Highlights of the Opera Days Rotterdam 2015 anniversary edition

Operadagen Rotterdam (Opera Days Rotterdam) is celebrating its 10th anniversary and treating the public to ten days of opera from 22 through 31 May, in authentic Rotterdam style. Using courage as a guiding light and the city as its stage, the festival presents ground-breaking opera and music theatre in surprising venues. The 10th edition will be kicking off with the Dutch première of Christoph Marthaler's King Size in the Rotterdamse Schouwburg. The other programme highlights will also be staged for the first time in the Netherlands during Operadagen Rotterdam.

Theme: Equality
After 'Liberty' (2013) and 'Fraternity' (2014), this year's edition focuses on 'Equality', completing the three-part series entitled (R)evolution. Inspired by Thomas Jefferson's famous phrase, 'All men are created equal', this motto seems more relevant than ever. How equal are we in a time when there is less and less room for diversity, and freedom of expression is under increasing pressure? Operadagen Rotterdam responds to current issues, exploring the limits of opera and music theatre in today's society.

The complete programme will be announced on 25 March. Ticket sales have already started for the following highlights:

If there is one place where traditional roles can be turned upside down, it's the conjugal bed. Director Christoph Marthaler opens the anniversary edition of Operadagen Rotterdam on 22 May in the Rotterdamse Schouwburg with King Size, on a stage set consisting of a single king-size bed. Compagnie Marius presents an ode to Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and the B'Rock orchestra and Theater Rotterdam also tumble into the sack together during In bed with Mozart in this trilogy on the theme of the conjugal bed.

Semele tells the tragic love story of a mortal princess who longs to be equal to the gods. Starring soprano Claron McFadden as the mythic figure of Semele, music by the Residentie Orkest and the incorporation of modern art and visual elements, Handel's opera is directed by Sjaron Minailo in an exceptional production at LP2.

Composer David Lang, Pulitzer Prize winner and composer of the year in 2013, presents two premières during Operadagen Rotterdam: Based on the story of Tristan and Isolde, love fail was composed by Lang especially for the renowned Anonymous4 women's quartet, while death speaks is an intense tribute to Schubert's music, in which death speaks for himself.

High-intensity, spine-tingling opera, circus arts and theatrical cinema converge in Daral Shaga, a collaboration by director Fabrice Murgia, composer Kris Defoort and Furia Musica on the inhuman fate of many refugees. It tells a modern tale about migration in the context of human equality and inequality. Acrobats, musicians and singers put the audience in touch with the gripping story of three exiled travellers in search of a new home.

Kaleidoskopville, Lars van Triers' film Dogville, is a musical drama about a strange village inhabited by equally strange musicians. Starting from an empty stage, the Berlin soloists' ensemble Kaleidskop plays together without a conductor, presenting a seeming social utopia that proves less ideal than it originally appears.

Acknowledged acclaim
Based on Hitchcock's suspenseful whodunits, Private View is a thriller opera and one of the programme's highlights. This first opera by composer Annelies van Parys and the 33 1/3 Collective won the FEDORA - Rolf Liebermann Prize for Opera last month, even before its première performance. In the same week, Opera Magazine in the UK nominated Operadagen Rotterdam for an International Opera Award in the Best Opera Festivals category.

"The award and nomination are an acknowledgement of the course we set over the past ten years with Operadagen Rotterdam. With its clear choice of high-profile projects, which is also clearly reflected in the programme for our anniversary edition, the festival has carved out a solid position for itself in the European opera world," says Guy Coolen, artistic director at Operadagen Rotterdam.