Welcome speech by Els van der Plas

We proudly present the new 2014-2015 season of National Opera & Ballet, the ‘house’ of Dutch National Opera and Dutch National Ballet. For the first time we introduce ourselves as a single house. With 1600 seats and a twenty-metre wide stage, it is one of Europe’s largest and most technically advanced theaters.

In mid-February 2014 we changed our name to National Opera & Ballet, reflecting the successful merger of The Amsterdam Music Theatre, De Nederlandse Opera and Dutch National Ballet. At the same time De Nederlandse Opera was renamed Dutch National Opera. Not only the name is new: we have a new logo, a new house style and a new website. The joint house style was designed by Lesley Moore, with graphics by the artist duo Petrovsky & Ramone. These changes have been instigated in order for us, as a single house, to improve and invigorate our position as well as to operate more efficiently and effectively.

The 2014-2015 programming includes opera and ballet productions characterized by quality and an innovative approach, as audiences have come to expect from us. We create, produce and present world-class opera and ballet productions. Most of our productions are built and performed in our own theatre. Dutch National Opera, a company of international stature, also co-produces with other companies, among them La Scala in Milan and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The opera’s renowned chorus was nominated as the world’s best opera chorus last year. Dutch National Ballet has an impressive group of dancers who rank in the world’s top 5. This season the company travels to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and London as well as performing in theatres across the Netherlands. Both companies work with leading artists including conductors, stage directors, choreographers, dancers, singers, musicians and designers.

Not only are most of our productions conceived and developed in-house, but the requisite costumes, wigs, decors and props are likewise made in our own ateliers. The fact that so much is created in-house, thus preserving and fostering craftsmanship, makes our institution unique. National Opera & Ballet brings together the artistic, artisanal and technically advanced aspects of both art forms.

National Opera & Ballet is a theatre where everyone is welcome. A variety of programmes offers talent the chance to grow and thrive. And thanks to numerous inspired educational and participation activities, children, youths and interested adults have the opportunity to expand their knowledge about and enthusiasm for opera and ballet, though a behind-the-scenes visit, a guided tour, special course or introductory talk. Many of our performances, moreover, are broadcast on television and/or radio. Additionally, we consider it a key goal to preserve our traditions and to further develop the area of music theatre, to which end we work closely with universities and international cultural institutions.

We are indebted to you, our audience, as well as our sponsors, donors and Friends for the steadfast support. We additionally acknowledge our gratitude to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the city of Amsterdam.

I hope that this website will whet your appetite for our productions and activities, and I hope to welcome you to our theatre sometime soon. I am convinced that together with you, we will make 2014-15 an unforgettable season!

Els van der Plas

General director, National Opera & Ballet