Dutch National Opera presents

Little Dog's Heart Doggy paddle through the plastic soup

This show was to been seen in May 2017

Children’s opera for age 8 and up

Duration 1:15

Language Dutch

Surtitles Dutch

… absurd, contentious, but very entertaining youth theatre … (Theaterkrant)

… a swinging party … (de Volkskrant)

In short

Little Dog’s Heart is an opera for the whole family about the stormy events on board a Dutch merchant ship. It is a parody of a disorderly society, in which leaders blindly follow the opinion polls instead of plotting a brave course. Without pause for breath, the opera sails past everything that matters: from nostalgia to science, from masculinity to bragging, and from comradeship to love of animals. Little Dog’s Heart is a swinging, candid commentary on the world of adults.

Sing along with the sea dogs from the performance!
Take a look at the rehearsals of Little Dog's Heart.

The story

The Captain and his crew sail the seven seas with a cargo of frozen goods. Everyone’s in a good mood and joins in heartily with the sea shanties. The Captain is the undisputed leader on board, without a care for nature. He loves to shoot the seabirds out of the sky.
But then the ship’s dog Sharik is wounded by a bird falling from the sky. In order to save him, part of the Captain’s brain is transplanted into the dog’s head. Sharik survives, but that’s not all: he starts acting more and more like a human. He loses his tail, starts walking on his hind legs and begins to talk. But he’s not very lovable anymore. A huge argument erupts between the Captain and Sharik about who is the best leader. The dispute escalates and, to make matters worse, the crew resort to mutiny. With no leader on board, the ship soon starts to sink. The situation must be saved!

Will you sing along with the crew about their adventures on sea?
Take a look behind the scenes and see how the image at the top of this page has been created.

Marcel Sijm

Stage director

Marcel Sijm creates music theatre in all its different manifestations, not shying away from mixing different styles. In opera he has a predilection for the new repertoire and contemporary adaptations of the old.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Concept, Stage Director 
Marcel Sijm
Erik Bindervoet
Robbert-Jan Henkes
Oene van Geel
Florian Magnus Maier
Musical Co-ordination 
Leonard Evers
Set Designer 
Roel van Berckelaer
Costume Designer 
Esmee Thomassen
Lighting Designer 
Erik van Raalte
Klaus Bertisch
The Captain 
Anthony Heidweiller
Gable Roelofsen
Jeroen de Vaal
Alexander de Jong
Mitch Raemaekers
Jan Willem Baljet
Tim the Carpenter 
Marc Pantus
Heintje, viola, cajon 
Oene van Geel
Kurt, guitar 
Florian M. Maier
Felix, violin, viola, guitar 
George Dumitriu
Korneel, clarinet, ship's cat 
Bart de Kater
Ijsbrand, percussion 
Andreas Kühne
Animal Protection Woman 
Nanette Edens (actress)
Live regie Maatjes 
Niels Beune
Children of Circuswerkplaats Boost 
Orchestra Aboard 
Members of the Dutch National Youth Orchestra
Sjarik The Dog 


Bulgakov wrote a satire about the new Soviet man. Bindervoet & Henkes take a good look at our Dutch business acumen. Little Dog’s Heart shows the mess that adults make. Bobbing about in their little merchant ship, they control nature while wanting to stay in safe waters.

The music was written by two experienced composers of children’s opera: Oene van Geel (jazz musician) and Florian Magnus Maier (composer of heavy metal, flamenco and modern classical). Marcel Sijm based his concept on the novella Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov and the picaresque novel Wijdlopige, brede en waarachtige beschrijving van de ongelukkige reizen van het schip de Visstick en haar gezagvoerder Kapitein Iglo by Bindervoet & Henkes.


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