Dutch National Opera manages 12 new productions

Dutch National Opera manages 12 new productions


norman lebrecht

February 18, 2019

Twice as many as the Met.

Among them: the company’s first Nabucco and Cenerentola, with Isabel Leonard and Lawrence Brownlee; Rodelinda with Bejun Mehta and Lawrence Zazzo; and a Katie Mitchell staging of Die Frau ohne Schatten.



Details here.


  • boringfileclerk says:

    Will there be staging of any of John Bortslap’s operas?

    • John Borstlap says:

      Of course not, since he is ‘persona non grata’ in Holland. And then, he has written only one, and a short one at that.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    It is a shame their venue is not a great one. The acoustics of the pit in particular is problematic. Non of the great orchestras sound impressive when they play there.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Worse, it is a disaster. The auditorium ‘sounds’ like a dracula coffin (all cement around) and the pit is much too broad and not deep enough. When the Dutch want an opera house, they want it on the cheap, since opera is merely some elitist entertainment whereupon one should not waste too much tax money.

    • David Murphy says:

      I thought this was a modern opera house. Clearly, given the forces and constraints involved, there is not going to be the ability, unlike in a concert hall, to achieve a perfectly balanced sound to all parts of the auditorium.

  • Larry Dankel says:

    Enough with the Met bashing! People are going to think you’re a biased old curmudgeon!

  • David Murphy says:

    They had a critically acclaimed Die Frau ohne Schatten a few years ago. Wish I’d seen it. Is this a revival, or a new production? Trust the Dutch to be obsessed with a work that is technically difficult to stage.

    • John Borstlap says:

      One can also trust that the work will go through the Regieoper filter so that staging will be adapted to available practical possibilities.

    • David Murphy says:

      Well I just investigated the Dutch National Opera’s 2019 “reprise” of Die Frau and it is a stripped back production by Katie Mitchell and NOT the acclaimed 2008 richly reimagined Andreas Homoki directed production. What a shame! Needless to say I can do without any of Mitchell’s sexism axe grinding in a fairy tale opera – perhaps the last grand opera written – that I cherish. I will not be bothering.

    • it will be a new production. A THIRD one!

      • David Murphy says:

        With a director (Mitchell) who describes the opera as another “brooding mare” blah blah blah “problem” that needs to be rescued. Count me out!

  • Monsoon says:

    Another tiresome jab at the Met.

    Met productions are lavish and spectacular — that’s what distinguishes them from other opera houses. They can’t afford to do 12 new productions a year. And Gelb inherited a lot of old and/or uninspired productions from Volpe that he has done good work replacing. Frankly, the situation was pretty bad at the end of the Volpe tenure. There were productions like “Don Carlo” that dated from the late 1970s; third-rate productions like “L’Elisir d’Amore” (it looked like community theater); and phoned-in productions from Zeffirelli, like “Carmen.”

    There are also so much politics involved with new productions at the Met. Gelb has certainly made mistakes, but patrons are extremely resistant to change, and especially hate anything that takes a risk. Just look at the reaction to the new “Cosi fan tutte.” The production wasn’t perfect, but way better than typical period stagings (especially the last two Met productions). It was delightful and the kind of production that can help bring in new audiences. The nitpicking from critics was just insane — they were basically upset that there was so much laughter at the opera.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Some of the new productions at the Met these days can be described as anything but lavish. Think of the ugly Iolanta, Otello and Tristan und Isolde from recent past. Drab, cheap and boring. Bartlett Sher dresses everyone in long leather coats. I suppose there is something to be said about saving on costumes. Then there is another extreme-recent la Traviata, so garish and over the top. There are operas where updating works. Cosi is not one of them. The already silly plot becomes absurd when played in modern dress and the amusement park setting and all the extras did not help.I do agree that if the company dispenses with sets, costumes and any regard for the historical and period details, then it becomes possible to put on many more new productions

  • Mike Schachter says:

    Katie Mitchell and Die Frau ohne Schatten! A surfeit of pleasure for masochists.

  • Dave T says:

    My initial reaction upon seeing the photo was: that AOC sure is everywhere!

    • LEWES BIRD says:

      Any links for other “impressions” in Albanian, Finnish and Basque? Since apparently putting articles in a language that won’t be readable to 99.9% of civilised people, including readers of this blog, is a thing now.

      I never cease to be amazed by the irrational pride the Dutch and Flemings (have you checked out the supertitles at De Vlaamse Opera recently, or the programmes at DNO?) take in their ugly irrelevant language(s). There’s something to be learned from the Swedes — or even the Germans, and the latter don’t even need to bother to accommodate others as they do, since their language is neither ugly, nor irrelevant, nor unknown or not spoken by large swathes of educated people.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Dutch is not an ugly language, and certainly not as ugly as Scandinavian languages. It is a grey language with infinite possibilities of nuance, covering most human affections, except the grandiose which sounds like a trumpet being played in the toilet. And since almost all Dutch people speak English as well (like in India and Pakistan), there is no reason to puke on them with unfounded ignorant complaints.

        • LEWES BIRD says:

          You’re absolutely right — if one is Dutch, as you are.

          I’m neither Dutch nor Scandinavian, but I think Swedish (which was but an example in my original message) is far, far more mellifluous than Dutch. If my opinion matters. But my opinion doesn’t matter, so let’s go back to facts.

          What not even you can argue against is that Dutch is not an important international language. It just isn’t. So for someone to post shit on this forum *in Dutch* one has to be either exceptionally provincial, or exceptionally delusional, or exceptionally stupid and self-centred. I’m glad to say *you* aren’t. See, that was a compliment!