Dutch National Opera & Ballet presents a multifaceted 2023/2024 season. The new small theatre, Studio Boekman, opens its doors, the Dutch National Ballet's Junior Company celebrates its tenth anniversary and the Dutch National Opera Studio its fifth. Up-and-coming talent will be in the spotlight and there will be more room for experimentation. The new season presents fourteen opera productions and eleven ballet productions.
Dutch National Opera
In the 2023/2024 season, Dutch National Opera (DNO) presents new operas that confront burning societal issues and question human (ir)responsibility. For example, the opera The Shell Trial focuses on responsibility in the climate crisis. The world premiere of this opera will take place at the Opera Forward Festival, in March 2024. The Shell Trial, initiated by Gable and Romy Roelofsen from Het Geluid, is based on the play De zaak Shell by Anoek Nuyens and Rebekka de Wit and will be co-created by a group of artists that include the Pulitzer Prize-winning, American composer Ellen Reid and performer Julia Bullock in a leading role. The new opera Innocence, by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, with Simon Stone as director and Elena Schwarz as musical director, also deals with the issue of responsibility during the aftermath of a school shooting.
In addition to new operas, the classics of the opera repertoire will also be strongly represented. For the Holland Festival, DNO will present a new production of Beethoven's Fidelio, by Ukrainian director Andriy Zholdak. In November, chief conductor Lorenzo Viotti conducts his first Wagner opera, Lohengrin, in collaboration with director Christof Loy.
DNO also completes Gaetano Donizetti's Tudor trilogy, with a production of Roberto Devereux in April 2024, directed by Jetske Mijnssen and conducted by Enrique Mazzola. In May, one hundred years after the death of composer Giacomo Puccini, Lorenzo Viotti and director Barrie Kosky will conclude the Puccini cycle with their version of Il trittico. Baroque aficionados can indulge in Handel's Agrippina, conducted by Ottavio Dantone together with his own Baroque orchestra Accademia Bizantina, in January 2024.
Audience favourites, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, directed by Simon McBurney and conducted by Riccardo Minasi, will be revived in December 2023, and Verdi's La traviata, directed by Tatjana Gürbaca, will return to the DNO stage in late January 2024, conducted by Andrea Battistoni.
For the youngest opera lovers, DNO presents three family productions with revivals of A Song for the Moon and Hup Herman! and a world premiere of The Theory of Everything during the Christmas holidays.
Director Ivo van Hove will open the season with Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, the socially critical opera that composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertolt Brecht created in 1930, but which now seems more topical than ever. "Opera helps us experience past and present worlds and at the same time raises questions that let us reflect on the future. During this season, we take our audiences on a journey that starts with harsh social criticism in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. After various stops along the way, our season ends with Fidelio, which combines comradery, love, and liberty. With this, we move from darkness to light and end with a feeling of hope," says Sophie de Lint, director of Dutch National Opera.
Dutch National Opera & Dutch National Ballet
Opera and ballet join forces for the fourth time to open the Opera Forward Festival with Jocasta’s Line. Crime and punishment take centre stage in this double bill of Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex (1927) and the world premiere of Samy Moussa's Antigone (2024). This new production by British director and choreographer Wayne McGregor brings together the worlds of classical tragedy, contemporary dance and 20th- and 21st-century music.
Dutch National Ballet
Ballet lovers can also look forward to a season that excels in variety. The season opens with Four Temperaments, featuring works by four generations of top choreographers: George Balanchine and Hans van Manen, and world premieres by Ted Brandsen and Juanjo Arqués. The Dancing Dutch programme also features works by important choreographers of today: Hans van Manen, David Dawson and Milena Sidorova, and for the first time Dutch National Ballet is dancing a ballet by Jiří Kylián: Wings of Wax. Another programme with works by various (contemporary) choreographers will be danced by the Junior Company. Their anniversary programme 10 will tour the Netherlands with works by young choreographers like Joseph Toonga and Wubkje Kuindersma.
In addition to programmes of modern works, Dutch National Ballet is also reviving the full-length ballets Giselle and Raymonda. Raymonda premiered with great success in 2022 and now returns as a major December classic. The production Giselle has now become an unmissable work within HNB's classical repertoire. Both are classics to which deputy artistic director Rachel Beaujean has given a completely unique interpretation that is appropriate to today. A third full-length ballet, which stars a woman and is created by a female choreographer, is Frida by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa - an ode to the iconic artist Frida Kahlo.
Dutch National Ballet presents two of the most successful and imaginative ballets by Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmanksy, the most important classical ballet choreographer of our time: Firebird and The Fairy's Kiss, both to music by Stravinsky.
The ballet season will end festively with a grand gala performance in which more than 250 dancers will make their appearance.
Ted Brandsen, director of Dutch National Ballet: "The key word this season is 'looking forward'. This applies to the creations of the modern grandmasters and the new works by young talents, but also to the famous classics in the programming. By creating our own new productions of treasures from the classical repertoire, these works are kept alive for new generations. This makes us an important treasurer."
Next season, the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company is celebrating its tenth anniversary - partly with a festive touring programme. Dutch National Opera's talent development programme, the Dutch National Opera Studio, is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Dutch National Opera & Ballet continues to invest heavily in talent development and artistic experimentation.
Publieksverbreding & nieuwe generaties
The opening of the newly renovated small theatre, Studio Boekman creates more room for reaching new and diverse audiences. The programming in the new theatre offers opportunities to explore the boundaries of opera and ballet.
General director Stijn Schoonderwoerd: "In Studio Boekman we give new makers room to take artistic risks and experiment with other formulas to attract new and young audiences."
Fonds 21 steunt programmering Studio Boekman
The renovation of Studio Boekman – which was until recently a meeting room of the City of Amsterdam - started this week and will be finished after the summer. Under the name Fonds 21 EXTRA, Fonds 21 will support programming in the newly renovated theatre for three years, thus contributing to making opera and ballet more accessible to a new generation of culture lovers. This aligns with the goals of Fonds 21 EXTRA, which focus on topics such as innovation, digitalisation, audience development, maintaining quality and engaging the younger generation.
The complete programme for the 2023/2024 season of Dutch National Opera & Ballet can be found here: