Season 2024/2025

Welcome! The fantastic dimension of reality.
The concept of fantastic is central to our 2024-2025 season. In the sense of ‘great and grand’, but especially as ‘born from fantasy’. Fantasy, then, as an appeal to the inexhaustible imagination of man in answering questions about who we (want to) be. We live in challenging times where our capacity for imagination can serve more than ever as a compass and source of inspiration. Opera, as a multiple and fantastic art form, is able to express extraordinary reality in languages ​​beyond words.

The fantastic reality reveals itself in fairy tales but also in our daily lives, because it is our reality that is fantastic. And what could be more fantastic than the intimate love relationship we enter into with another?

Blauwbaards Burcht
This is the case in Bartók’s Blauwbaards Burcht, directed by Kenza Koutchoukali. In this fantastic story we enter the castle of her beloved Bluebeard together with Judith. There Judith discovers that getting to know the other person sometimes also means ‘showing parts of your inner self that you would have preferred to keep secret from the other person, perhaps even from yourself’. Recognizable human themes are discussed, because how do you share your inner truth with your most intimate partner?

In this Bartók project, together with our partner Philzuid, we search for the boundaries of the fantastic, where the orchestra itself – seated on stage – will embody the unfathomably mysterious castle. Under the inspiring musical direction of chief conductor Duncan Ward, the phenomenal Thomas Oliemans makes his role debut as Bluebeard, alongside the unsurpassed and seasoned Deirdre Angenent as Judith.

Le Villi
We are also particularly proud of Puccini’s youth work Le Villi in our programming. A dance opera that, wrongly, is very rarely performed outside Italy: unique and therefore not to be missed! Villi are spirits of all those who died of a broken heart. They live in the forest and this dark forest in Le Villi symbolizes getting lost in life.

Just like Blauwbaards Burcht, this opera gem revolves around an intimate human relationship. The main characters Anna and Roberto have to relate to a fantastic outside world. But the story is also about trust, losing each other and forgiveness. Themes that are recognizable to everyone, captured in beautiful and heartbreaking music by a young Puccini. Especially for this production, the talented and also young composer Karmit Fadael has written a new work for Opera Zuid as a prelude to Puccini’s work, from the perspective of a young woman today; as a meditative mirror on the story of Le Villi.

None other than the famous aerialist, choreographer and director Dreya Weber directs and makes her opera directorial debut with Le Villi. The renowned Karel Deseure, who previously achieved fame as a permanent guest conductor, conducts a cast of astonishing talents, led by Sílvia Sequeira as Anna.

In addition to Blauwbaards Burcht, we will be presenting more work by Kenza Koutchoukali this fall. Kenza is an exceptional talent with whom we share the motto ‘the fantastic dimension of reality’. We are therefore proud to place her at the center of our programming!

For example, Kenza’s direction of Leonard Evers’ contemporary and successful children’s opera Goud!, based on a Grimm fairy tale, can be seen again this season. Talking about a fantastic dimension of reality; In this play, a talking fish and a turbulent sea teach Jacob about the human trait of greed.

The Four Note Opera
In The Four Note Opera by Tom Johnson, Kenza, together with scenographer and designer Yannick Verweij (who also designed Blauwbaard), worked with young makers and singers about the future and the fantastic expressiveness of opera. This opera shows a unique and masterful combination of profound and radical questions and disarming, hilarious humor! With this project we also continue the unique young talent partnership between Dutch National Opera, Nederlandse Reisopera and Opera Zuid.

Dido and Aneneas
These emerging talents will once again take center stage in the spring in a unique concert-theatrical performance of Purcell’s famous Dido and Aeneas. Once again it is about a vulnerable intimate relationship that has to relate to a fantastic outside world, in which this time ‘witchcraft’ plays a role: love leaves us ‘bewitched and bewildered’. Deeply human themes such as jealousy and heartbreak are expressed in a breathtaking way. The project is conducted by rising star Camille Delaforges. Top soprano and artistic director of the National Opera Studio, Rosemary Joshua, is responsible for the direction. This pair alone guarantees a unique and fantastic experience.

Buurt Opera Malpertuis (BOM) This season we are also proud to present a special anniversary edition of our community opera Buurt Opera Malpertuis (BOM). The exciting bridge from the socially human to the artistically fantastic, at the intersection between art and well-being, that is what the BOM is. When the local residents take over the stage of Opera Zuid, something incredible happens: their personal stories embody the fantastic dimension of reality.

The operas we are staging this year are all about humanity: about goodness, love and strength, the ‘light’. But also about revenge, greed and demons, the ‘dark’. So man, in all his completeness, in the (stage) light.

‘There is much in the world that baffles your mind, but nothing that baffles you more than man.’ – Sophocles

We hope to be able to take many of you into the fantastic dimension of human reality this season.

Intendant Waut Koeken and team Opera Zuid