7-22 Oct 2023


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage

Running time



From € 18


Who is free of guilt?

The new opera Innocence recounts a topical tale of guilt, forgiveness and being haunted for life by traumatic events. Dutch National Opera presents the latest work by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, one of the most frequently performed contemporary composers in the world. The libretto is by compatriot and bestselling author Sofi Oksanen.

Photo: Marta Syrko

Who is free of guilt?

A mass shooting takes place at an international school. Ten years later, the shooter’s younger brother gets married and hopes to put this history behind him for good. However, the wedding turns into a confrontation with the past. Traumas that had been suppressed by all the individuals involved resurface, and the distinction between perpetrator and victim becomes increasingly blurred.

The world premiere of Innocence was in 2021 at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, where the opera was highly praised by critics. With the force of a psychological thriller, it shows the far-reaching effects of violence, while Kaija Saariaho’s music reverberates more than ever before with the sounds of raw realism.


The makers

The Australian theatre, film and opera director Simon Stone, who caused a stir in the Netherlands with his impressive theatrical productions at the Holland Festival and ITA (Flight 49, Medea and Ibsen House), will be making his debut at Dutch National Opera with his staging of Saariaho’s latest work. After Émilie (2010) and Only the Sound Remains (2016), Innocence is Saariaho’s third work to be performed by Dutch National Opera.

The Swiss-Australian conductor Elena Schwarz, an ardent advocate of new music, makes her DNO-debut with Innocence. Three audience favourites – Dutch singers Lilian Farahani, Lenneke Ruiten and Thomas Oliemans – will also be starring in this opera.

Start of ticket sales

General ticket sales for Innocence start on 9 May 2023 at 12.00 midday. Want to make sure you don’t miss this moment? Then sign up for the ticket alert, and we’ll send you a reminder as soon as ticket sales begin.

Performance information

Opera in five acts and an epilogue
Sung in English

Libretto  Sofie Oksanen, translated by Alexandre Barrière

Musical direction  Elena Schwarz
Stage direction and dramaturgy  Simon Stone
Set design  Chloe Lamford
Costume design  Mel Page
Lighting design  James Farncombe
Choreography  Arco Renz

The Waitress (Tereza)  Jenny Carlstedt
The Mother-in-Law (Patricia)  Lenneke Ruiten
The Father-in-Law (Henrik)  Thomas Oliemans
The Bride (Stela)  Lilian Farahani
The Bridegroom (Tuomas)  Markus Nykanen
The Priest  Frederik Bergman
The Teacher  Lucy Shelton
Markéta (student 1)  Vilma Jää
Lily (student 2)  My Johansson
Iris (student 3)  Julie Hega
Anton (student 4)  TBA
Jerónimo (student 5)  Camilo Delgado Díaz
Alexia (student 6)  Olga Heikkilä

Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Chorus Master  Edward Ananian-Cooper

Residentie Orkest The Hague

Composition commission and co-production  by Dutch National Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Royal Opera House (London), Finnish National Opera and Ballet (Helsinki) and San Francisco Opera

In collaboration with The Metropolitan Opera (New York)

Psychological  thriller on the opera stage  

Scene from the opera Innocence, world premiere Aix-en-provence | Photo: Jean Louis Ferdinandez

Order tickets

General ticket sales start on 9 May 2023 at 12.00 midday.

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Thomas Oliemans
Photo: Marco Borggreve

Lilian Farahani and Thomas Oliemans about Innocence

Residentie Orkest The Hague

Residentie Orkest The Hague

Residentie Orkest The Hague was founded over a century ago and is one of the major acclaimed symphony orchestras  in the Netherlands. The innovative orchestra, led by chief  conductor Anja Bihlmaier, plays at leading venues in the Netherlands and abroad. Recent productions at Dutch National Opera involving the Residentie Orkest are Nabucco, Denis & Katya and Blue. This season, the orchestra will  accompany the opera Innocence.

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