Dutch National Opera presents

In Proximity OFFSPRING

An encounter between two musical worlds

Language Nederlands

Encounter is the central concept of the music theatre film In Proximity, created by a new generation of theatre makers. Verdi's opera Aida forms the starting point for a meeting of two musical worlds, that of the Afro-Surinam music group Black Harmony and the Chorus of Dutch National Opera.

The free stream of In Proximity can be viewed on this page from 30 December.

The young artistic team, which was asked to draw inspiration from Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida (1871) and the city district of Amsterdam-Zuidoost, took the context in which the opera was created as a starting point. They noticed especially the underlying imperialist discourse in which Giuseppe Verdi composed the work. He wrote his opera, about an Ethiopian princess in Egyptian captivity, for the opera house of Cairo, without ever even setting foot in Egypt himself. The Egypt he paints in his work does not go beyond a typical oriental fantasy.

Artistic encounter

The artistic team of this fourth OFFspring production wanted to do things differently. From a deep awareness of structural inequality, they decided, throughout the artistic process, to relate to Amsterdam-Zuidoost in a radically different way than Verdi had done to Egypt. They sought to set up encounters with artists from the city district, not just as a source of inspiration to feed their work, but also as voices and co-creators of a new, joint project.

Filmed in the Scenic Workshop

In Proximity was filmed in the Scenic Workshop of Dutch National Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam-Zuidoost, a place where new stories are built and old stories are stored in wooden crates. In proximity to the past and to the rhythm of poetry by city poet Gershwin Bonevacia, the two choirs, coming from widely different traditions, embark on a musical journey towards each other. Their central question: how can you form a collective while still maintaining your own voice? 

The most difficult thing, it seems to me, is to be daring to mean something new...' (A world without people, Gershwin Bonevacia).

© Kim Krijnen
© Kim Krijnen
© Kim Krijnen
© Kim Krijnen

Team, Cast and Chorus

Sílvia Lanao Aregay
Stijn Dijkema
Scenography and image director
Han Ruiz Buhrs
Isabel van Hauwe
Musical direction
Coen Stuit
Gershwin Bonevacia
Allysia van Duijn
Rehearsal Chorus of DNO
Klaas-Jan de Groot
Translation Sranantongo
Guus Pengel
Black Harmony
Orlando Ceder
Jamal Bynoe
Morenzo Bruma
Derillio Alexander
Jurmen Mac-Nack
Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Bora Balci
Thomas de Bruijn
Milan Faas
Matthijs Mesdag
Fabian Homburg
Dan Radulescu
Danny Westerveel

Sílvia Lanao


Sílvia Lanao (1995, Spain) is a composer fascinated by exploring sound colours and textures. Her open-minded and critical character led her to Amsterdam. Sílvia is currently finishing her master studies in Amsterdam with Richard Ayres and Jorrit Tamminga.

Stijn Dijkema


Dijkema always starts from a social imperative and then chooses a radical form to match it; his work is not unambiguous. He has directed, among other things, text theatre, dance films, location theatre and events.

Han Ruiz Buhrs

Set designer

Han Ruiz Buhrs (1989) is, more than a set designer, above all a spatial thinker who likes to work outside of the theatre. The use of space and the spectator's experience are central. This is his artistic starting point and often translates into an idiosyncratic placement of the audience and a grand gesture as an intervention in the space.

Isabel van Hauwe


Isabel van Hauwe (1993) is a dramaturge and a second-year student of the master’s programme International Dramaturgy at the University of Amsterdam. This year, she worked as a dramaturge on the project #rituals, which was part of the Opera Forward Festival 2020, and on the production Earwash of Alberto Granados Reguilon at the Gaudeamus Festival 2020.


Dutch National Opera presents OFFspring, a series of four special productions by young theatre makers and artists who have participated in previous editions of our Opera Forward Festival. For their projects, the different creative teams engage in a dialogue with the major opera titles that Dutch Nationale Opera had originally programmed this autumn, as well as with the various districts of the city of Amsterdam and its residents.

The assignment of the artistic team of In Proximity was: create a new opera that takes the opera Aida and the district of Amsterdam-Zuidoost as a starting point.

Learn more about OFFspring

Support us

Are you enjoying our online programming and would you like to support Dutch National Opera? You can do so via the following button:

Support us