13-28 Jan 2024


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage

Running time

3:55 (first part: 1:45!), incl. 1 interval




In the clutches of a power-hungry empress

Nero’s mother Agrippina will do everything she can to overthrow the Roman emperor Claudius and put her son in power. This Baroque opera about huge ambitions, political intrigue and the crooked path to power is one of Handel’s strongest early works. 

Photo: Marta Syrko

In the clutches of a power-hungry empress

“This work has sensuality and power, the most thrilling ingredients you could want from an opera”, says stage director Barrie Kosky. He has a gift for presenting true-to-life characters who tread a fine line between irony and seriousness. The stylish decor was designed by Rebecca Ringst, who won Designer of the Year at the 2019 International Opera Awards.


Successful tradition

Dutch National Opera has a long and successful tradition of performing Handel’s work. Ariodante, Jephtha, Rodelinda and Giulio Cesare have all featured on the programme in recent years. However, Agrippina has never before been performed at DNO. The musical direction for this first production is in the hands of Handel specialist Ottavio Dantone, who will be making his debut as a conductor at Dutch National Opera. His own prize-winning Baroque orchestra Accademia Bizantina will be taking their seats in the orchestra pit.

The acclaimed mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d’Oustrac will be performing the role of the empress Agrippina for the first time, after her performances in DNO productions L’étoile and Idomeneo. D’Oustrac shines alongside up-and-coming countertenor John Holiday (Nerone), who previously sang in DNO’s We Shall Not Be Moved, and soprano Ying Fang (Poppea), who has become a firm favourite with Amsterdam audiences. 

Performance information

Opera in three acts
Sung in Italian

Libretto  Vincenzo Grimani

Musical direction  Ottavio Dantone
Stage direction  Barrie Kosky
Set design  Rebecca Ringst
Costume design  Klaus Bruns
Lighting design  Joachim Klein
Dramaturgy  Nikolaus Stenitzer

Agrippina  Stéphanie d’Oustrac 
Nerone  John Holiday
Poppea  Ying Fang 
Claudio  Gianluca Buratto
Ottone  Tim Mead
Pallante Tommaso Barea
Narciso  Jake Ingbar*
Lesbo  Georgiy Derbas-Richter*

* Dutch National Opera Studio

Orchestra  Accademia Bizantina

Coproduction with Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich),  Royal Opera House (London) and Hamburgische Staatsoper

Online programme

Along with the printed programme book, we also offer online programme information for this performance. The online programme will take you behind the scenes with in-depth stories, articles, and interviews with the creators and cast.


Five reasons to look forward to... Agrippina

Trailer Agrippina

Stephanie d'Oustrac en John Holiday in Agrippina
Poppea in yellow dress (Ying Fang)
Scenes from Agrippina - Dutch National Opera (2024) | Photos: Ben van Duin
Ying Fang en John Holiday
John Holiday
Scenes from Agrippina - Dutch National Opera (2024) | Photos: Ben van Duin
John Holiday en Ying Fang
Poppea in bloedrode lange jurk (Ying Fang)
Agrippina overmeesterd?
in de media

Handel's 'Agrippina' is a darkly comic depiction of the devastating thirst for power - Agrippina and Poppea are firmly in control as women in Rome

14 January

Agrippina offers richness of arias - Chinese soprano Ying Fang sang the 'Vaghe perle, eletti fiori' with wonderful expression.

15 January

Barrie Kosky makes Amsterdam both giggle and enjoy at Agrippina

16 January

Mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d'Oustrac, as Agrippina, immediately shows the contrast between the calm exterior of the elegant femme fatale and the tension she feels inside. [...] In her determined arias, you can hear the adrenaline in the sharpness of her voice.

14 January

A true 'Venetian opera', Agrippina is peppered with humour, irony and satire - DNO scored equally high with its choice of soloist team, and it must have made several directors of international festivals present somewhat jealous.


14 January
John Holiday
Rehearsal Agrippina - DNO (2023) | Photos: Melle Meivogel
Ying Fang
Desperate Ying Fang

John Holiday zingt de aria 'Come nube che fugge dal vento'

aria john holiday
Accademia Bizantina Orchestra

Accademia Bizantina Orchestra

The Italian ensemble Accademia Bizantina was founded in 1983 to play music ‘like a large string quartet’. Since 1996, the ensemble has developed into a force to be reckoned with in baroque music, and in 2021 it was nominated Orchestra of the Year by the British magazine Gramaphone. The ensemble is equally at home in the opera house and the concert hall. It recently released its first production under its own label, Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel. The orchestra is known for the chamber music ambience of its performances. This season, Accademia Bizantina will perform for the first time with Dutch National Opera in Agrippina.

Aria from Agrippina by countertenor Jake Ingbar

In the video below, we see countertenor Jake Ingbar accompanied on piano by répétiteur Daniel Ruiz de Cenzano Caballero. Both are members of the Dutch National Opera Studio, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this season.

Aria from Agrippina - Jake Ingbar sings Lusinghiera mia speranza

Jake Ingbar | Dutch Nationale Opera Studio

Podcast - Agrippina

in the media

Agent provocateur, enfant terrible, public menace - call him what you will, Barrie Kosky is without doubt one of the most exciting and inventive opera directors on the scene today, and his new production of Handel's Agrippina will clearly be a big winner with audiences.

24 September

Barrie Kosky’s staging, a co-production with the Bavarian State Opera where it opened earlier this year, marks its first appearance at Covent Garden. It’s clever, sharply observed and witty, if occasionally harder edged in tone than Handel intended. (Royal Opera House, London - 2019)

24 September

No 24-year-old wrote an opera with more ear-tickling musical riches than Handel poured into Agrippina. And yes, I've heard of Mozart. 

24 September


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