Der Schauspieldirektor

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

10 November ’23 > 3 December ’23
Director Christopher Gillett
Musical Director Enrico Delamboye
Photo: Bjorn Frins


Using pre-premiere drama to create an opera, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did it! In the brilliant comedy Der Schauspieldirektor, the composer ridicules the opera world. Everything comes up, from rival singers, big egos and hectic rehearsals to arguments on stage.

Mozart was able to draw abundantly from his own experiences for Der Schauspieldirektor, as did director, author and opera singer Christopher Gillett. He wrote the new play text and directs Der Schauspieldirektor at Opera Zuid, with a wealth of hilarious experiences in mind. All-rounder Gillett thus gives a look behind the stage curtains and follows Mozart in his loving satire about the opera company.

Together with conductor Enrico Delamboye and a top cast, he brings out the sparkling lightness of this funny and inventive score. Because of course Mozart’s fantastic music is central! This comedy with music shows his genius on both the dramatic and psychological level with theatrical style.

Der Schauspieldirektor is sung in German and Italian, with spoken texts in Dutch and English, and with Dutch and English surtitles.

IN CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER GILLETT As an opera singer, you obviously know the opera world very well. Can we expect personal stories and anecdotes? ‘I definitely draw on my own experiences, but it’s mainly a show about creating and performing a show. I see it as an opportunity to talk about how absurd opera sometimes is and how that absurdity can spill over, making the genre fantastically transcendent and rising above the ordinary.’

Absurd and transcendent? ‘Yes, actually I have a love-hate relationship with opera. Of course it is madness to want to make a living as an opera singer. Artist life is often frustrating and lonely. Opera singers and other theatre-makers are very normal people, but as soon as they are on stage, they transform into something exceptional. Sometimes it’s just ludicrous what we are doing, while other times the mere physical act of singing itself is great theatre. Opera bounces back and forth between ridiculous and sublime. In this piece, I want to make fun at the ridiculous.’

Not a high-falutin’ opera, but fun and entertainment? ‘Yes! Mozart himself called it a comedy with music. Visitors of Der Schauspieldirektor will just have a fun evening. That’s also how Mozart wrote it, as entertainment.’

So this comedy with music is not just for opera lovers? ‘Absolutely not. Of course, avid operagoers will understand some of the jokes better, but newcomers will also enjoy this. At least I hope! In any case, you don’t need to have any prior knowledge.’

The text of Der Schauspieldirektor is nowadays often adapted because it is no longer up to date. How does that work in your version? ‘I completely rewrote the play text, except for the opening line. And because the original opera only contains five – albeit wonderful – pieces of music, we have incorporated even more beautiful music by Mozart that fits well with the content of the piece. So it has become a kind of goodie bag full of Mozart’s masterful music!’

Do you want to give us a hint about what Der Schauspieldirektor will look like? ‘I don’t want to give away too much just yet. The curtain rises in front of a beautiful, seventeenth-century decor from a nineteenth-century perspective. What happens next…I’ll keep that a secret for now, because that’s part of the fun.’


Leo Sir Thomas Allen
Lisa Saskia Bonarius
Mademoiselle Silberklang Kristina Bitenc
Madame Herz Chelsea Bonagura
Buff Marc Pantus
Herr Vogelsang Mitch Raemaekers
Eva e.a. Neele Jacobsen
Jaap e.a. Pascal Franssen
Huub e.a. Berend Stumphius


Concept, libretto & direction Christopher Gillett
Musical direction Enrico Delamboye
Scenography & light design Bretta Gerecke
Costume design Leo van den Boorn
Dramaturgy Joep Hupperetz
Assistant musical direction Lochlan Brown
Direction assistent Lysanne van Overbeek
Assistant decor Nathalie Smeets
Assistant lightdesign MartinJan Gaasbeek
philharmonie zuidnederland Orchestra



Sir Thomas Allen: ‘It remains a minefield between the ears’

Sir Thomas Allen: ‘It remains a minefield between the ears’

Sopranos Kristina Bitenc and Chelsea Bonagura about opera and rivalry

Opera celebrities Sir Thomas Allen and Christopher Gillett in conversation

Programmaboekje Der Schauspieldirektor

Saskia Bonarius on her role as an actress in Der Schauspieldirektor

‘Christopher Gillett (and Mozart) wrote an opera within an opera about making an opera.’


Fri 10.11.2023

Parktheater Eindhoven


Sun 12.11.2023

Parktheater Eindhoven


Tue 14.11.2023

Theater Rotterdam

Thu 16.11.2023

Chassé Theater

Sat 18.11.2023

Schouwburg Concertzaal Tilburg

Tue 21.11.2023

De Lawei

Thu 23.11.2023

Den Haag

Sat 25.11.2023

Stadsschouwburg Utrecht

Thu 30.11.2023

Parkstad Limburg Theaters

Sun 3.12.2023

Theater aan het Vrijthof