15 years of OPERA2DAY
On 7 October 2022, it will be 15 years since OPERA2DAY's very first performance. In the Kees van Baarenzaal of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, we played Purcell's The Fairy Queen. An energetic performance, a surprise also to the audience of the two sold-out performances. It is nice to see that elements already emerged in that performance that would later become part of our signature. Thus, the work is performed 'historically informed'. We break through the fourth wall: music sounds from all sides, from the stage, from the back of the hall and from above the audience. We are reworking the piece, with a new storyline. Moreover, an extraordinary generation of singers is on stage for the first time, surrounded by young baroque specialists in the box. Many of them return in later productions, breaking through outside our company and internationally.
A young Argentine conductor, Hernàn Schvartzman, and director Serge van Veggel are at the cradle of The Fairy Queen and thus also of OPERA2DAY. For Hernàn, this is his graduation production at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Serge is making his debut as a director with this project. The project was meant to be a one-off, but the performances released an energy that inspired it to be followed up considerably. Step by step, the following years built towards subsequent performances and projects.
Important milestones in that development. First, on location with location performances Dolhuys Kermis and La Troupe d'Orphée. Both entered the NRC top five lists of best performances of the year, and the latter performance was named opera of the year. We also developed in theatre. Starting from the Royal Theatre in Den Haag, which was once an important opera house, we grew to touring around 25 performances. We travelled around with special staging of great but rarely performed titles like Médée and Hamlet. We created entirely newly composed operas, such as Mariken in the Garden of Delights and turned opera into a real blockbuster with Amadeus. And we developed increasingly innovative concepts, such as the illusionism opera Dr Miracle and the 'new baroque operas' by Vivaldi and Bach.
The press's words about our development were laudatory. 'One high-profile performance after another', according to the Theaterkrant. 'OPERA2DAY knows time and again how to make opera a total experience,' wrote Scenes. And this is also increasingly being noticed internationally. 'There is something infectious about the enthusiasm and energy of OPERA2DAY,' according to Opera Now. 'OPERA2DAY demonstrates that there is a brave new world of opera out there which has yet to be fashioned,' says Arts Talk Magazines.
That 15 years have already passed is something that surprised ourselves. Hadn't the 10th anniversary just been? We realised that the Corona years distorted the picture in this regard. Time flew. We did arts and crafts, but for the public, we fell silent during entire periods. Hopefully, the current season will mark a grand restart. If all plans go ahead, we will play the most number of performances in three unique projects in 2023. And we have so much in store for beyond that, too. In doing so, it is perhaps telling that after 15 years, we still feel we are at the beginning of something, and not at an reached destination.
We look back on the past fifteen years with pride. But also with much gratitude. First of all to the inspiring and talented people with whom we worked and still work, from colleagues to supervisors to participants. We would never have been here without all the public and private funds that expressed confidence in our plans. And finally, we are grateful for the support of our audience. We look forward to seeing you back in January for the premiere of - if we add it all up, big and small - our 36th production: The ingenious nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.