“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.