psychological opera thriller


‘A chilling production that leaves the audience bewildered’, said Dutch leading newspaper NRC about Médée by OPERA2DAY. As its successor the company now brings Hamlet, the 'grand opéra' by Ambroise Thomas based on Shakespeare’s masterpiece. For generations of opera buffs it was a milestone in opera repertoire. Not so strange, as Hamlet is a dream role for every baritone and Ophélie was given one of the best insanity scenes ever. OPERA2DAY presents a compact version in which we penetrate Hamlets shadowland using a mix of opera and film.

The opera by Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896) comes up to every expectation of what a Hamlet performance has to offer. We see King Claudius’s degenerated court in all its pomp and circumstance, an intense inner struggle of the hero, a mysteriously accompanied appearance of his father, and there is exceptionally moving music for the insane Ophélie. The librettists, who earlier provided texts for Gounod’s Faust, brought the play back to its very core. The masterly music is a revelation to both opera and Shakespeare enthusiasts.
Read the synopsis here.

After its première in Paris in 1868 – exactly 150 years before 2018 -  the opera Hamlet was one of the most performed for decades, as one of the vast parts of the repertoire. Until 1919, for example, the opera was staged 153 (!) times in the Koninklijke Schouwburg at The Hague, mainly an opera house in those days.

Close on 100 years later the Dutch companies OPERA2DAY and the New European Ensemble base their musical interpretation on the scores and parts of these performances, which they unearthed from the archives. The two partners recently worked together in a similar way in Dr. Miracle's last illusion, a performance that was – as the press said – ‘spectacular’ (de Volkskrant) and 'a hit' (Theaterkrant).

Five reasons to come to Hamlet

1. Classic story
After more than 400 years Shakespeare’s plays still fire the imagination, as if they were written yesterday. No other author created such overwhelming tragedies based on utterly human motives such as love, idealism, jealousy and revenge. Ambroise Thomas and his librettists brought the story back to its core and transformed Hamlet into a striking opera.

2. Masterly music
Thomas’s music keeps you poised on the edge of your chair, from beginning to end. For Hamlet he created one of the most beautiful baritone roles in opera. The soprano singing Ophélie has the opportunity to shine in one of the most dramatic madness scenes ever, with exceptionally moving music.

3. Opera and film merge together
In our production of Hamlet opera and film merge together. The scenery is inspired by the rich tradition of the film noir. As a result, we penetrate into Hamlet’s mind. His memories, dreams and visions become apparent.

4. Vocal top talent as well as ‘marvellous musicians’
In Hamlet we stage a cast of vocal top talents: singers that have started a promising career nationally and internationally. The ‘marvellous musicians’ (says Dutch leading newspaper NRC) from the New European Ensemble are in the orchestra pit.

5. By the makers of La Troupe d'Orphée and Médée
OPERA2DAY again produces a French-language opera. NRC critic Kasper Jansen praised Médée as ‘a chilling production that leaves the audience bewildered’. La troupe d’Orphée was voted opera of the year.


This production is made possible thanks to

Gemeente Den Haag
Fonds Podiumkunsten


Act 1 and 2
The royal Danish court is celebrating the coronation of Queen Gertrude who has married Claudius, brother of the late King Hamlet. Claudius places the crown on Gertrude's head. All leave. Prince Hamlet, son of the late King and Gertrude, is upset that his mother has remarried so soon. While he is in thoughts about this, a concerned Ophélie enters. In a duet Hamlet tries to comfort her. Laërte, Ophélie's brother, enters. He is being sent to Norway and gives his farewells. He entrusts Ophélie to the care of Hamlet. Courtiers, on their way to the banquet, enter. Hamlet refuses to join Laërte and Ophélie as they leave to join the banquet.
Horatio and Marcellus meet Hamlet and tell him that they have seen the ghost of Hamlet's father the previous night. As in a dream the Ghost appears, Horatio and Marcellus leave, and the Ghost tells his son that Claudius murdered him with poison. The Ghost commands Hamlet to take vengeance on Claudius, but Gertrude must be spared. The Ghost withdraws. Hamlet swears to avenge his father.
King Claudius and Gerturde enter. Hamlet feigns madness. He rejects all overtures of friendship from Claudius, then announces he has engaged a troupe of actors to perform a play that evening. Hamlet starts preparing that performance.
Ophélie is concerned at Hamlet's new indifference towards her. Hamlet, working on his theatre performance, gives her no attention. The Queen enters. Ophélie says she would like to leave the court, but the Queen begs her to stay.The Players come in and Hamlet asks them to mime the play The Murder of Gonzago.
While singing a drinking song with the players, the courts arrives. Everybody takes their seats and the play starts. It tells a story similar to how Hamlet's imagines the murder of his father. After the poison is administered, the assassin places the crown on his head. Claudius, looking at this turns pale, rises abruptly, and commands the play to stop and the actors to leave. Hamlet accuses Claudius of the murder of his father. His mother steps in between Claudius and Hamlet, and avoids thus a revenge murder. The entire assembly reacts upset.
- Intermission - 
Act 3, 4 and 5
Deeply upset Hamlet delivers the contemplation "To be or not to be". He sees Claudius praying to his brother in heaven, asking him to advocate him to the eternal judge. Hamlet, deciding Claudius' soul may be saved, if he is killed while praying, delays again his revenge. Polonius enters and Hamlet sees in his conversation with Claudius the complicity of Ophelia's father. Then Hamlet sees Gertrude with Ophélie. The Queen tries to persuade Hamlet to marry Ophélie, but Hamlet, realizing he can no longer marry the daughter of the guilty Polonius, refuses. Alone with his mother, Hamlet tries to force her to confront her guilt, but she resists. As Hamlet threatens her, he sees the Ghost, who reminds him he must spare his mother.
After Hamlet's rejection, Ophélie has gone mad and drowns herself.
Hamlet comes upon two gravediggers digging a new grave. He asks who has died, but they do not know. Laërte, who has returned from Norway and learned of his sister's death and Hamlet's role in it, enters and challenges Hamlet to a duel. Ophélie's funeral procession interrupts the duel. Hamlet finally realizes she is dead. He kills Claudius, avenging his father's death. After that he confronts the choice if he now wants to be king in life, or reunited with his father and beloved to live with them in death. 'Être... ou ne pas être' remains his final question. He commits suicide.


The two librettists Michel Carré and Jules Barbier were quite faithful to Shakespeare’s play. However, as always with opera libretti based on plays, they abbreviated the text and sometimes opted for a different structure. They also left out several characters, such as Fortinbras, and Rosenkranz and Guildenstern. Polonius has a less important part. Moreover, he is not murdered in the opera. The opera’s original length of 3.5 hours was narrowed by OPERA2DAY to its essence. For example the ballet, which takes half an hour, was deleted.The final act of Thomas’ s opera departs the most from Shakespeare’s play. Laërte and Gertrude do not die. Moreover, Thomas composed two versions of the end. In the Parisian one Hamlet lives on and is crowned king. In the London version he takes his own life. OPERA2DAY combines the most important parts from these finales, keeping the best of both versions, both in content and in music.


Composer Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896)
Libretto Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after Shakespeare

Producers OPERA2DAY in cooperation with New European Ensemble

Conductor Hernán Schvartzman
Stage direction and concept Serge van Veggel
Business management Alice Gubler
Artistic coordinator New European Ensemble Emlyn Stam
Cineaste Margo Onnes
Arrangements Daniël Hamburger
Scenography Herbert Janse
Sound design Arne Bock
Lighting design Uri Rapaport
Costumes Mirjam Pater
Hair and make-up Nienke Algra

Advisors Alex Schillings - bandas and wind orchestras, Wouter Verhage - education


Hamlet Quirijn de Lang - baritone
Ophélie Lucie Chartin - soprano
Claudius Martijn Sanders - bass/baritone
Gertrude Martina Prins - soprano
Laërte / Comedian Jan Willem Schaafsma - tenor
Horatio / 1st Fossoyeur Patrick Pranger - bass/baritone
Marcellus / 2nd Fossoyeur Georgi Sztonajov - tenor
Polonius / Spectre (singing) / Comedian
Yavuz Arman İşleker - bass/bariton
Spectre (acting) / Comedian Joop Keesmaat - actor
Courtisanes Judith Pranger - soprano; Sonja Volten - soprano; Adélaïde Rouyer - mezzo soprano

Teaser Hamlet




Sunday 07 Jan 2018 - 15:00 HOUR

Theater aan de Schie, Schiedam

try out

Addres: Stadserf 1
City: 3112 DZ Schiedam
Phone: 010-2467467

Wednesday 17 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

avant premiere

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Thursday 18 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag


Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Friday 26 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Deventer Schouwburg, Deventer

Deventer Schouwburg

Addres: Leeuwenbrug 2
City: 7411 TJ Deventer
Phone: 0900 3000 200

Tuesday 30 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Wednesday 31 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Tuesday 06 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Parktheater, Eindhoven


Addres: Elzentlaan 50
City: 5615 CN Eindhoven
Phone: 040 - 2111122

Wednesday 07 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

De Goudse Schouwburg, Gouda

Addres: Boelekade 67
City: 2806 AE Gouda
Phone: 0182 - 513 750

Thursday 15 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theater DNK, Assen

Addres: Weiersstraat 1
City: 9401 ET Assen
Phone: 088 012 88 88

Tuesday 20 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

TAQA Theater De Vest, Alkmaar

Addres: Canadaplein 2
City: 1811 KE Alkmaar
Phone: 072-5489999

Friday 23 Feb 2018 - 20:00 HOUR

30CC, Leuven (BE)

Addres: Bondgenotenlaan 21
City: 3000 Leuven (BE)
Phone: 016 300 900

Tuesday 27 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theaters Tilburg, Tilburg

Addres: Louis Bouwmeesterplein 1
City: 5038 TN Tilburg
Phone: 013 543 22 20

Wednesday 07 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

De Lawei, Drachten

Addres: Laweiplein 1
City: 9203 KL Drachten
Phone: (0512) 33 50 50

Thursday 08 Mar 2018 - 20:00 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg, Utrecht

Addres: Lucasbolwerk 24
City: 3512 EJ Utrecht
Phone: 030-23 02 023

Saturday 10 Mar 2018 - 20:00 HOUR

Koninklijk Theater Carré, Amsterdam

Koninklijk Theater Carré

Addres: Amstel 115-125
City: 1018 EM Amsterdam
Phone: 0900 - 25 25 255 (€ 0,45 p/m)

Wednesday 14 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Flint, Amersfoort

Addres: Coninckstraat 60
City: 3811 WK Amersfoort
Phone: 033 4229 229

Saturday 17 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theater De Spiegel, Zwolle

Addres: Spinhuisplein 14
City: 8011 ZZ Zwolle
Phone: 0900-1435

Tuesday 20 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theater aan de Parade, Den Bosch

Addres: Parade 23
City: 5211 KL Den Bosch
Phone: 0900 - 3372723

Thursday 22 Mar 2018 - 20:15 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg, Haarlem

Addres: Wilsonsplein 23
City: 2011 VG Haarlem
Phone: 023 - 512 12 12 (keuze 1)

Wednesday 28 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theater Markant, Uden

Addres: Markt 32
City: 5401 GP Uden
Phone: 0413 25 61 10

Friday 30 Mar 2018 - 20:15 HOUR

Stadstheater, Arnhem

Addres: Velperbinnensingel 10
City: 6811 BP Arnhem
Phone: 026 - 443 73 43

Monday 02 Apr 2018 - 15:30 HOUR

Schouwburg De Domijnen, Sittard

Addres: Ligne 2
City: 6131 MT Sittard
Phone: 088-5995600

Tuesday 03 Apr 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg, Nijmegen

Addres: Keizer Karelplein 32h
City: 6511 NH Nijmegen
Phone: 024-3221100

Tuesday 10 Apr 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)

Wednesday 11 Apr 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 0900 3456789 (10cpm)


The performance lasts for about 2 hours and 5 minutes, not including an intermission after the second act.


The performance is sung in French and supertitled in Dutch.