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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

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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) 

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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.

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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

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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)

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Turan Dokht

The opera ‘Turan Dokht’ (Daughter of Turan) corrects a historical misunderstanding. With their ‘intercultural reconstruction’ composer Aftab Darvishi and director Miranda Lakerveld bring the beloved opera-character Turandot back to her Persian motherland. In Puccini’s version she is a cruel Chinese princess who has her suitors decapitated. In the version by mystic and poet Nizami Ganjavi (1141-1209), she is the wise and beautiful queen of Turan. With this epic narrative and Puccini’s music in mind, Aftab Darvishi and Miranda Lakerveld wrote a new opera with authentic Iranian elements. With the Nilper Orchestra, the only chamber orchestra for newly composed music in Iran, and mezzo soprano Ekaterina Levental and tenor Arash Roozbehi in the leading roles, the daughter of Turan will be shown as you have never seen her before. Turan Dokht premiered on 24 February 2019 in the iconic Azadi tower in Tehran and will play at the Holland Festival 2019.


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How much influence does bureaucracy have on life in the neighbourhood? In this multicultural opera active community members, classical singers, dancers and musicians enter the labyrinth together. With help of the centuries-old myth of Ariadne they reflected on our society together and discussed a dilemma which affects us all: the labyrinth of bureaucracy. Featuring music and dance from all over the world and the heavenly arias of Claudio Monteverdi. The artists and newcomers of Makers Unite created the design for the stage set. Five community leaders from the Baarsjes: Ziba Amini, Kirsten Fiege, Lakhwinder Kaur, Nadia Kasmi and Juslene Nanga Nguele, shared their stories about the labyrinth of local legislation. Directed by Miranda Lakerveld, compositions by oud player Haytham Safia, vocalists Hanna van Rooijen and Mazen Alashkar, dance by Christian Guerematchi and Vanessa Felter, video animations by Fadi Nadrous, make-up by Najlaa Albaidoun, set design by Bassel Halabi, Abla el Bahrawy and Andranik Mkrtchyan.


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Sheba Now!

A meeting of music, dance, theatre and stories from the Rotterdam Afrikaanderwijk. In this dialogue-opera, the world famous story about the queen of Sheba is interwoven with music from different cultures and religious traditions, with beautiful music from the oratorio ‘Solomon’ by Händel as its beating heart. Sheba’s legacy is vast and widespread. She is seen as the founder of the Ethiopian dynasty and has a nearly divine status within the Rastafari culture. In this production she reflected on contemporary urban themes. With a double role by Nyanga Weder and Aylin Sezer as queen of Sheba, in collaboration with Gemaal op Zuid and Koor op Zuid. The series ‘Het geheim van Feijenoord’ made a wonderful documentary about the making of the production.

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The Sacrifice

A new interpretation of an unknown gem in the history of music: Giacomo Carrisimi’s oratorio ’Jephte’. With music, dance and rituals from the many cultures that are present in Amsterdam. A universal story about surrendering, change and connection. Do we meet each other in our sacrifices? The Italian baroque music is played by Haytam Safia and ensemble, with baritone Sinan Vural as Jephte and soprano Aylin Sezer as his daughter. Winti priest Marian Markelo sang about the death and resurrection of the daughter with Afro-Surinam Winti songs. For the new ending, in which hope and new life arise out of the story’s sacrifice, the Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi was inspired by Arabian, Persian and Afro-Surinam trance rituals. Directed by Miranda Lakerveld, choreography by Christian Guerematchi and masks by visual artist Boris van Berkum. Aylin Sezer won the Schaunard Award for her role as Filia.

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Dance With The Seven Veils

Seven different mythical stories about veils from different cultures. Among them are princess Draupadi from the Mahabharata, the Japanese princess Kaguya and the Inanna who had to hand in one of her veils at every gate in her journey to the underworld, and naturally Salome. These stories are intertwined with stories of women from Amsterdam West. Dans met de zeven sluiers is inspired by the famous dance from the opera Salome by Richard Strauss. Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi recreated the music and undid it from its exotic veils. Director Miranda Lakerveld gathered seven mythical stories and stories of women from Amsterdam West, and combined them in a new piece. With actresses Mouna Laroussi, Hajar Belkadda, Zulaicca Khedoe and cellist Geneviève Verhage and active community members from the Baarsjes neighbourhood: Nadia Kasmi, Khadija Alamni.


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Majnun & Leyla

Majnun & Leyla is an intercultural opera project from World Opera Lab in collaboration with the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra, performed in the summer of 2016 open air at Mercatorplein. Leyla and Majnun is a tragic love story, famous from New Delhi to Rabat. In this story the main character goes insane because of missing his lover. Artists have been inspired by this beautiful story for centuries, and many regional versions of the story exist. World Opera Lab made a new interpretation of the story with artists and musicians from various traditions: from traditional Turkish music to European baroque opera and mystical Arabian/Andalusian songs.

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Middle East Opera Report

Three operas about the Middle East in collaboration with the Midden-Oosten Report/De Balie. Three nights with a lecture, an opera and a discussion about urgent issues in the Middle East. Director Miranda Lakerveld chose a different operatic masterpiece for each night and through their stories reflects on conflicts in the Middle East, and with this, bringing them together under one new aesthetic. The themes included; the refugee crisis in Afghanistan, the war in Jemen and the distinctions between Sunni and Shia Islam. Masssih Hutak rewrote the texts from Schubert’s Winterreise, oud player Haytam Safia re-worked Händel’s The arrival of the queen of Sheba and Aftab Darvishi wrote new recitatives for Bach’s cantata Mein Herze schwimmt in blut. With works of three female photographers working in the region.


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The Homecoming Of Ulysses

The homecoming is an intercultural opera in collaboration with municipality Amsterdam-west and the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra. This project brought people together through music, not only from the Baarsjes neighbourhood but musicians from all around the world. The focal point was Monteverdi’s opera Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. After the Trojan war, Ulysses roams the Mediterranean sea, unable to find his way home because of a curse. His wife Penelope waits for him at home, not knowing whether her loved one is still alive. In addition to the melodies of the original opera, Turkish and Arabian songs were intertwined in the performance. The songs of the show were chosen based on conversations with people from the Baarsjes neighbourhood on the subjects of roaming and homecoming. The ensemble, was played by a combination of baroque specialists and Arabian and Turkish musicians, led by oud player Haytham Safia, with Sinan Vural as Ulysses and Camille Louise Hesketh as Penelope.


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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.

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Dafne was created in 2014 in Chennai in collaboration with Sahrdaya Foundation and the Banyan, an NGO that provides care to homeless women with psychological problems. Through the myth of ‘Dafne,’ a woman who turns herself into a tree after being chased by the god Apollo, the experiences of the residents of the Banyan were shaped in a poetic way. By comparing this European myth to Indian stories and rituals, a rich exchange developed between dancers, singers and the residents. The project was part of a larger project; with theatre-trainings by Miranda Lakerveld for the 200 residents of the Banyan and knowledge exchanges between artists, therapists, students and nurses.

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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.