Queen for a new time

A festive performance in the open-air in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

The Queen of Sheba is a great and wise leader. Sheba, also known as Bilqis and Makeda, is searching for more knowledge and wisdom. She travels the world. On her journeys she meets Solomon, the famous king, known for his just rule, who can talk to the animals and the jinns.

Sheba is a magical love-story of two people from completely different cultures. A great love that has been described for centuries in the most beautiful poetry and sung about with the most beautiful music. The story is known and loved all over the world.

A dazzling and fairytale-like outdoor performance – Sheba, Queen of a new time is a celebration for the city. Classical opera in a new shape, intertwined with music from Yemen, Ethiopia, Turkey, Nigeria, Suriname and Iran. With the cooperation of Koor op Zuid.

With dancer Nyanga Weder as Sheba, Sinan Vural as Solomon, clarinetist Vincent Martig as the hoopoe bird, singers Nienke Nasserian, Shwan Suleiman and Ivan Richardson, the great ensemble of World Opera Lab, set by Neal Groot, costumes by Hanan Himmi and directed by Miranda Lakerveld

28 May 15:30 Afrikaanderplein Rotterdam – O-festival (try-out)
29 May 15.30 Afrikaanderplein Rotterdam – O-festival (premiere)

9 June 8.30 pm Erasmus Park, Amsterdam
June 10 8.30 pm Erasmus Park, Amsterdam

Download programme

Antigone’s of the pandemic

A memorial without borders in VR

Antigone’s of the Pandemic is based on an age-old myth; a story that begins with a plague that endangers mankind. Antigone mourns the dead and fights for the right to a dignified end. A fight where she also puts herself in danger…

This international production is a tribute to the contemporary Antigone’s, those who fought to bury and commemorate the dead in an honorable way in this difficult time. A unique team in three continents will create new ritual: a rich tapestry of traditional laments, funeral rituals and mantras. A memorial to understand that in this crisis, we are more connected than ever.

Due to productional challenges and government regulations, the production has been transformed into two parts. A concert in the iconic Westerkerk at the 5th of februari, at 2:00 pm. The fantastic cast will play new music and ancient songs of mourning and hope. A new VR-opera will premiere on the 11th of March, it tells the stories of contemporary Antigone’s from around the globe. The opera is an intimate experience and a new way to experience global connections, and beautiful music.

A film by Miranda Lakerveld & Siavash Naghshbandi – Music: by Alfian Emir Adytia, Chetna Sahni Sehgal, Setareh Nafisi Cast: Behafarid Qaffarian: voice-over (Tehran, Iran), Liezha Yuvita (Klaten, Indonesia), Nour Al Hindi (Qab Elias, Lebanon), Alfian Adytia: cello, Madeleine Elizabeth Saputra: soprano, Soheil Shayesteh: kamancheh, Chetna Sahni Sehgal: sitar/vocals, Sukhjit Singh: tabla, Sabra El Bahri Khatri: soprano, Emmy Storms: violin, Douwe Bulten: light, Jantine Kraaijeveld: costumes

Antigone’s of the pandemic:
11th of march – worldwide online premiere – 18:00 CET – available until the 18th of march.



Ine Aya’
Voice from a fading forest 

Opera about deforestation on Kalimantan – The original forest on Kalimantan in Indonesia is disappearing quickly, and this has everything to do with patterns of consumption in Europe. The Indonesian composer Nursalim Yadi Anugerah and the Dutch librettist and director Miranda Lakerveld are making a new opera that takes widespread deforestation as its subject. The work is based on two classical works, one from Eastern and one from Western culture: the Kayan epic Takna’ Lawe’ and Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. Both stories are about the importance of honouring nature and its natural resources. By weaving the two storylines together, they connect the Kalimantan Kayan’s rich cultural tradition with Western mythology in Wagner’s interpretation. The result is a stirring musical and theatrical fusion of two cultures that are intertwined with each other in many ways.

music Nursalim Yadi Anugerah stagedirector Miranda Lakerveld libretto Miranda Lakerveld & Nursalim Yadi Anugerah
with: Bernadeta Astari (soprano), Rolfe Dauz (bariton), Frisna Virginia (soprano), Dominikus Uyub (sape, voice) Marta Haran (Dayung) & Art SriSayam (dance) Ensemble: Balaan Tumaan video Siavash Naghshbandi lighting Bart van den Heuvel

met steun van Fonds Podiumkunsten, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Gieskes Strijbis, Dutch Culture

Arïanna – Love without boundaries

A colorful remake of a lost opera. The compelling story of Arïanna performed by a unique team of singers and musicians with roots from all over the world. The original opera by Claudio Monteverdi has been lost. Only the text and one beautiful aria still exist; the world famous ‘Lamento d’Arianna’. In addition to Monteverdi, this remake features traditional music from all over the world and newly composed works. Three composers, Aspasia Nasopoulou, Kaveh Vares and Haytham Safia, were inspired by their own musical traditions and the style of Monteverdi. With an unparalleled cast: Aylin Sezer as Arïanna, Sinan Vural as Dionysos, Vanessa Felter as Aphrodite, Nyanga Weder as Cupid, Sophie Fetokaki, Youmni Abou Al Zahab and Iraqi-Kurdish Shwan Sulaiman debuting as Theseus. This super-diverse opera in 7 languages ​​transcends cultural differences. Arïanna – Love without boundaries shows our shared global history as inspiration for the future.

A pearl of cultural polyphony and dramaturgical poetry … exceeds all expectations” (Theaterkrant) “As love is called differently everywhere but is the same everywhere, so is the music, as this Arïanna from World Opera Lab proves” (NRC)

The Passion of Now
Consolation in Seven Languages 

2 April – Podium Mozaïek tickets >
3 April – Koepelkerk Sappemeer tickets >
14 April – Tolhuistuin Amsterdam tickets >
16 April – Muiderslot Muiden tickets >

‘Erbarme dich’ accompanied by an Arab ud, ‘o Haubt voll Blut und Wunden’ alongside Afro-Surinamese lamentations, and ‘Aus Liebe’ in a musical dialogue with Indian ragas: the Passion of Now places the passion-tradition in a global perspective. In seven musical languages ​​we tell the story of our world today; our differences and how we reach out to each other. Based on Bach’s Matthew Passion, ancient connections between cultures come to life. Baritone Sinan Vural sings beautiful arias from st. Matthew Passion and Turkish mystical songs. The phenomenal Aylin Sezer performs the soprano arias, Shwan Sulaiman recites mystical Arabic poetry and Itzel Medegico sings both Bach’s mezzo-arias and Mexican Semana Santa songs. Chetna Shani Seghal sings Hindu bhavans and the virtuoso ud player Haytham Safia plays melodies from Galilee. Besides cello and organ there instruments such as sitar and daf in the ensemble. Together the singers and the ensemble tell beautiful stories of loss and resurrection. A performance like a good conversation, full of beauty and reconciliation, and an enrichment of the Easter tradition.

“It is a joy to experience. This Passion is heartfelt and moving, and multicultural in the most literal sense of the word. Passion of Now deserves to grow into a new tradition.” (Theaterkrant) 


I wish the world could see this — I wish people in New York and San Francisco and Cairo and Beirut and Mexico City and Istanbul and Delhi . . . could see this — I wish instead of the horrid daily news of all the terror in the world this opera could find its way to the lived experiences of all the warring worlds to see how peace and harmony and grace are all still possible in between and among cultures” (Hamid Dabashi on ‘Turan Dokht’)

World Opera Lab (WOL) makes intercultural performances where cultural differences are bridged and contemporary issues are reflected in a poetic way. The opera-repertoire is the beating heart of energetic collaborations of stories, music and dance from different cultures and traditions.

WOL makes performances on extraordinary locations: from the Azadi tower in Tehran to Mercatorplein in Amsterdam; from the Rotterdam Afrikaanderwijk to the Indian city of Ahmedabad, and at the Holland Festival. Shows by WOL are praised for their energy, their ability to connect people and their diversity, on stage as well as in the audience. The press reviewed Het Offer (The Sacrifice) as: “Intercultural theatre at its best” (Theaterkrant); “An exciting opera with organ and oud” (NRC); about Orfeo in India: “Fusion opera strikes an universal chord” (Times of India). Turan Dokht was hailed as an historical event in the Dutch press.

Activities by WOL are inspired by extensive research on traditional musical theatre practices from Tibet, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico, India and Iran. This research led to the first production in 2010: Orfeo in India. The show was made in collaboration with Darpana Performance Group in Ahmedabad where the stunning opera by Monteverdi was echoed by Indian music and dance traditions.

The productions by WOL are created through a unique way of working; which produces exciting and moving new operas. Examples are De Thuiskomst van Odysseus (The Homecoming of Odyssee) in Amsterdam West: a fusion of Monteverdi’s opera with music according to Arabic-Andalusian tradition; Majnun & Leyla, an open-air production at Mercatorplein and MOOR, a collaboration with De Balie, about urgent political themes in the Middle East.

WOL is the only opera company produces performances as inspiration for an inclusive society. Productions such as Dans met de zeven sluiers (Dance with the seven veils), Sheba Now and Labyrint were created in collaboration with citizens of diverse and multicultural neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. Turan Dokht was produced in Iran in 2019 under increasing diplomatic tensions. This Iranian-European collaboration had its European premiere at the Holland Festival 2019.

Under artistic leadership of director Miranda Lakerveld, WOL makes operas with an extraordinary group of artists in changing combinations, among them: Haytam Safia (oud/musical leader), Aftab Darvishi (composition) Wim Dijkstra (organ), Tara Kumar (cello), Osama Mileegi (percussion), Vincent Martig (clarinet), Emmy Storms (violin), Nyanga Weder (dance), Vanessa Felter (dance), Marian Markelo (Winti singing), Christian Guerematchi (dance), Bart van den Heuvel (light), Jasper Berben (production) and Ciska van Beek (fundraising).

Projects by World Opera Lab are supported by Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Fonds Podiumkunsten, VSB Fonds, Fonds21, The Amsterdam municipality, citizens of de Baarsjes (neighbourhood), NORMA Fonds, BNG Fonds and KANS Fonds.


World Opera Lab gives workshops to musicians, dancers and singers according to a method created by artistic leader Miranda Lakerveld where myths, music and dances from different cultures enter an artistic dialogue. This method was developed during the making of operas such as Orfeo in India. During the workshops the principle of ‘comparing mythology’ is utilized: the idea that myths from different cultures contain the same elements and symbols. With this idea as starting point, dialogues are created about differences and similarities in traditions. Inspired by a particular myth, participants are asked to bring traditional songs that are connected to the themes of that myth, from which they then create scenes. The method served as the basis for dialogues and collaborations with various groups: in Chennai, Ahmedabad, Tehran, Mexico City, Kollegal Tibetan refugee settlement, Codarts in Rotterdam and the University of Amsterdam.


Orfeo in India

The first production by World Opera Lab, Orfeo in India was created in 2010 in Ahmedabad, India, in collaboration with Darpana Performance Group. With the opera l’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi as starting point, director Miranda Lakerveld, choreographer Mallika Sarabai and composer Ned McGowan created a unique new opera where European and Indian musicians, singers and dancers collaborated in an artistic exchange. The music by Monteverdi was performed by an ensemble of baroque specialists and Indian singers and dancers. Composer Ned McGowan and director Miranda Lakerveld made an adaption of the myth where the classic interpretation by Monteverdi exists side by side with interpretations according to the Indian Raga tradition and folk music from the region Gujurat.