Dutch National Opera presents

Alice's adventures under ground Gerald Barry (1952)

Tickets sold


Duration 1:00

By Gerald Barry

Language English and other languages

Surtitles Dutch


Tumble through a dark rabbit-hole and find yourself in a crazy, colorful world where nothing is what it seems. Welcome to Alice’s wonderland of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. A unique treat for the whole family.

Singing masterclass with Alice and orchestra

The recent opera Alice’s Adventures Under Ground combines Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking-Glass’. It brings us to a world inhabited by creatures like the Red Queen, the Mad Hatter and talking animals. Composer Gerald Barry gives it an extra twist: not a croquet match at the Red Queen’s court, but a vocal masterclass with Alice and the orchestra, fought out with virtuosic scales and arpeggios.

    Thu 20 Feb The Guardian about Alice ***** (2020)

    'Brilliant in every surreal detail'

    Thu 20 Feb The Stage about Alice ***** (2020)

    ‘Deserves to become a modern classic’

    Thu 20 Feb theartsdesk.com about Alice *****

    'Go twice, go three times; it won't wear out.'

    Thu 20 Feb The Upcoming about Alice*****

    'a fantastic piece, which dazzles with its energy and passion, and was obviously made with such love for the source material that one can hardly help but be swept away by the insanity'

    Thu 20 Feb The Guardian about Alice **** (2016)

    'a breathless and brilliant raid on Lewis Carroll'

    Thu 20 Feb Volkskrant about Antony McDonald, 2009

    '[The Rheingold production] is a jewel to be seen in Antony McDonald's direction and design. [...] McDonald's appeal is that the lightness in his scenes is always accompanied by a sense of risk'.

    Thu 20 Feb The New York Times about Karen Kamensek, 2019

    'The production’s conductor, Karen Kamensek conveyed the ripple, flow and quiet urgency of the music without fixating on precision.'


Jolly mayhem with a touch of madness
Alice’s Adventures Under Ground marks the Irish composer Gerald Barry’s debut at Dutch National Opera. Earlier successes include his staging of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (2011), and with his latest opera he once again tackles a literary classic. While it is largely based on the original, Barry wrote the libretto himself. In this whirlwind composition he also incorporates well-known melodies; subjected to twists, turns and overstatement, they portray the surreal side of the colorful cast of characters in a world of jolly mayhem, with a touch of innocent madness.

Design and staging
Set designer and stage director Antony McDonald has brought magic to the stage of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet many times bedore. He designed sets and costumes for Benvenuto Cellini (1991), Jenůfa (1997), Béatrice et Bénédict (2001), Het sluwe vosje (2006) and Billy Budd (2011). In 2013, he won the International Opera Award for Best Design.

Together with the National Youth Orchestra, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground will be a magical experience for young and old.

Dutch premiere

Co-production with Royal Opera House Covent Garden (London) and Irish National Opera (Dublin)

Team, Cast and Chorus

Music and libretto
Gerald Barry
Karen Kamensek
Stage director and set designer
Antony McDonald
Light designer
Fabiana Piccioli
Lucy Burge
National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands

The National Youth Orchestra was founded in 1957 and has been providing a stage for young top talent between the ages of 18 and 26 for over sixty years, for example during the NJO Music Summer, a festival in the province of Gelderland and during the NJO Winter Tour, in which the NJO performs at the best concert halls in the Netherlands. The Nationaal Jeugdorkest and the Nederlands Jeugdorkest have officially joined forces as the Nationale Jeugdorkesten Nederland since 2019. The orchestra previously performed Il matrimonio segreto and The Boy Who Grew Too Fast at Dutch National Opera. In 2020, the NJO will join us for Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.

Family introductions

A special interactive introduction for the entire family

December 19, 22, 30, 2020 and January 2, 2021
Time: 45 minutes before the performance
Price: free to all ticket holders