22 January - 2 February 2025


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage

Running time



From € 22

Scene from Die ersten Menschen

The first family torn between God and worldly pleasure

The first two humans on Earth fell in love. The third human murdered the fourth. Die ersten Menschen tells the story of the first family in the Biblical history of humanity, Adahm, Chawa and their two sons Kajin and Chabel. After performances in the midst of the COVID pandemic, which were highly praised by public and press alike, this ‘rediscovered’ work by Rudi Stephan is now returning to Dutch National Opera in all its glory.

Photo: Ruth Walz

The first family torn between God and worldly pleasure

“Let’s hope nothing happens to my brain, as there are still so many great things in it”, said Rudi Stephan to his mother as he left for the front during the First World War. Two weeks later he was killed. He did not live to see the world premiere of his first opera. In this work, heavily influenced by the psychoanalysis that was popular in the beginning of the twentieth century, erotic and incestuous urges take the place of divine love.

Family dinner

Director Calixto Bieito situates the primaeval conflict in a modern-day setting reminiscent of the family dinner in Luis Buñuel’s film The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. As the evening progresses, the underlying tensions can no longer be suppressed and the white tablecloths become increasingly besmirched. The intense, physical acting that Bieito gets out of his outstanding quartet of performers does true justice to this opera driven by primitive urges. This season’s production reunites the four singers from the previous performance run: soprano Annette Dasch, bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen, baritone Leigh Melrose and tenor John Osborn. The conductor Kwamé Ryan will be tackling Rudi Stephan’s lavish modernistic score for the first time, together with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra – with all the musicians on the stage.

Start of ticket sales

Single ticket sales for Die ersten Menschen start on 22 August at 12:00 (pm). Don’t want to miss this on-sale moment? Sign up for our ticket alert and receive a notification when the single ticket sales open.

Performance information

Opera in two acts

Sung in German

Libretto  Otto Borngräber

Musical direction  Kwamé Ryan
Stage director  Calixto Bieito
Set designer  Rebecca Ringst
Costume designer  Ingo Krügler
Lighting designer  Michael Bauer
Video designer  Sarah Derendinger

Adahm  Kyle Ketelsen
Kajin  Leigh Melrose
Chawa  Annette Dasch
Chabel  John Osborn

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Ticket prices

Discover ticket prices for each price category by following the link below.

Ticket prices

We provide discounts tailored for certain groups to ensure our performances are accessible to all. Please visit this page to determine if you qualify for a discount.



CJP | City Pass | 
Youth aged 16 and under


€ 141,00

€ 126,00


€ 108,00

€ 100,00


€ 89,00

€ 75,00


€ 65,00

€ 54,00


€ 46,00

€ 39,00


€ 22,00

€ 18,00

Dutch National Opera & Ballet uses a system of dynamic pricing. This means that tickets for popular performances may increase in price as the performance date approaches and more tickets are sold. All prices exclude the booking fee (€ 2 per ticket).

Student discount and student alert

Last-minute deal! When a performance isn’t sold out, students can purchase a ticket online for just € 19 on the day of the performance starting from 13:00.

To stay updated on more offers, sign up for our student alert. This way, you’ll be informed in advance about which performances you can attend for just € 19!

Order tickets

Single ticket sales for Die ersten Menschen start on 22 August at 12:00 (pm). Don’t want to miss this on-sale moment? Sign up for our ticket alert and receive a notification when the single ticket sales open.

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Kwamé Ryan

Conductor Kwamé Ryan and soprano Annette Dasch on Die ersten Menschen

The revival of Die ersten Menschen will see conductor Kwamé Ryan and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra tackle this electrifying score for the first time. Soprano Annette Dasch will return to the DNO stage after performing this opera in 2021 during the pandemic.

Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra is renowned around the world for the intensity of its concerts. Since it was founded in 1918, the orchestra has had various acclaimed chief conductors, including Edo de Waart, James Conlon, Valery Gergiev and Yannick Nézet-Séguin (now the honorary conductor), and it has acquired a place among Europe’s most respected orchestras. The orchestra is building on this tradition under the leadership of its current chief conductor, Lahav Shani. In previous seasons, the orchestra has performed Salome, Messa da Requiem and La traviata, among other works, at Dutch National Opera. Season 2024-2025, the orchestra will be tackling Rudi Stephan’s Die ersten Menschen.