psychological opera thriller


Hamlet premiered on 18 January 2018 at the Royal Theatre of The Hague.

‘A chilling production that leaves the audience bewildered’, said Dutch leading newspaper NRC about Médée by OPERA2DAY. As its successor the company staged Hamlet, the 'grand opéra' by Ambroise Thomas based on Shakespeare’s masterpiece. For generations of opera buffs it was a milestone in opera repertoire. Not so strange, as Hamlet is a dream role for every baritone and Ophélie was given one of the best insanity scenes ever. OPERA2DAY presents a compact version in which we penetrate Hamlets shadowland using a mix of opera and film.

The opera by Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896) comes up to every expectation of what a Hamlet performance has to offer. We see King Claudius’s degenerated court in all its pomp and circumstance, an intense inner struggle of the hero, a mysteriously accompanied appearance of his father, and there is exceptionally moving music for the insane Ophélie. The librettists, who earlier provided texts for Gounod’s Faust, brought the play back to its very core. The masterly music is a revelation to both opera and Shakespeare enthusiasts.
Read the synopsis here.

After its première in Paris in 1868 – exactly 150 years before 2018 -  the opera Hamlet was one of the most performed for decades, as one of the vast parts of the repertoire. Until 1919, for example, the opera was staged 153 (!) times in the Koninklijke Schouwburg at The Hague, mainly an opera house in those days.

Close on 100 years later the Dutch companies OPERA2DAY and the New European Ensemble base their musical interpretation on the scores and parts of these performances, which they unearthed from the archives. The two partners recently worked together in a similar way in Dr. Miracle's last illusion, a performance that was – as the press said – ‘spectacular’ (de Volkskrant) and 'a hit' (Theaterkrant).

Five reasons to come to Hamlet

1. Classic story
After more than 400 years Shakespeare’s plays still fire the imagination, as if they were written yesterday. No other author created such overwhelming tragedies based on utterly human motives such as love, idealism, jealousy and revenge. Ambroise Thomas and his librettists brought the story back to its core and transformed Hamlet into a striking opera.

2. Masterly music
Thomas’s music keeps you poised on the edge of your chair, from beginning to end. For Hamlet he created one of the most beautiful baritone roles in opera. The soprano singing Ophélie has the opportunity to shine in one of the most dramatic madness scenes ever, with exceptionally moving music.

3. Opera and film merge together
In our production of Hamlet opera and film merge together. The scenery is inspired by the rich tradition of the film noir. As a result, we penetrate into Hamlet’s mind. His memories, dreams and visions become apparent.

4. Vocal top talent as well as ‘marvellous musicians’
In Hamlet we stage a cast of vocal top talents: singers that have started a promising career nationally and internationally. The ‘marvellous musicians’ (says Dutch leading newspaper NRC) from the New European Ensemble are in the orchestra pit.

5. By the makers of La Troupe d'Orphée and Médée
OPERA2DAY again produces a French-language opera. NRC critic Kasper Jansen praised Médée as ‘a chilling production that leaves the audience bewildered’. La troupe d’Orphée was voted opera of the year.


This production is made possible thanks to

Gemeente Den Haag
Fonds Podiumkunsten 
Stichting VSBfonds
Fonds 21
Fonds 1818
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds: Aafje Heynis Fonds en het Sayers Fonds
Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst
Société Gavigniès
Gemeente Alkmaar
Stichting Fonds Schiedam Vlaardingen
Stichting F.S. Tijmstra
Gemeente Haarlem
Huis voor de Kunsten Limburg
Stichting De Groot Fonds
Van Ommeren - De Voogt Stichting
Rabobank Gouwestreek
K.F. Heinfonds
Mr. Paul de Gruyter Stichting
Stichting Nelissen-Smit Fonds
Carel Nengerman Fonds


Act 1 and 2

The Danish king Hamlet has passed away. His widow Gertude is remarrying her brother-in-law Claudius no more than two months later. The opera starts on the day of the coronation of Gertrude. Son of the late king, Hamlet junior, Prince Hamlet, son of the late King and Gertrude, is upset that his mother has remarried so soon and wants to leave the court. Hamlets love Ophélie is worried about his melancholy and his departure. Hamlet comforts her and tells her never to doubt his love for her. Laërte, Ophélie's brother, interrupts them and says that he is being sent to Norway as an envoy. He entrusts Ophélie to the care of Hamlet. Courtiers, on their way to the banquet, enter. Hamlet refuses to join Laërte and Ophélie as they leave to join the banquet.
Horatio and Marcellus meet the sequestered Hamlet and they tell him that they have seen the ghost of Hamlet's father the previous night. As the clock strikes midnight, the Ghost also appears to Hamlet. The Ghost tells him that Claudius murdered him with poison and asks his son to take vengeance on Claudius, but Gertrude must be spared. The Ghost withdraws and Hamlet swears to avenge his father.
A first confrontation follows quickly. King Claudius and Gertrude enter. Hamlet, full of aversion to the royal couple, feigns madness, while he develops his plan of approach. That same night he will engage a troupe of actors to perform a play for his uncle and mother.

Ophélie is concerned at Hamlet's new indifference towards her. Hamlet, working on his theatre performance, gives her no attention. It all becomes to much for Ophélie. She confides in Gertrude that she would like to leave the court,  but the queen begs her to stay. The players come in and Hamlet asks them to mime the play The Murder of Gonzago.

While singing a drinking song with the players, the courts arrives for the pantomime. It tells a story similar to how Hamlet's imagines the murder of his father. The audience sees how the poison is administered and how the assassin places the crown on his head. Claudius, looking at this turns pale, commands the play to stop and the actors to leave. Hamlet believes that this proves that Claudius is guilty and attacks him. The upset assembly sees how a revenge murder is scarcely avoided.

- Intermission - 
Act 3, 4 and 5

Hamlet wonders why he didn't kill the king when he had the opportunity. Thinking about his father returning as a Ghost he reflects on the mystery of life and death in the aria 'Être ou ne pas être’, based on the most famous monologue of all. A next opportunity to kill Claudius arises. The king appears and kneels in prayer. Claudius asks his brother to advocate him to the eternal judge. Hamlet, deciding Claudius' soul may be saved if he is killed while praying, delays again his revenge. When Claudius experiences a presence, Hamlet understands from his exclamation that Polonius, father of Ophélie is complicit in the murder. Gertrude and Ophélie enter. The queen tries to persuade Hamlet to marry Ophélie. But Hamlet refuses and tells Ophélie to resort to a monastery. When alone with his mother, Hamlet tries to force her to confront her guilt, but she resists. As Hamlet threatens her, he sees the Ghost, who reminds him he must spare his mother.

After Hamlet's rejection, Ophélie has gone mad with grief. She commits suicide.

Hamlet, moving away from the court to avoid the revenge of the king, comes upon two gravediggers digging a new grave. He asks who has died, but they do not know. On this contemplative place, he realizes the grief that he put Ophélie through by leaving her. He doesn't know yet about her death. Laërte has learned of his sister's death and Hamlet's role in it. He challenges Hamlet to a duel, that is interrupted by Ophélie's funeral procession. Hamlet finally realizes the new-dug grave is meant for her. In despair he kills Claudius, and confronts the choice about his own life: Être... ou ne pas être'...


The two librettists Michel Carré and Jules Barbier were quite faithful to Shakespeare’s play. However, as always with opera libretti based on plays, they abbreviated the text and sometimes opted for a different structure. They also left out several characters, such as Fortinbras, and Rosenkranz and Guildenstern. Polonius has a less important part. Moreover, he is not murdered in the opera. The opera’s original length of 3.5 hours was narrowed by OPERA2DAY to its essence. For example the ballet, which takes half an hour, was deleted.The final act of Thomas’ s opera departs the most from Shakespeare’s play. Laërte and Gertrude do not die. Moreover, Thomas composed two versions of the end. In the Parisian one Hamlet lives on and is crowned king. In the London version he takes his own life. OPERA2DAY combines the most important parts from these finales, keeping the best of both versions, both in content and in music.


Artistic direction and stage direction Serge van Veggel

Musical direction Hernán Schvartzman

Project development Alice Gubler

Artistic direction New European Ensemble Emlyn Stam

Development OPERA2DAY's version Serge van Veggel, Hernán Schvartzman

Composition and arrangements Daniël Hamburger

Cinematographer Margo Onnes

Stage direction comedians Femke Luyckx

Scenography Herbert Janse

Light design Uri Rapaport

Sound design and soundscape Arne Bock

Technical production Ronald Tebra

Costumes Mirjam Pater

Hair and make-up Nienke Algra, Marissa Coster

Researsch historical recordings Emlyn Stam & Hernán Schvartzman



Hamlet Quirijn de Lang

Ophélie Lucie Chartin

Claudius Martijn Sanders

Gertrude Martina Prins

Laërte / Comédien queen Jan-Willem Schaafsma

Horatio / 1st Fossoyeur Patrick Pranger

Ghost of the father / Comédien old king Joop Keesmaat, Hans Peter Ligthart (8 &17 March)

Polonius / Spectre (singing) / Comédien new king Yavuz Arman Isleker

Marcellus / 2nd Fossoyeur Georgi Sztojanov

Courtisans Judith Pranger, Sonja Volten, Adélaïde Rouyer

Voice-over Hamlet Jonathan Rouah

Understudies Horatio Gulian van Nierop, Arnout Lems



1st Violin Rada Ovcharova

2nd Violin Joanna Wronko / Anoek Brokaar

Viola Emlyn Stam

Cello Willem Stam / Sebastiaan van Halsema

Double bass James Oesi

Oboe Roger Cramers / Arthur Klaassens

Flute Felicia van den End / Mirjam Teepe

Clarinet James Meldrum / Jasper Grijpink

Bassoon Amber Mallee / Gretha Tuls

Trumpet Ryan Linham / Sven Berkelmans / Marc Kaptijn

1st Horn Martijn Appelo / Hanna Guirten

2nd Horn Edward Peeters

Trombone Jaume Gavillan / Alejandre Luque Belmonte

Harp Astrid Haring

Percussion Natalia Alvarez-Arenas Arias

Trailer Hamlet (NL)


Trailer Hamlet (EN)


Teaser Hamlet


Hamlet production photos


Hamlet campaign image

No current calendar dates found for this production.

Wednesday 11 Apr 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Tuesday 10 Apr 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Tuesday 03 Apr 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg Nijmegen, Nijmegen

Addres: Keizer Karelplein 32h
City: 6511 NH Nijmegen
Phone: 024-3221100

Monday 02 Apr 2018 - 19:00 HOUR

Schouwburg De Domijnen, Sittard

Addres: Ligne 2
City: 6131 MT Sittard
Phone: 088-5995600

Friday 30 Mar 2018 - 20:15 HOUR

Stadstheater Arnhem, Arnhem

Addres: Velperbinnensingel 10
City: 6811 BP Arnhem
Phone: 026 - 443 73 43

Thursday 22 Mar 2018 - 20:15 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg Haarlem, Haarlem

Addres: Wilsonsplein 23
City: 2011 VG Haarlem
Phone: 023 - 512 12 12 (keuze 1)

Tuesday 20 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theater aan de Parade, Den Bosch

Addres: Parade 23
City: 5211 KL Den Bosch
Phone: 0900 - 3372723

Saturday 17 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theater De Spiegel, Zwolle

Addres: Spinhuisplein 14
City: 8011 ZZ Zwolle
Phone: 0900-1435

Wednesday 14 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Flint, Amersfoort

Addres: Coninckstraat 60
City: 3811 WK Amersfoort
Phone: 033 4229 229

Saturday 10 Mar 2018 - 20:00 HOUR

Koninklijk Theater Carré, Amsterdam

Koninklijk Theater Carré

Addres: Amstel 115-125
City: 1018 EM Amsterdam
Phone: 0900 - 25 25 255 (€ 0,45 p/m)

Thursday 08 Mar 2018 - 20:00 HOUR

Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, Utrecht

Addres: Lucasbolwerk 24
City: 3512 EJ Utrecht
Phone: 030-23 02 023

Wednesday 07 Mar 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

De Lawei, Drachten

Addres: Laweiplein 1
City: 9203 KL Drachten
Phone: (0512) 33 50 50

Tuesday 27 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theaters Tilburg, Tilburg

Addres: Louis Bouwmeesterplein 1
City: 5038 TN Tilburg
Phone: 013 543 22 20

Friday 23 Feb 2018 - 20:00 HOUR

30CC, Leuven (BE)

Addres: Bondgenotenlaan 21
City: 3000 Leuven (BE)
Phone: 016 300 900

Tuesday 20 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

TAQA Theater De Vest, Alkmaar

Addres: Canadaplein 2
City: 1811 KE Alkmaar
Phone: 072-5489999

Thursday 15 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Theater DNK, Assen

Addres: Weiersstraat 1
City: 9401 ET Assen
Phone: 088 012 88 88

Wednesday 07 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

De Goudse Schouwburg, Gouda

Addres: Boelekade 67
City: 2806 AE Gouda
Phone: 0182 - 513 750

Tuesday 06 Feb 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Parktheater, Eindhoven


Addres: Elzentlaan 50
City: 5615 CN Eindhoven
Phone: 040 - 2111122

Wednesday 31 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Tuesday 30 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Friday 26 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Deventer Schouwburg, Deventer

Deventer Schouwburg

Addres: Leeuwenbrug 2
City: 7411 TJ Deventer
Phone: 0900 3000 200

Thursday 18 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Wednesday 17 Jan 2018 - 19:30 HOUR

Koninklijke Schouwburg, Den Haag

Koninklijke Schouwburg

Addres: Korte Voorhout 3
City: 2511 CW Den Haag
Phone: 088 356 5 356

Sunday 07 Jan 2018 - 15:00 HOUR

Theater aan de Schie, Schiedam

Addres: Stadserf 1
City: 3112 DZ Schiedam
Phone: 010-2467467


1 hour and 12 minutes before the intermission, and 1 hour after the intermission


The performance was sung in French and supertitled in Dutch and English


Download the programm booklet of the production here (in Dutch)


18 January 2018 in The Hague, the Netherlands

  • '

    Brilliantly spun out madness scene that strikes you knock out

  • Volkskrant
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