Please Stay On The Line (BOM 2023)

6 July ’23 > 20 December ’23
Director Tamara Jongerden, Ginette Puylaert
Musical Director Tim Sabel


What I’ve wanted to say…

In the new edition of Buurt Opera Malpertuis (BOM) Please Stay On The Line, we explore how our human voice can sound and be heard.
We, the residents of Malpertuis and other neighborhoods of Maastricht, seize the opportunity to squeeze a highly personal message through the telephone line.
Even if the connection is bad – hello? – or if the voicemail is on, or if we are not being listened to properly – hello? -, or if one is displeased.
We all try to have a say via the ‘good old’ PTT telephone; young and old, singing and playing.

In the musical theater performance Please Stay On The Line you will hear classical music by Benjamin Britten, Francois Poulenc, Kurt Weill and songs by Max Raabe. The music is performed by students from the Maastricht Conservatory together as well as local residents.

Together with local residents, Opera Zuid creates an annual community opera based on the lives and stories of people in Maastricht, with the Malpertuis district of Maastricht as its home base. The personal stories of the residents and music are brought to life in these unique performances by director Tamara Jongerden, singing coach and assistant director Ginette Puylaert and musical director Tim Sabel to form the music-theatrical Buurt Opera Malpertuis (BOM).

Buurt Opera Malpertuis is an initiative of Opera Zuid in collaboration with Conservatorium Maastricht, Trajekt and the Kunstketel and is made possible by Cultuurmakers Maastricht, Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie, Gemeente Maastricht, Elisabeth Strouven Fonds, Stichting Kanunnik Salden Nieuwenhof, Rabobank, De Schepper Delft Stichting, Postcode Loterij Buurtfonds, and the VSBfonds.

Quote from social worker Manon Pachen:
‘Improvisation is an important aspect. When local residents are given the freedom to do and say what they want, the most beautiful things happen.’

Tamara Jongerden:
‘Certainly! This project relies on input and improvisations from the participants. We have conversations about certain themes that we – Tim, Ginette and I – propose. We also do playing, singing and improvisation exercises, in order to speak about the same theme in a different language. Moreover, I have conversations with local residents about their lives, what concerns them and what is going on in their lives in general. During these personal interviews I pay very close attention to what and how people tell their stories. For example, I note their phrasing, the rhythm and the pace at which they speak. Since the texts and movement phrases in the performance come directly from these interviews. The creative team translates the participants’ input, so to speak. We abstract and stylize it into an art form that the residents perform. And improvisation is an important part of that.’

Tamara Jongerden:
‘Through this project, local residents come into much more contact with opera than they were used to. They also tend to appreciate opera more. Since we get together at Opera Zuid, they sometimes see rehearsals and are invited to premieres. Moreover, we also work with opera repertoire during our rehearsal process. And of course the participants choose what they sing during the performance, such as with The Impossible Dream, music by Weill and Offenbach.’

Quote from participant Thea:
“My participation in this project has personally shown me that no matter what challenges come your way, there is always a place to be proud of yourself and have fun.”

Tamara Jongerden:
‘Well said. We are of course real people, with struggles, imperfections and strength. At the neighborhood opera, the stage is the place to share something completely unique with an audience. That’s what I like most about BOM, that the participants really bring authenticity to the musical theater. In my opinion, BOM is valuable for everyone involved. The local residents learn all about text handling, acting, ensemble playing, use of voice, musicality, but also about working attitude on the floor. These tools give them a voice on stage both literally and figuratively.

Tamara Jongerden:
‘I think the added value for (many) participants and visitors is that they do not come into contact with the regular cultural offerings easily. That they can now see: hey, I recognize that, or that is also theater. I like that. And lastly, I am touched as well since it’s a hugely reciprocal process. Even though, I lead, I learn from the participants as they learn from me.’


Acting and vocals Local residents: Anja Vrancken, Joke de Mos, Kitty Jacobs, Dirk den Haan, Riny Geurts, Alice Weltens, Carla Houtappel, Guillaume Stassen, Tara Velting, Hedwig de Vree, Els Schepers, Ellie Peters, Julise Kock


Direction Tamara Jongerden
Vocal coaching and directing assistant Ginette Puylaert
Musical direction Tim Sabel
Production management Lotte Lindelauff
Social work Manon Pachen (Trajekt)
Scenography and props Nathalie Smeets
Scenography Lobke Houkes
Technology Paul Francot


‘Successful Community Opera creates connection in the neighbourhood’

‘Community Opera of Opera Zuid wins 12,000 in Our Neighbourhood final’

‘Opera Zuid gives people from the Malpertuis neighbourhood of Maastricht a voice with a piece of music full of stories’

‘Opera is for everyone: from the couch, in your own neighbourhood’





Thu 6.07.2023

Studio Malpertuis

Public rehearsal

Mon 18.12.2023

Studio Malpertuis


Tue 19.12.2023

Studio Malpertuis


Wed 20.12.2023

Studio Malpertuis