Dutch National Opera presents

Gurre-Lieder Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951)

This show was to been seen in April 2018


Duration 2:00

By Arnold Schönberg

Language German

Surtitles Dutch and English

Rarely has a theatrical world premiere been so warmly received as Dutch National Opera’s production of Arnold Schönberg’s late-Romantic Gurre-Lieder in 2014. The production fulfilled a fervent wish of principal conductor Marc Albrecht.

In short

It was Albrecht’s idea to present Gurre-Lieder (a work written for the concert hall) as an opera. “The wonderful story and the inner drama lend themselves to it, and the enormous number of instruments fits in the Dutch National Opera & Ballet orchestra pit”.

Watch the Behind the scenes of Gurre-Lieder (2014).
Watch the trailer of Gurre-Lieder (2014).

in the press

"Audi’s production captures precisely what is moving about Gurre-Lieder today – its hauntingly honest portrait of an era on the brink of extinction, with the frangible beauty of a fairytale castle soon to be crushed forever."

Financial Times about Gurre-Lieder (2014)

The Story

The music of Gurre-Lieder is timeless, and so is its subject: a passionate, yet forbidden love. The story harks back to a Scandinavian saga, situated in Gurre. King Waldemar loves the girl Tove, who is a mysterious character, connected to both the world of people and the world of birds. The queen is jealous and has Tove killed. The Wood Dove tells of this in a moving song and the king accuses God of cruelty. A nightmarish scene follows, of a fierce army killed in battle, which rampages like a horde of ghosts. The radiant dawn at the end of Gurre-Lieder shows the insignificance of human destiny compared to the power of nature.

Pierre Audi

Resident director

PIERRE AUDI (stage director) became director of De Nederlandse Opera in 1988. As of 1 January 2013 he has become Director of Dutch National Opera. In the years of his leadership till september 2018 he is credited with giving the Netherlands its own opera tradition. His combined vision and audacity have earned him respect, both in the Netherlands and far beyond its borders, as both the Director of Dutch National Opera and as a stage director.

Marc Albrecht

chief conductor

Marc Albrecht, Chief Conductor of The Dutch National Opera and The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra is known not only for his interpretations of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss, but also for his affinity for contemporary music.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Marc Albrecht
Stage Director 
Pierre Audi
Set & Costume Designer 
Christof Hetzer
Lighting Designer 
Jean Kalman
Video Designer 
Martin Eidenberger
Klaus Bertisch
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Dutch National Opera Chorus
Kammerchor des ChorForum Essen
Chorus Master 
Ching-Lien Wu
Coach for Kammerchor des ChorForum Essen 
Alexander Eberle
Burkhard Fritz
Catherine Naglestad
Anna Larsson
Markus Marquardt
Klaus Narr 
Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke
Sunnyi Melles


There is a huge cast for Gurre-Lieder. The choruses and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra are expanded to include more than 200 people. The Chorus of Dutch National Opera is joined by the KammerChor des ChorForum Essen. Principal conductor Marc Albrecht and opera director Pierre Audi combined forces for the first time in Gurre-Lieder. Since then, they have also worked together on Lohengrin and Parsifal. Once again, Burkhard Fritz sings Waldemar and Anna Larsson sings the Wood Dove. The role of Tove will be sung by Catherine Naglestad.

Christof Hetzer designs both sets and costumes, and works in leading European theatres with directors like Hans Neuenfels, Jan Philipp Gloger, David Hermann and Stefan Herheim. He received the Hein Heckroth Award for set design. With Dutch National Opera, he has designed the sets and costumes for Il turco in Italia, Gurre-Lieder and the Anniversary Concert, and the costumes for Parsifal.


Along with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has been the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Opera since 1985, and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Each season, the two orchestras perform the majority of the opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra gives a varied programme of concerts in the Concertgebouw and also performs at other major concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. Marc Albrecht is the principal conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and of Dutch National Opera. In recent seasons, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has had great success with audiences and international press alike, with productions including Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Il Trovatore and Hänsel und Gretel. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marc Albrecht, received an Edison for their recording of the DNO production Der Schatzgräber, in December 2014.

    Mon 13 Feb NRC Handelsblad, 2014

    ‘The oratorio Gurre-Lieder as an ‘opera’, which brought the house down at its world premiere, is an event whose significance can hardly be over-estimated’.

    Mon 13 Feb de Volkskrant, 2014

    ‘In his primal staging of Gurre-Lieder, director Pierre Audi has found a wonderful natural form to span this changing musical idiom’.

    Tue 19 Dec Gurre-Lieder (2014) - International New York Times

    ‘With all its other challenges, you might think that the Dutch National Opera has embarked upon a fool’s errand, but the result is revelatory. […] What the staging contributes above all is clarity. […] Important too are many details conceived by Mr. Audi that complement the story by adding dramatic tension. […] Mr. Audi also creatively expands the participation of characters who in the text appear only toward the end of “Gurrelieder,” thereby reinforcing the work’s dramatic cohesion. […] Marc Albrecht’s masterful conducting of the Netherlands Philharmonic emphasizes not just the score’s decibel level but also exquisite, chamber-like details. [...] Here the chorus proves overwhelming as the sun is depicted shining overhead, like an immense illuminated art-nouveau flower.’

    Tue 19 Dec Gurre-Lieder (2014) - Financial Times****

    ‘Audi’s production captures precisely what is moving about Gurre-Lieder today – its hauntingly honest portrait of an era on the brink of extinction, with the frangible beauty of a fairytale castle soon to be crushed forever. […] the evening’s overwhelming power owes at least as much to Marc Albrecht. He directs the Netherlands Philharmonic with gossamer transparency, never losing the narrative thread, shaping the whole with an arresting combination of vision and modesty. […] an evening of both substance and beauty.’