Willem Jeths – Ritratto on stage by the Dutch National Opera

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Willem Jeths’ new opera about the extravagant Italian art muse and patron Luisa Casati had its offline world premiere. The video registration of this new opera was an online great success during the lockdown. Now the opera is finally being performed for a live audience. The production is directed by Marcel Sijm, with costumes by famed designer Jan Taminiau…   

Luisa Casati

The excessively wealthy Italian Marquesa Casati strove to be seen throughout her life. She was famous for the exuberant parties she organized. She was portrayed and photographed by the great artists of her age. With her black-rimmed eyes, her flaming red hair and eccentric behaviour she tried to gain a place in the art world. Against the background of the outbreak of the First World War, librettist Frank Siera questions the relevance of art. At one of Casati’s parties, Siera brings together all sorts of artists from the time of Casati. Casati does not engage with worldly problems and focuses blindly on her passion and her artistic ideals.

Willem Jeths

In composing operas such as Ritratto, Willem Jeths – who was the Netherlands’ first national composer between 2014 and 2016 – manipulates orchestral colours and deliberately selects timbres to match his protagonists. ‘Im convinced that music can be stronger and more expressive if people can relate to it.

Team and Cast

Design and libretto
Marcel Sijm’s productions combine an element of surprise with plenty of humour and an emphasis on splashy design. His collaboration with set designer Marc Warning in Legende was a fine example of this. For Ritratto, Marc Warning once again designed the set. In this opera, we can look forward to costumes designed by Jan Taminiau, whose creations include the famous blue cloak that Queen Máxima wore at King Willem-Alexander’s coronation. The brand new libretto is by the young writer and director Frank Siera, who graduated from the Toneelacademie in 2012. In addition to writing for Dutch National Opera, he also wrote for Veenfabriek, KASSETT, Operafront and De Queeste. Choreographer Zino Ainsley Schat translates the theme of ‘being seen’ into voguing, a dance style in which posing and direct focus on appearance is the basis.

Dutch National Opera Studio
Dutch National Opera Studio was launched on 1 September 2018 as an intensive training programme for six talented young vocalists and one répétiteur. Under the inspiring direction of soprano Rosemary Joshua, it strives to create a bridge between conservatories and professional practice, providing a showcase for young talent at a myriad of events and venues from lunchtime concerts to the main stage.

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Tickets for the performances in October

Score in the Donemus Catalogue