Dutch National Opera presents

Die Frau ohne Schatten RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949)

This show was to been seen in April 2020


Duration 4:00

Breaks 2

By Richard Strauss

Language German

Surtitles Dutch and English

The government’s temporary decision to ban events and gatherings until 1 June 2020, in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, means that Dutch National Opera & Ballet will be closed until that date. Read more information here: operaballet.nl/corona-update

In Die Frau ohne Schatten, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal sought to articulate reality in symbolic form, much as Mozart and Schikaneder had done in Die Zauberflöte.

Historical background

Die Frau ohne Schatten was a work many years in the making, delayed in part by the First World War. According to Strauss and Hofmannsthal, it was their ‘last Romantic’ opera.

Plot of Die Frau ohne Schatten

The plot of Die Frau Ohne Schatten, or ‘the woman without a shadow’ – referring to the inability to bear children – is steeped in symbolism. It centres on the empress – a woman from the spirit realm – and the emperor, a mortal man. In order to become fully human, she must gain a shadow; otherwise, her husband will turn to stone. But when she is offered the chance to buy a shadow from a poor woman, she nobly refuses, which act becomes her salvation.

Team and cast

Closing the circle
Die Frau ohne Schatten has special significance for conductor Marc Albrecht, as his immense success with this opera in 2008 led to his appointment as chief conductor of Dutch National Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra | Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Its reprise this season marks his farewell as chief conductor, thus closing the circle.

In the role of the empress is the powerful soprano Elza van den Heever. Austrian baritone Josef Wagner debuts in the role of Barak.

Katie Mitchell
Katie Mitchell has made a name as an engaged stage and opera director, attuned to social inequities and sexism, as in her recent staging of Jenůfa. In Die Frau ohne Schatten, Mitchell applies her probing sensitivity to a symbolic opera in which women are reduced to little more than brood mares. Her previous DNO productions are Orest, Written on Skin, Trauernacht, Lessons in Love and Violence and Jenůfa



Katie Mitchell


KATIE MITCHELL (director) studied in Oxford. The English director is known for her raw interpretations of the theatre and opera repertoire.

Marc Albrecht

Former chief conductor

Marc Albrecht, who was chief conductor of Dutch National Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra| Netherlands Chamber Orchestra from 2009 until 2020, is known not only for his interpretations of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss, but also for his affinity for contemporary music.

Die Frau ohne Schatten

Opera in 3 acts

Hugo von Hofmannsthal
World premiere
10 October 1919
Wiener Staatsoper

Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical Director
Marc Albrecht
Stage Director
Katie Mitchell
Naomi Dawson
Naomi Dawson, Sussie Juhlin Wallén
Lighting Designer
James Farncombe
Jon Lyle
Klaus Bertisch
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Chorus Master
Ching-Lien Wu
Children's chorus
Nieuw Vocaal Amsterdam
Der Kaiser
AJ Glueckert
Die Kaiserin
Elza van den Heever
Die Amme
Michaela Schuster
Der Geisterbote
Sebastian Holecek
Der Hüter der Schwelle des Tempels / Die Stimme des Falken
Julietta Aleksanyan - Opera Studio
Eine Stimme von oben
Eva Kroon
Erscheinung eines Jünglings
Peter Gijsbertsen
Barak der Färber
Josef Wagner
Sein Weib
Iréne Theorin
Der Einäugige
Andri Björn Róbertsson
Der Einarmige
Sam Carl - Opera Studio
Der Bucklige
Paul Kaufman
Lisette Bolle, Elizabeth Poz, Anneleen Bijnen
Die Stimmen der Wächter der Stadt
Jaap Sletterink, Ernst Vermeulen, Gi Jun Nam
Tomoko Makuuchi, Vida Maticic, Elsa Barthas, Itzel Medegico,
Sophia Patsi


Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra

The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra has been the principal partner of Dutch National Opera for more than 30 years and is among the world's best opera orchestras.

The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is the orchestra’s primary venue. Besides programmes led by chief conductor Marc Albrecht and Gordan Nicolic (musical director of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra), it also has various collaborations with internationally renowned guest conductors and soloists, as well as budding stars of the next generation of musicians. The orchestra seeks to make the classical repertoire accessible to everyone, performing not only in concert halls but also a range of unusual and more adventurous venues. By bringing people together through music, the orchestra creates beautiful and memorable musical experiences for all, from classical aficionados to new audiences.

With its home base in the NedPhO-Koepel, a former church in Amsterdam's culturally diverse Indische Buurt, the orchestra plays a vital role in the community. Each year it organises some two hundred activities around music education, neighbourhood participation and talent development.

In the 2019-2020 season, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is playing in the DNO productions of Pagliacci I Cavalleria rusticana, Die Walküre, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny and Die Frau ohne Schatten. The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra is playing in Così fan tutte and La Cenerentola.


Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor
The Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor is the regular youth chorus of Dutch National Opera & Ballet and part of Nieuw Vocal Amsterdam, a classical voice training programme for ages 4 to 21. In the 2019-2020 season the Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor is singing in the operas Pagliacci, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Carmen and the ballet Nutcracker & Mouse King. The chorus is also singing during the Open Day and Children's Choir Festival.





FOYER Evening

mo 6 April 2020 Die Frau ohne Schatten

Musical evening giving an accessible, in-depth explanation of operas and ballets.

NB: In principle, the foyer evenings are given in Dutch, but in practice the high number of international guests means that English is often spoken as well.

Step into the world of the makers. Sit back with a drink in an informal setting and enjoy an aria or duet, a pas de deux or small ensemble, or an interview with a singer or choreographer. A varied programme, linked to a topical theme, is presented for each production.

The doors and the bar open at 20.00. The evening begins at 20.30 and lasts around an hour and a quarter. The bar will stay open afterwards.

Regular - € 10
Students - € 7.50

Free for Giving Circle members of Dutch National Opera, Dutch National Ballet and Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Prices are exclusive of booking charges. Tickets for performances can be purchased separately

    Tue 05 Feb NRC about Mitchell - Jenůfa, 2018

    "(....) realistic, recognizable details are the power of Mitchell's direction"

    Tue 05 Feb Trouw about Albrecht - 2008

    "Albrecht is an ingenious conductor who at times when it had to, let go of all the reins and at other times seduced the immensely expanded orchestra into unprecedented tender orchestral playing. There is nothing to fit on this but a glorious label."