The company they tried to kill has just won Opera of the Year

The company they tried to kill has just won Opera of the Year


norman lebrecht

December 30, 2013

When the last Dutch Government went looking for human sacrifices in an onslaught on the arts, top of its agenda for abolition was the National Touring Opera (Reiseoper), a company that takes opera to low-lying parts unreached by other arts.

A campaign was mounted and the company was, at the last gasp, saved.

This morning we learn that its production of Tristan und Isolde, which opened in September, has been voted Opera of the Year by the Dutch opera magazine.

Tristan en IsoldeNationale Reisopera fotografie Marrco Borggreve


Photo: Marco Borggreve / Nationale Reisopera

The cast included Claudia Iten, Anne-Marie Owens, Robert Künzli and Yorck Felix Speer. The director was Jakob Peters-Messer and the conductor Antony Hermus.

Reiseoper chief Nicolas Mansfield tells Slipped Disc:

‘I am extremely proud of everyone who kept believing in the Reisopera, especially our beloved audiences.The cuts to our subsidy of 60% have been overcome with sheer determination by everbody involved, and a heartfelt belief that opera is worth fighting for’


  • 2013 has been a year that we will never forget. I am enourmously thrilled with this award, and tremendously grateful to the Tristan team ( special thanks to the Noord Nederlands Orkest from Groningen) and everyone at the Reisopera who has made this possible. Our belief in the importance of opera has inspired and motivated us in this year of pioneering. New partners, new choices, and new beginnings. So, if you find yourself fighting for survival, keep dreaming. And above all, work hard!

  • sixtus says:

    A performance of this Tristan production from 22 September can be heard online at Netherlands Radio’s magnificent Concerthuis concert-replay system:

  • Thanks for sharing, Sixtus!

  • PK Miller says:

    Congratulations to them both for their honor & avoiding extinction! I guess it isn’t just in the States that arts-bashing is a popular sport.

  • Thank you PK! Indeed! Many politicians know all too well what it costs, but not exactly what it’s worth. Our task is to prove that worth within the realism of the current financial climate. It’s about making tough choices sometimes, but above all it’s about the right of every individual to this wonderful art form.

  • E. says:

    Dear Norman. The company name is Nationale Reisopera, although their homebase Enschede is only a few kilometers from Germany they are still Dutch, not German.