De Nationale Opera presenteert

Innocence Kaija Saariaho (1952)

WHO IS free of guilt?

Tijdsduur 1:45

Van Kaija Saariaho

Taal English

Boventitels Dutch

Due to the current measures against the further spread of the coronavirus, this production by Dutch National Opera will unfortunately not be able to go ahead this autumn. Read more information here:

The new opera Innocence is based on a true story that took place in Finland in 2007. An international school became the stage for a school shooting. The opera tells a modern-day story about guilt, forgiveness and the feeling of a ‘life sentence’ brought on by a traumatic experience. A theme that is still shockingly topical.


With Innocence, Dutch National Opera presents the latest work by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, set to a text by the best-selling Finnish author Sofi Oksanen.

Ten years after the traumatic event at school, the gunman’s younger brother marries, hoping to leave this ordeal behind him. However, the wedding unravels into a confrontation with the past. For all involved, the traumas resurface and the line between victim and perpetrator seems to gradually fade.

    do 20 feb Financial Times about Only the Sound Remains, 2016 ****

    ‘Kaija Saariaho’s subtle and meticulous blend of live electronics with acoustic sound can create curtains and washes of sound, sensual and evocative in ways that have become her trademark.’

    do 20 feb Het Parool about Only the Sound Remains****

    'Dreamscapes full of enchantment'

    do 20 feb Theaterkrant about Only the Sound Remains

    'Saariaho creates a colourful palette of delicate sounds: it shimmers, whispers, rustles, lisps, squeaks, and murmurs in the orchestra pit.'


The young, Australian theater, film and opera director Simon Stone will make his debut at Dutch National Opera. After Émilie (2010) and Only the sound remains (2016), the world’s most-often performed living composer Kaija Saariaho returns with Innocence for her third production at DNO. Musical director of the production is Saariaho’s compatriot Susanna Mälkki, a specialist of contemporary music, who now makes her house debut. The Dutch-Iranian soprano Lilian Farahani returns to DNO to sing the role of the bride Stela.

Kaija Saariaho


KAIJA SAARIAHO studied composition in Helsinki, Freiburg and Paris and is a prominent member of a group of Finnish composers with a worldwide impact.

Dutch premiere
Opera in five acts (2020)Sung in English

Sofi Oksanen

Composition-commission and co-production of Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Dutch National Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden (London), Finnish National Opera (Helsinki) and San Francisco Opera.

Team, Cast en Koor

Musical director
Susanna Mälkki
Stage direction and dramaturgy
Simon Stone
Chloe Lamford
Costume designer
Mel page
Light designer
James Farncombe
Residentie Orkest
Cappella Amsterdam
Chorus master
Daniel Reuss
Waitress (Tereza)
Paula Murrihy
Mother-in-law (Patricia)
Sandrine Piau
Father-in-law (Henrik)
Tuomas Pursio
Bride (Stela)
Lillian Farahani
Groom (Tuomas)
Markus Nykanen
Jukka Rasilainen
Lucy Shelton
Student (Marketa)
Vilma Jää

Residentie Orkest
Residentie Orkest The Hague is more than 100 years old and belongs to to the great symphonic orchestras of the Netherlands. In anticipation of a new concert hall in The Hague, the orchestra currently performs in the Zuiderstrandtheater in Scheveningen, as well as on important national and international stages. Nicholas Collon is chief conductor and artistic advisor. Recent DNO productions: Dialogues des Carmélites, Madama Butterfly and Nabucco. Residentie Orkest The Hague joins us for Innocence.

Capella Amsterdam
Cappella Amsterdam is renowned for its homogenous, refined consonance and its extraordinary versatility, both modern repertoires as in music by the old masters. It was established in 1970 by Jan Boeke and has since 1990 been under the artistic leadership of Daniel Reuss. In recent years the choir has occupied a prominent position in the field of Dutch music and has enjoyed great success in Europe and beyond. Cappella Amsterdam also enjoys success through collaborations with choirs, ensembles and orchestras, such as Asko|Schönberg, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, musikFabrik, and RIAS Kammerchor. 


Dutch National Opera & Ballet offers an introductory talk 45 minutes before each performance. An expert will share background information, context and interesting details that can give your theatre visit more depth. The talks are in Dutch and are free to all the ticket holders. You can also find an abridged version of the introduction on our website as a podcast.

Time: 45 minutes before the performance
Location: Odeonzaal; ground floor entrance


Step into the world of the makers. Sit back with a drink in an informal setting and enjoy an aria or duet, a pas de deux or small ensemble, or an interview with a singer or choreographer. A varied programme, linked to a topical theme, is presented for each production.

The talks are in Dutch.

Time: September 28, 2020, 20:30 
Location: Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Odeonzaal
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: € 10, € 7,50 (students, CJP, Stadspas)
Free for Giving Circle members of Dutch National Opera, Dutch National Ballet and Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Prices are exclusive of booking charges. Tickets for performances can be purchased separately.