Fantasio (2019)

17 May ’19 > 30 June ’19


The delightful romantic comedy from the grand master of comic opera. Co-production with Club Guy & Roni’s Poetic Disasters Club and FASHIONCLASH.

About jesters and fools, about love and folly, about war and masquerade. Henri – alias Fantasio – is a young student who dreams of giving his life a different direction.

When the king’s jester dies, he decides to take his place, hoping to win the heart of Princess Elsbeth…

Fantasio is an ode to fantasy, a satire disguised as a fairytale and a touching love story that oscillates in a unique way between hilarious humor and tender poetry. This unique pearl – to be experienced for the first time in the Netherlands! – shows a completely different side of Jacques Offenbach, the godfather of operetta and cancan: that of a sensitive and extraordinarily refined musician.

As part of the Offenbach year, Opera Zuid will perform Fantasio from 19 May 2019, an opera whose score went up in flames in a fire at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1887 and – after a not-so-professional attempted revival in the 1930s – was only reconstructed in a historically responsible manner in 2000.

Although the work is completely new to the contemporary listener, certain parts of the work will sound familiar to the opera audience. After all, various parts or themes from the work were recycled in his most famous opera Les contes d’Hoffmann. The student chorus from the first act has been reproduced in its entirety, and the “leitmotif” of Antonia’s mother’s voice in the third act of Les Contes d’Hoffmann is originally from the overture of Fantasio.

Fantasio bears references to great classics. Just as Hamlet mourns the death of his beloved court jester Yorick in Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name, Fantasy also starts with a grieving princess Elsbeth trying to come to terms with the death of her beloved court jester Saint Jean.

It is against this background that the story of a young student starts who dreams of changing his life. The court jester’s death creates an opportunity that Fantasio seizes with both hands. He gets hold of the jester’s clothes and decides to take his place, hoping to win the heart of Princess Elsbeth.

This romantic comedy plays, in typical Offenbachian fashion, against a background of intelligent political and social satire. Hilarious and moving scenes alternate in a delightful performance that focuses on the magic of the theater and the comic tragedy of the clown. A Dutch world premiere of a nineteenth-century pearl that you should not miss.

Fantasio is performed in French with Dutch surtitles.


Fantasio Romie Estèves
La Princesse Elsbeth Anna Emelianova
Le Roi de Bavière Huub Claessens
Le Prince de Mantoue Roger Smeets
Marinoni Thomas Morris
Sparck Ivan Thirion
Facio Jeroen de Vaal
Flamel Francis van Broekhuizen
Hartmann Rick Zwart
Max Jacques de Faber
in the spoken roles Peter Vandemeulebroecke
Dancer Zora Westbroek
Dancer Isaiah Selleslaghs
Dancer Sandy Ceesay
Dancer Lúri Costa


Direction Benjamin Prins
Musical direction Enrico Delamboye
Set- and costume design Lola Kirchner
Choreography Dunja Jocic
Light design Andre Pronk
Choir direction and assistant musical direction (conducts performances in Tilburg, The Hague and Valkenburg) Klaas-Jan de Groot
Orchestra philharmonie zuidnederland
Choir Theaterkoor Opera Zuid i.s.m. Kooracademie Maastricht