Dutch National Opera presents

Caruso a Cuba Micha Hamel (1970)

Aida in Havana

By Micha Hamel

A new composition by Dutch composer and poet Micha Hamel, Caruso a Cuba is based on the novel Como un mensajero tuyo by Cuban author Mayra Montero.

Allusions to Verdi’s Aida

On the evening that the worldfamous tenor Enrico Caruso sang Aida in Havana, a bomb exploded in the theatre. He fled out into the street and straight into the arms of the Chinese-Cuban Aida Cheng. In his stage make-up and opera costume, the singer surely raised a few eyebrows. Aida Cheng’s stepfather, a powerful Afro-Carib santero priest – prophesised not only the explosion, but also Aida Cheng’s love affair with Caruso and his untimely death. The story is exciting and rich in metaphors and references. Caruso and Aida are, of course, linked to Radamès and Aida from Verdi's opera, but they are also incarnations of the Afro-Cuban gods Changó and Yemayá. There is a curse on the love between these two gods, who have been searching for centuries for earthly bodies to inhabit.

Please note! This performance is in ITA (Internationaal Theater Amsterdam).

Chamber opera

Hamel composed Caruso a Cuba as a chamber opera to be accompanied by the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. 

There are eight singers who perform a total of fourteen roles. The colour of the chamber orchestra is enriched with synthesizers, sound effects, a detuned piano and an Aidat trumpet.


Along with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has been the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Opera for over 30 years, and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Each season, the two orchestras perform the majority of the opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra gives a varied programme of concerts in the Concertgebouw and also performs at other major concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands and abroad.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical Director
Otto Tausk
Stage Director
Johannes Erath
Katrin Connan
Noëlle Blancpain
Bernd Purkrabek
Bibi Abel
Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
Enrico Caruso, famous singer
Airam Hernández
Aida, girl
Jeanine De Bique
Calazán, Aida’s Godfather
Simon Shibambu
Bruno Zirato, Caruso's manager and assistant
Cody Quattlebaum
Dutch National Opera Studio
Adolfo Bracale, impresario/ Reporter/ Ritual singer
Michael Wilmering
Mother of Aida/ Ritual singer
Tichina Vaughn
Cook/ Woman/ Ritual singer
Eva Kroon
Arturo Cidre/ Intruder/ Tata/ Ritual singer
Gabriel Rollinson
    Thu 29 Nov Financial Times over Johannes Erath-Der Meister

    “In Johannes Erath, they have appointed a stage director whose imagery is profoundly psychological and whose sense of space and motion is intensely musical.”