The highlights of 50 years DNO
1965 - DER ROSENKAVALIER
The first production of the new company is performed in the theatre of the Amsterdam RAI. All the ladies in the audience are presented with a rose at the Opening Night Gala on November 17, 1965. It is one of the few performances with Gré Brouwenstijn and Cristina Deutekom sharing the same stage. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company, the Jubilee season 2015-2016 is opened by Der Rosenkavalier as well.
1966 - DON CARLO
As Peter Schat’s ‘total theatre’ Labyrint rages through the Carré Theatre, a much more stately performance of Verdi’s Don Carlo takes place in Amsterdam’s Stadsschouwburg. It will prove to be unique as well: the only time Bernard Haitink conducts a production for DNO.
Gré Brouwenstijn excels as Elisabeth; Nicolai Ghiuselev sings Philip II. The voice from heaven is sung by Cristina Deutekom. Marco Bakker makes his appearance in a few supporting roles.
1969 - RECONSTRUCTIE
A collective of composers (Louis Andriessen , Reinbert de Leeuw , Misha Mengelberg , Peter Schat and Jan van Vlijmen) and writers (Hugo Claus and Harry Mulish) turn against American capitalism. There is much ado in the country. De Boerenpartij raises questions in parliament. The Minister of Culture Marga Klompé, who is sitting next to Herbert von Karajan at the opening night in the Carré Theatre, keeps her cool and gives no reaction.
1971 - L'INCORONAZIONE DE POPPEA
The new intendant Hans de Roo is way ahead of his time. His first production is of Monteverdi’s Poppea for which he engages baroque specialists Gustav Leonhardt and Alan Curtis. Cornetto’s and theorbo’s in the orchestrapit – a novelty. Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts L’Orfeo in 1974. Monteverdi’s music is one of the company’s programming leitmotifs from then on. In 2007 a cycle is performed in a regie by Pierre Audi.
1974 - LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
This Figaro is the suprise of the 1974 Holland Festival. Inspiring director Götz Friedrich introduces a new way of rehearsing (6 long weeks – more like a grouptherapy) with remarkably young singers (among them the then still relatively unknown Catherine Malfitano). The opera is stripped of all clichés and placed in a new social context. Despite all comical entanglements it becomes clear how revolutionary the theme must have been when the opera was created.
1977 - ELEKTRA
No one is spared (least the spectator) in the tragedy surrounding Elektra, who ecstatically dances herself to death after the revenge on her father’s murderer. The bloody one-act opera seems to be situated in a sinister slaughterhouse. Harry Kupfer’s regie of the singers is razor sharp. The revivals in 1980 and 1984 are sung by Pauline Tinsley, who impresses with the touching portrayal of the title role.
1977 - MARIA STUARDA
Joan Sutherland is a regular guest at DNO. She is the prima donna without being a diva. She astonishes the audience with her superior singing in Händels Rodelinda (1973), Bellini’s Norma (1978) and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (1982). For Maria Stuarda she teams up with her husband Richard Bonynge, who knows exactly how to conduct his wife, and Huguette Tourangeau, the mezzo with the remarkable voice.
1980 - SATYAGRAHA
The worldpremiere of Satyagraha attracks a whole new audience. Long queues of young people are waiting in line for the box-office. The piece is about the nonviolent resistance movement of Mahatma Gandhi, set on Sanskrit texts. The minimal music of Philip Glass, in combination with the intriguing, dreamlike stage-action enchanted the spectators.
1982 - THE RAKE'S PROGRESS
Composer Stravinsky was inspired by the eighteenth century paintings and etchings by William Hogarth’s in which he portrays the downfall of a frivolous boy. However, the flashy staging by director David Alden seems to be more inspired by the surrealist Magritte. Neil Rosenshein is the Tom Rakewell who enters the stage on a motorbike.
1987 - IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA
It is the first season in the new house. Het Muziektheater opened its doors in September 1986. The first hit of the new intendant Jan van Vlijmen is Rossini’s Barbiere in the witty staging by Dario Fo. The spectators tumble from one surprise to another. The production is a huge national and international success. Guestperformances are played all over Europe.
1987 - TRISTAN UND ISOLDE
After the publicly acclaimed success production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the new production of Tristan und Isolde encounters much resistance. There is a massive round of boos at the opening night for stage director Jürgen Gosch. The bravos are directed to the Concertgebouworkest and conductor Hartmut Haenchen, who was appointed as musical director and chief conductor after Edo de Waart had withdrawn.
1990 - PARSIFAL
Klaus Michael Grüber is originally a theater director, but he is covered in praise after his staging of Parsifal. The sober production is stripped of all cliché gestures and features strongly evocative details. No one will ever forget the entrance of the meters-long table with the Grail knights.
1990 - IL RITORNO D'ULISSE IN PATRIA
Pierre Audi is appointed artistic director of DNO in 1988. His first regie for the company is an immediate hit. It is the beginning of a new Monteverdi cycle. He uses the special features of the stage of Het Muziektheater. The design creates intimacy and allows the spectator to come closer to the action.
1994 - WOZZECK
A sold out house for this radically austere, and deeply poignant Wozzeck. The 15 scenes are ingeniously linked in Wolfgang Gussmann’s setdesign – a yellow box with black houses of different sizes. The production is directed by Willy Decker and John Bröcheler is unforgettable in his portrayal of the eternal outsider.
1994 - ROSA, A HORSE DRAMA
The world premiere of an opera about sex, violence and death! Rosa is a composer of film music who rather makes love with his horse than his mistress. There is a paradoxical beauty in the cinematic images of violence that Peter Greenaway created. Louis Andriessen wrote a masterly score.
1995 -MOSES UND ARON
Pierre Boulez conducts the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Schoenberg's unfinished opera . The set of Karl-Ernst Herrmann reminds of a golden desert extending beyond the orchestra pit. The audience is blinded by the backdrop of light at the end of the performance. The Chorus of DNO is the star of the show in Peter Stein’s realistic regie.
1997 - DIALOGUES DES CARMELITÉS
Sixteen nuns are killed by the guillotine during the French Revolution. Sixteen times Poulenc drops the inevitable ax in the final scene. The evocative and poignant staging by Robert Carsen and designer Michael Levine has become an important export production. It is seen everywhere in the world.
1997-1998 - DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN
The production of Wagner's tetralogy is a milestone in the history of DNO. In 1997-1998 the four opera’s are individually premiered followed by the full cycle a year later. Pierre Audi creates both spectacular effects with the overwhelming sets by George Tsypin and intimacy with his direction of the personal drama of gods en demigods. The orchestra has a new position in every opera, turning anticlockwise until it has come full circle in Götterdämmerung. Hartmut Haenchen counters the acoustic challenges with a transparent interpretation.
2000 - RÊVES D'UN MARCO POLO
The performances of this production are in sharp contract with the enourmous scale of the Ring. It is the first production to be mounted in the Westergasfabriek. It brings together the last works that Vivier composed as an ‘opéra fleuve’, before he was killed by a boy in Paris.
Even the musicians are part of the staging and play the hypnotizing music by heart.
2003 - LES TROYENS
Almost as colossal as Wagner's Ring: Les Troyens by Berlioz . It is the first staged performance in the Netherlands. The opera lasts five and a half hours. Pierre Audi directs the work as a choreographer, sensitive to every turn in the music. Edo de Waart is the experienced guide, leading his musicians and the audience through the peaks and valleys of the fantastic score.
2006 - LADY MACBETH VAN MTSENSK
The performances are the highlight of the 2006 Holland Festival. Standing ovations for the Concertgebouw Orchestra and its chief conductor Mariss Jansons, for the strong cast and especially Eva-Maria Westbroek, and for the director Martin Kusej who ruthlessly exposes the raw realism of the opera.
2010 - A DOG'S HEART
The world premiere of Raskatov’s satirical opera harvests exuberant cheers from the audience. There is a carefully orchestrated chaos both on stage and in the pit. A stray dog is transformed into a man, but poses a real threat to its environment. Simon McBurney rocks the house, as he will do again two and a half years later with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.
2012 - THE LEGEND OF THE INVISIBLE CITY OF KITEZH AND THE MAIND FEVRONIYA
The performances of this rarely staged work by Rimsky-Korsakov win DNO the International Opera Award for best production of 2012. Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov has designed the enchanting scenery himself. The Chorus of DNO gives a standout performance. There is also much praise for Marc Albrecht, since 2011 chief conductor of the company.
2012 - DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE
This is the seventh new production of Die Zauberflöte seventh in half a century. Public and press are enthusiastic about the theatrical inventiveness of Simon McBurney. Birds are portrayed by flapping A4 pages in the hands of the actors . Thomas Oliemans as Papageno is the darling of the public.
2014 - GURRE-LIEDER
Another first when Schönbergs colossal Gurre-Lieder is performed on a stage rather than a concerthall. It is a venture that turns out to be a triumph. Pierre Audi illustrates the dark fairy tale with evocative images. Marc Albrecht is the general of his army of singers and musicians, with the Chorus of DNO in a star role.
Exhibit created by
Liesbeth Kruyt, Marijn Maas
For Dutch National Opera & Ballet