Ritratto
a new opera by Willem Jeths

Amsterdam Sinfonietta performs the orchestral parts of this new opera that was inspired by the extravagant Luisa Casati and her motto: ‘I want to be a living work of art’.

Ticket sales for Ritratto start on September 10 at 12.00 hrs.


Luisa Casati Stampa di Soncino (1881–1957) led a life of wealth and extravagance in high-society Paris, Venice and Rome, where she surrounded herself with prominent artists, following her motto: ‘I want to be a living work of art’. She had a turbulent relationship with Gabriele d’Annunzio, Léon Bakst designed exotic dresses for her, and she commissioned countless portraits of herself by artists including Kees van Dongen, Filippo Marinetti, Man Ray, Romaine Brooks and Giovanni Boldini.

The inspiration for Willem Jeths’ third opera, Ritratto (‘Portrait’), was Luisa Casati. One life-size portrait of her by Giovanni Boldini was included in the exhibition High Society at the Rijksmuseum (2018) and a whole show in Venice was dedicated to portraits of her. The world première of this opera will be at the International Theatre Amsterdam, during the Opera Forward Festival.


‘I’m convinced that music can be stronger and more expressive if people can relate to it.’

-Willem Jeths


The show
Marcel Sijm’s productions combine an element of surprise with plenty of humour and an emphasis on splashy design, as exemplified by his collaboration with set designer Marc Warning for Legende (DNO, 2011). In this opera, we can look forward to costumes designed by Jan Taminiau, whose creations include the famous blue cloak that Queen Máxima wore at King Willem-Alexander’s coronation. In composing operas such as Ritratto, Willem Jeths – who was the Netherlands’ first national composer between 2014 and 2016 – manipulates orchestral colours and deliberately selects timbres to match his protagonists.

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