Tuesday, October 27, it was announced that the NTR / NPO Radio 4 podcast Making an Opera is the winner of the Prix Europa Best European Radio Music Program. Stef Visjager spent months following the creative process of the opera Ritratto by the Dutch National Opera by Willem Jeths and Frank Siera, directed by Marcel Sijm.
Last month the podcast also won the Special Mention (2nd prize) of the Prix Italia. The Prix Europa is an annual festival in Potsdam, Germany, where prizes are awarded to the best European television, radio and media productions.
One of the jury comments: “Very detailed in the numerous aspects of narration, the several angles and points of view sum up to a thrilling inside story of the opera world. This program is a good example to tell a "classic" story with new means - and a very special, highly appealing tone. "
About Making an Opera
For a year and a half, podcast maker Stef Visjager was given unlimited access behind the scenes at Dutch National Opera (DNO). There she followed six young singers in the making of the opera Ritratto by Willem Jeths, which was to open the Opera Forward Festival, but which could not continue due to the corona measures. The unique, intimate insight that Stef Visjager got into the complex process of creating this performance, she incorporated into the podcast Making an Opera, or How to make it in the opera, a podcast in 8 acts.
Visjager was present at the first auditions of the Dutch National Opera Studio, at the rehearsals and the blood-curdling dress. She managed to gain the trust of all involved and attended the intensive discussions of the artistic team of Dutch National Opera. Where the makers tell in interviews how interesting and special it is to work on an opera, this often contrasts beautifully with scenes that show a different image: making an opera is a bizarre combination of tug of war, getting your way through and working together. And all this with an incredible amount of discipline and love for the arts.
The opera by Willem Jeths (composition) and Frank Siera (libretto) directed by Marcel Sijm about the socialite Luisa Casati (1881-1957) was due to have its live world premiere last March, but it was canceled due to the lockdown. The performance with the extravagant costumes of Jan Taminiau and the Residentie Orkest conducted by Geoffrey Patterson therefore had its online premiere on 21 March and was subsequently viewed no fewer than 76,000 times. On October 7, Ritratto finally went live in its world premiere. Unfortunately, the latest tightened corona measures meant that the performance can now only be seen online again.
Making an Opera came about thanks to financial support from the NPO fund in collaboration with Dutch National Opera, NTR and NPO Radio 4.