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Operadagen Rotterdam gebruikt haar stad als podium én decor. Veel voorstellingen zijn op onalledaagse en onontdekte locaties in de stad: pleinen, woonkamers, kerken, een oude wasserij, winkels, bovenop de Bijenkorf en zelfs een fitnesscentrum.

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Dear visitor,

Discover Operadagen Rotterdam!
An international opera festival with contemporary, innovative, and ground-breaking productions, created by young and established makers from all over the world. Including a homage to major composers Richard Wagner, Philip Glass and Louis Andriessen, an ode to power women such as Harriet Tubman and Sylvia Plath and the finals of the international competition Music Theatre NOW.


Click on de button ‘Language no problem’ on the left side of the programme page to filter your performances.

At the top of every performance page you will find a button with an English description of the performance.

These are exciting times. The concept of opera is undergoing sweeping change. A remarkably high number of artists and audiences are discovering and exploring new possibilities and breaking new ground with unforeseen combinations of music, vocals, texts, and images. Owing to an underlying need to think out of the box or escape social bubbles? Or a response to new generations and identities with the guts to claim their own territory? Whatever the reason, opera and music theatre are clearly undergoing an unprecedented transformation.

Aptly, Operadagen Rotterdam 2019’s leitmotif is ‘Metamorphosis’. Artists from everywhere – Asia, America, Australia, and Europe – present their individual views on the changes in the world. They thematise fears of the new or, alternatively, show there is hope. They demonstrate how ancient stories transmute when moving from culture to culture and/or how tradition and innovation can go hand in hand in opera and music theatre.

The festive city parade around the theme of Orfeo & Majnun takes place during the opening weekend. Two wonderful love stories from East and West, which are sung and shared by people from many Rotterdam communities. Theatremaker Nicole Beutler unearths 8: METAMORPHOSIS in Purcell’s music. The highly praised Cappella Mediterranea presents the seminal transition narrative of the Flood in Il diluvio universale.

The focus is also on social change. Fifteen female composers are storming the opera bastion in the course of 10 festival days. Reading Salomé combines Strauss’s famous opera with lip syncing and drag queens. Afghan women are given a voice and prestige in Unknown, I Live With You. The spotlights is on pioneers such as the feminist Sylvia Plath and the anti-slavery activist, Harriet Tubman. The extraordinary installation performance ORLANDO brings an ode to androgynous people.

We are also presenting major talents and leading-edge makers including Lisa Verbelen, ARIAH LESTER, CLUB GEWALT, Arlon Luijten, Boogaert/Vanderschoot, and Wunderbaum’s new project with various choirs from Rotterdam. In addition, we pay tribute to trailblazing legendary composers such as Richard Wagner (Die Walküre / The Valkyrie), Philip Glass (Einstein on the Beach), and Louis Andriessen (Odysseus’ Women + Anaïs Nin) while at the same time upholding much-loved festival traditions. For instance Operadagen Thuis, the GALA!, sing-alongs during Van Smartlap tot Opera, and projects in exceptional locations such as the erstwhile Dijkzigt hospital.

Worth a special mention is the international competition Music Theatre NOW, which is coming to Rotterdam this year with Dutch premieres of award-winning performances from all over the world. And there is much, much more. You are hereby cordially invited to peruse the programme, visit the festival as well as its extensive fringe programme, and to meet our artists and other visitors.

Have a great time!
On behalf of the festival team,

Guy Coolen
Artistic director


Operadagen Rotterdam keeps a finger on the pulse of today’s world; its performances reflect topical social themes. Operadagen Rotterdam tracks the four stages of every hero’s journey. Following Departures in 2017 and Heroism in 2018, this year is all about Metamorphosis. It is the high point of every epic story as the hero undergoes an important transformation, having made it through all sorts of trials and tribulations.

About Operadagen Rotterdam

Operadagen Rotterdam is a worldwide opera and music theatre festival featuring contemporary, innovative, and ground-breaking productions by established international makers as well as young and adventurous talent. The festival presents stories about pushing back frontiers and the search for a new identity under the central festival theme Lost & Found from 2017 through 2020. Operadagen Rotterdam lets the audience rediscover classic operas from days long gone in brand-new arrangements as it leaves the beaten tracks with new music theatre performances, and points to exciting and unknown horizons.

At the top of each performance page you will find an English summary.
All performances can be found under the tab Programma.