Dutch National Opera presents

Ritratto WILLEM JETHS (1959)

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A living work of art

Duration 1:15

Breaks 0

By Willem Jeths



Interview Jan Taminiau

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Ritratto © Ruth Walz

Luisa Casati

The excessively wealthy Italian Marquesa Casati strove to be seen throughout her life. She was famous for the exuberant parties she organized. She was portrayed and photographed by the great artists of her age. 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 outbreak of the First World War, librettist Frank Siera questions the relevance of art. At one of Casati's parties, Siera brings together all sorts of artists from the time of Casati. Casati does not engage with worldly problems and focuses blindly on her passion and her artistic ideals.

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 create a bridge between conservatories and professional practice, providing a showcase for young talent at a myriad of events and venues from lunchtime concerts to the main stage.


Opera in 7 scenes

Frank Siera

World premiere
7 October 2020
Dutch National Opera & Ballet 

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, Kris Ng (student DNOA), Irene Hoogveld
Alt: Gerben van der Werf (student DNOA), Maria Warenberg, Eline Welle
Tenor: Lucas van Lierop, Zachery Vandermeulen, Milan de Korte
Bas: Frederik Bergman, Dominic Kraemer, Sam Carl
Residentie Orkest The Hague
Luisa C.S. di Soncino
Verity Wingate - Dutch National Opera Studio
Romaine Brooks
Polly Leech - Alumni Dutch National Opera Studio
Gabriele D’Annunzio
Paride Cataldo - Alumni Dutch National Opera Studio
Martin Mkhize - Alumni Dutch National Opera Studio
Sergei Diaghilev
Gerben van der Werf (student DNOA)
Man Ray
Lucas van Lierop - Alumni Dutch National Opera Studio
Jacob Epstein
Frederik Bergman - Dutch National Opera Studio
Kees van Dongen
Dominic Kraemer
Filippo Marinetti
Sam Carl - Dutch National 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 08 Sep Ritratto - Het Parool

    'The melodies are beautiful and are sung by the vocal soloists, all from the Dutch National Opera Studio. Soprano Verity Wingate attracts almost all the attention in the title role, but the others are great too. Magnificent are also the costumes of Jan Taminiau and the sets of Marc Warning. What a joining of talent!'

    Tue 08 Sep Ritratto - Place de l'Opera

    'No less impressive was the role of Luisa Casati created by the British soprano Verity Wingate. An exhausting role, because she is on stage for the full one and a half hour of this opera. Verity Wingate also managed to realize - in voice and attitude - the change to the insane and deeply tragic woman.'

    Tue 05 Feb Trouw about Marcel Sijms- Legende

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

This production was created for the Opera Forward Festival 2020 and is made possible by:

Founding Partners Opera Forward Festival

Production partner Opera Forward Festival

Partner OFF-Talents


Main sponsor Dutch National Opera & Ballet