble of the past to build a new and different kind of world?

Music theatre goes to the barricades

From the ashes of one uprising emerges the following rebellion, calling for change, improvement, innovation - a call to freedom. In the musical-theatrical collage performance Ändere die Welt! we see a group of people in the aftermath of a revolution. They try to build a new existence while asking themselves: how do you change the world? Spoken word artist Amara van der Elst guides the audience through the performance and comments in the language of 2023. Does change mean progress, if history keeps repeating itself? We shout "Ändere die Welt!" ("Change the world!"), but how do you do that? And what is change, if it is based on ideas from the past?

Young and up-and-coming artists

The sounds of revolution are woven through musical history. With musical director, arranger and pianist Pedro Beriso, existing and new material was used to build an idiosyncratic sound world that breathes revolt, change and renewal. Music by Hanns Eisler, Weill, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Schumann, Auber, Beethoven and Wagner, among others, is combined with the contemporary sounds of spoken word and electronic soundscapes. The young, promising theatre-maker Mart van Berckel brings it all together on stage. Young talents from the Dutch National Opera Studio sing in this production, which will tour throughout the country. The performance is created and presented as part of Collective Works within the Opera Forward Festival.

Performance information

Surtitles in Dutch and English are provided for the performance’s sung texts. Surtitles are not provided for the English spoken-word texts.

Musical direction, co-creator,
arranger and pianist  
Pedro Beriso
Stage direction  Mart van Berckel
Set and lighting design  Vera Selhorst
Costume design  Rosa Schützendorf
Sound design  Timo Merkies
Soundscape design  Wouter Snoei
Dramaturgy  Jasmijn van Wijnen

Sam Carl**
Inna Demenkova*
Elenora Hu*
Michael Wilmering

Spoken word artist  
Amara van der Elst

Kai Bartak
Finn Vogels
Bart Heyl

Orchestra  LUDWIG

* Dutch National Opera Studio
** Alumnus Dutch National Opera Studio

Dutch National Opera, Nederlandse Reisopera and Opera Zuid, together with the Dutch National Opera Studio, present Ändere die Welt! 

Mart van Berckel on the creative process

“I sense a genuine desire among my generation to do better, to make an effort. Our view of the world is broad; we are aware that many things are happening in the world simultaneously, and these movements are sometimes diametrically opposed. The world is so complex and complicated that it can also be discouraging: where do you even begin? So, yes, we want to change the world, but we also recognise the task’s difficulty, if not absurdity. Rather than revolution, we are looking for how change can happen on a small scale with this performance. True change may not begin on the battlefield, but rather in how you work together to create something new. Is the dialogue more effective than revolt? Or are both required?”
- Mart van Berckel | stage direction


Trailer Ändere die Welt!

Amara van der Elst in Ändere die Welt!
in the media
Rave reviews

A tremendously successful, ferocious, and moving work! Please play this everywhere!

12 March

Amara van der Elst (...) overwhelming, impressive, wonderful

15 March

Pedro Beriso had created truly magnificent arrangements for them

15 March

Mart van Berckel and the musicians of LUDWIG came up with a brilliant orchestral part

15 March

Inna Demenkova (...) credible, moving and vocally flawless

15 March

Podcast - Ändere die Welt!

Scène uit Ändere die Welt!; Amara van der Elst
Photo: Bart Grietens
Scène uit Ändere die Welt!; groep rondom kampvuur
Photo: Bart Grietens
Scène uit Ändere die Welt!; Amara van der Elst
Photo: Bart Grietens
Scène uit Ändere die Welt!; kind met Michael Wilmering
Photo: Bart Grietens
Scène uit Ändere die Welt!; Elenora Hu
Photo: Bart Grietens
Scène uit Ändere die Welt!; Inna Demenkova, Sam Carl en kind
Photo: Bart Grietens
Scène uit Ändere die Welt!; Amara van der Elst
Photo: Bart Grietens
Scène uit Ändere die Welt!; Sam Carl en kind
Photo: Bart Grietens

Dutch National Opera Studio

The Opera Studio was launched in September 2018. The carefully selected participants gain important experience by participating in the professional environment of Dutch National Opera and are coached in every aspect of their professional development. In this way they gain crucial experience to give wings to their professional career.

The participants of the Opera Studio perform at foyer evenings, take part in workshops from international directors and coaches, sing small roles on the big stage and perform starring roles in the annual Opera Studio production.

Ändere die Welt - trailer

Ändere die Welt - trailer

Pedro Beriso on opera, revolution and co-creation

“Opera and revolution: at first glance they don't seem to go together very well. But you don't have to delve far into history to discover that music and theatre have played an important role in every major social upheaval. Composers like Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner, Eisler and Weill wrote revolutionary music in turbulent times. This is the music we bring in Ändere die Welt!, a collage of scenes that makes you think about the need for structural change and how to achieve it in today's world. The performance comes about as a co-creation, with input from the various artistic disciplines. Music from the past provides ideas to shape a new future. At the same time, we work with promising young talent from the Dutch National Opera Studio. It's a revolution I'm happy to be a part of!”
- Pedro Beriso | musical director, arranger and pianist



Amara van der Elst on the dynamics of combinations

“Combining spoken word with other art forms is always a big 'YES' for me. The difference with opera is huge: spoken word is direct, it has rough edges, it is in colloquial language and I tell it like it is, whereas opera in its classical form is very poetic and abstract. But if you let these art forms blend together strategically or, on the contrary, stand next to each other in all their contrast, it creates a very special dynamic. So we as makers are not afraid to combine extremes or to play with traditions; that is what makes you realise that this production was made by young people. Our version of opera may be different - but it is refreshing. We challenge the audience to a piece of self-reflection, wrapped in the elegance of opera.”
- Amara van der Elst | spoken word artist

in the media

It is a strong stage setting that invites a lot of movement, as befits activist theatre. [...] a loving, gentle treatment [...].

13 March

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