Dutch National Opera presents

Ritratto WILLEM JETHS (1959)

Tickets sold

A living work of art

Duration 1:15

Breaks 0

By Willem Jeths

The government’s temporary decision to ban events and gatherings until 1 June 2020, in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, means that Dutch National Opera & Ballet will be closed until that date. Read more information here: operaballet.nl/corona-update

Ritratto - the Italian word for 'portrait' is the title of a new opera by Willem Jeths, first Nederlandse Componist des Vaderlands (2014-2016), who was fascinated by a painting depicting Luisa Casati.

Luisa Casati

The young orphaned and married, excessively wealthy Italian Marquesa Casati strove to be seen throughout her life. She was famous for the exuberant parties she organized. She allowed herself to be portrayed or photographed by numerous artists. With her black-rimmed eyes, her flaming red hair and eccentric behaviour she tried to gain a place in the art world.

Against the background of the war, librettist Frank Siera questions the importance of art. At a feast of Casati, Siera brings together all sorts of artists from the time of Casati. At the time, it was the Futurists who paved the way for fascism with their art. Casati does not engage with secular problems and focuses on her passion. In opera she goes even further than in real life; by not seeing, she tries to be seen herself.

Willem Jeths

In composing operas such as Ritratto, Willem Jeths – who was the Netherlands’ first national composer between 2014 and 2016 – manipulates orchestral colours and deliberately selects timbres to match his protagonists. ‘Im convinced that music can be stronger and more expressive if people can relate to it.


Team and cast Ritratto

Design and libretto
Marcel Sijm’s productions combine an element of surprise with plenty of humour and an emphasis on splashy design. His collaboration with set designer Marc Warning in Legende was a fine example of this. For Ritratto, Marc Warning once again designs the set design. In this opera, we can look forward to costumes designed by Jan Taminiau, whose creations include the famous blue cloak that Queen Máxima wore at King Willem-Alexander’s coronation. The brand new libretto is by the young writer and director Frank Siera, who graduated from the Toneelacademie in 2012. In addition to writing for Dutch National Opera, he also wrote for Veenfabriek, KASSETT, Operafront and De Queeste. Choreographer Zino Ainsley Schat translates the theme of 'being seen' into voguing, a dance style in which posing and direct focus on appearance is the basis.

Dutch National Opera Studio
Dutch National Opera Studio was launched on 1 September 2018 as an intensive training programme for six talented young vocalists and one répétiteur. Under the inspiring direction of soprano Rosemary Joshua, it strives to bridge conservatories and professional practice, providing a showcase for young talent at a myriad of events and venues from lunchtime concerts to the main stage.

Amsterdam Sinfonietta
The Netherlands’ only string orchestra for 30 years already, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta consists of 22 musicians led by violinist and artistic director Candida Thompson. The ensemble's repertoire spans a wide spectrum of musical styles from Baroque to contemporary. 


Opera in 7 scenes

Frank Siera

World premiere
13 March 2020
International Theatre Amsterdam

Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical Director
Geoffrey Paterson
Stage Director
Marcel Sijm
Frank Siera
Set Designer
Marc Warning
Costume Designer
Jan Taminiau
Lighting Designer
Alex Brok
Klaus Bertisch
Zino Ainsly Schat
Sopraan: Silvia Brizuela Meza, Stephanie Desjardins, Irene Hoogveld
Alt: Cameron Shahbazi, Joël Vuik, Maria Warenberg
Tenor: Lucas van Lierop, Zachery Vandermeulen, Milan de Korte
Bas: Frederik Bergman, Dominic Kraemer, Sam Carl
Amsterdam Sinfonietta
Luisa C.S. di Soncino
Verity Wingate - De Nationale Opera Studio
Romaine Brooks
Polly Leech - De Nationale Opera Studio
Gabriele D’Annunzio
Paride Cataldo - De Nationale Opera Studio
Martin Mkhize - De Nationale Opera Studio
Sergei Diaghilev
Cameron Shahbazi - De Nationale Opera Studio
Man Ray
Lucas van Lierop - De Nationale Opera Studio
Jacob Epstein
Frederik Bergman - De Nationale Opera Studio
Kees van Dongen
Dominic Kraemer
Filippo Marinetti
Sam Carl - De Nationale Opera Studio

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.

    Tue 05 Feb Trouw about Marcel Sijms- Legende

    (....) one could marvel at a special, overwhelming, convincing, colourful and imaginative staging, (...)'.

Opera Forward Festival

13 to 22 March 2020, the fifth edition of the Opera Forward Festival will take place. With OFF '20, Dutch National Opera brings different art forms, new talent and established artists together.

View program


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

Founding Partners Opera Forward Festival

Production partner Opera Forward Festival

Partner OFF-Talents


Main sponsor Dutch National Opera & Ballet