Dutch National Opera presents

Caruso a Cuba Micha Hamel (1970)

This show was to been seen in March 2019

Aida in Havana

Duration 1:50

Breaks 0

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.

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

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.

The Story


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

Otto Tausk
Stage Director
Johannes Erath
Set Designer
Katrin Connan
Costume Designer
Noëlle Blancpain
Lighting Designer
Bernd Purkrabek
Video Designer
Bibi Abel
Klaus Bertisch
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

Micha Hamel

Composer and librettist

Micha Hamel (Amsterdam, 1970) is a composer, poet, theatre-maker and researcher. His concert music was performed by almost all major Dutch orchestras and ensembles.

Otto Tausk


The Dutch conductor OTTO TAUSK (musical direction) was from 2007 to 2012 chief conductor of Holland Symfonia.

    Thu 29 Nov Financial Times over Johannes Erath - Der Mieter

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

This production is part of Opera Forward Festival and is made possible by:

Founding Partners Opera Forward Festival

Productionpartner Opera Forward Festival

Partners Opera Forward Festival

Jonge Musici Fonds, Mimi Cohen-Trijbits Fonds, Jade Fonds

Main sponsor Nationale Opera & Ballet