Season 2023/2024

Con gioia e con amore: met vreugde en met liefde! With joy and with love, we bring you our new season that has joy and love as its central themes. The world of opera is one of magic, fiction, drama, rapture, emotion and sizzling passion. Does this world exist only on stage, behind the velvet curtain, in the wings? Or is the link between opera and our own living world a lot closer than thought? In one of the most beautiful metaphors about art, American author Thomas Williams describes how on a vast plain a small fire burns at dusk. Attracted by this fire, people gather from all directions; everyone has brought their own fuel and throws it into the flames. The little fire blazes up into an immense bonfire, whose glow makes the beauty of all faces shine. This parable captures the essence of opera: the coming together of the most diverse disciplines and people to celebrate a joyous fire of connection. The dark plain from Williams’ story is also unfortunately recognisable: we live in complicated and challenging times where every sparkle of light and every bonfire is welcome. And that is precisely where the beautiful and important role for the arts lies. The function of music, wrote the essayist and playwright Karl Kraus, is “to free the mind from the cramp of everyday life, to relax it, so that we can devote ourselves to life recharged and with a fresh outlook”, in order to fully play our role as human beings in the world. With humour, we constantly bring new glow to reality. And we do so in the company of the ultimate grandmasters of the comic opera repertoire: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Gioacchino Rossini. Mozart’s tender, roguish and profoundly human humour makes for a declaration of love to opera; the shrewd levity of Rossini’s drolly musical humour bubbles and fizzes like a champagne rose.

Der Schauspieldirektor Mozart wrote his brilliant gem Der Schauspieldirektor at the time of Le nozze di Figaro. Did he do that to give space to his frustration? Or did he want to show the audience what theatre is really like? Clashing egos, bickering divas, desperate theatre directors, megalomaniac directors, the tension in the wings and the incessant search for money to make the ‘unmögliche Kunst’ that is opera possible: Mozart knew how to bring harsh reality to the stage relentlessly, lovingly and humorously. Singer, author, director and fine humourist Christopher Gillett creates an opera for Opera Zuid about making opera, drawing richly from his own career on the opera stage. This satirical and fiery declaration of love to Mozart and to opera will transport you, under the inspiring direction of Enrico Delamboye. None other than Mozart legend Sir Thomas Allen leads the magnificent cast!

La scala di seta / Il signor Bruschino Director Marcos Darbyshire creates a love letter to bel canto grandmaster Gioacchino Rossini. Together with designer Agnes Hasun, conductor Sander Teepen and young bel canto specialist Pedro Beriso, he creates a delightful diptych from the playfully hopping farces La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder) and Il signor Bruschino (Mr Bruschino), in which there may be enjoyed above all the beautiful singing (‘bel canto’), the brilliant humour of the very young composer and the almost culinary delicacy of the sparkling music. Rossini had the unique talent of making the workings of the opera genre itself a source of shrewd humour and self-irony. As such, this diptych is perfectly in line with Mozart’s operatic satire.

Een lied voor de maan Mozart’s playful and tender humour is also around the corner in Mathilde Wantenaar’s wonderful score for our family opera A Song for the Moon! The Mole feels sorry for the moon, which must always be lonely in the sky. He wants to cheer up the moon with a song, but only when he discovers how to get a happy note into his song (by turning the ‘mole’ into a ‘cross’!) does a bright smile appear in the moonshine. In this story by Toon Tellegen, the power of art and humour is indispensable. An enchanting opera for our very youngest audiences, and for anyone young at heart.

Samen voor jong talent The new crop of top young talents at the National Opera Studio, the voices of tomorrow, go in search, in the classical opera repertoire, of the connection with today’s world and the future. Together with up-and-coming top director Kenza Koutchoukali (who at Opera Zuid realised wonderful projects such as Bonsai Garden and Gold!), personal, poetic and stimulating answers are given to the question of the role of opera in building the world of tomorrow. Opera as an unfinished past future. After L’elisir d’amore, Orphée | l’Amour | Eurydice and Ändere die Welt!, we continue our collaboration with the Dutch Reisopera and De Nationale Opera on talent development.

Malpertuis Neighbourhood Opera The bonfire finally flares up in our annual community opera: Buurt Opera Malpertuis (BOM). Last season, with The Impossible Dream, local residents from Malpertuis celebrated the strong connection they feel with their neighbourhood. The personal stories of the residents and music are brought together in these unique performances by director Tamara Jongerden, vocal coach Ginette Puylaert and musical director Tim Sabel. This year, this music-theatrical feast focuses on human communication, making each voice resonate in a multi-voiced reality.

We hope to meet you again in large numbers around our bonfire next season! On behalf of the entire Opera Zuid team and all our artists; Con gioia e con amore!

Waut Koeken Intendant