From 18-20 October 2019 Michiel Dijkema will lecture during the seminar “Opera as Imagination and Realization” at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn. The seminar is organized by the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts; Musicology Study Area of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. The goal is to help young composers, librettists et al. find their path in music theatre.

The premiere of Svanda Dudák (Schwanda, der Dudelsackpfeifer) by Jaromír Weinberger at the Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen (15 June 2019) was received by audience and press with overwhelming enthusiasm:
“masterfully convincing and imaginative staging” (Der Opernfreund)
“pure stage magic [...] visionary set design” (Recklinghäuser Zeitung)
“The staging is no less than a triumph. [...] up to the last detail affectionate and conclusive directing of the characters, with much joy at creating humour” (Kultur West Magazin)
“Dijkema brings his audience again and again to be astonished” (theater: pur)
“brilliant” (WAZ)
“devilishly good! […] Enormeous enthusiasm; thunderous applause.” (IOCO)
Michiel Dijkema’s new production of The flying Dutchman (première: 30 March 2019) will be part of WAGNER 22. The Oper Leipzig has set the ambitious goal of having Richard Wagner’s entire operatic output in its repertoire by 2022. This will culminate in June/July of 2022, when all of Wagner’s operas will be presented in the city of his birth during a three week festival. The première was received with enormous enthusiasm by the audience. The reactions in the press were mixed:
“conventional” (Concerti)
“A first-class production [...] Dijkema cushions the overwhelming realistic opulence of his stage world again and again with almost sparse reduction” (Leipziger Volkszeitung)
“Sensational theatre coup! [...] Total enthusiasm at the end; rhythmic clapping.” (Kultura Extra)
“a Dutchman, that currently should have little competition in opulence and creativity […] a staging without a single boring second” (Das Opernglas)
“He really exists: The Flying Dutchman conquers the Leipzig Opera as a visually stunning spectacle [...] In his production, Dijkema merges opera and novella. [...] The staging of the characters is consequent.” (Leipziger Internet-Zeitung)
“The Dutchman Michiel Dijkema is known for his visually intense theatre. [...] Towards the end of the evening he makes a stage-filling three-master sail into the auditorium: that’s simply overwhelming.” (MDR Kultur)
“The Dutch stage-director and set-designer once again demonstrates his ability to transform a theatre space into a fantastic cabinet of wonders through technical refinements and brave artifice.” (
“Dijkema’s approach is convincing, because he reinterprets the relationship between Senta and the Dutchman, and last but not least because of the unbelievable poetry of the scenes.” (Online Merker)
“On the stage appeared the massive wooden ship of the Dutchman with its blood-red sails. A 20 meters long, six meters wide and 12 meters high monstrosity, which made its way over the edge of the stage into the auditorium and rotated back and forth over the heads of the enthusiastic spectators.” (IOCO)
“consciously intended distance to a psychologizing search for a possible relevance to the present” (Concerti)
“Gothic Romanticism with impressive visuals [...] the overwhelming power of the music and the pictures, which Dijkema found to support this music, is so irresistible, that a large part of the nearly three hours gross goes by in a flash.” (Leipziger Volkszeitung)
“Dijkema trusts Wagner and his story, his music – and above all the intellect of his audience. [...] One should really hurry to buy tickets.” (Tamino Klassik)
“The Dutchman’s ghost-crew comes to life and climbs their ghost-ship, which immediately sails into the auditorium. The spectators are thrilled, pull out their smartphones and applaud. [...] this production will be a hit.” (Leipziger Internet-Zeitung)
“Buckle up for goose bumps and hold your breath! The show was full of effects, which form a coherent unity with the music of Wagner, and full of pathos, which reaches its climax, when the Dutchman disintegrates into dust at the end.” (K&W)
“This staging has everything to become a legendary production, both due to its originality and its optical trumps.” (Online Merker)
“The star of the evening is the ship of the Dutchman with a short appearance in the third act, after the intermission. Stage-sized, with red-glowing sails it swings over the seventh row of the auditorium. Completed by cannons with fire sparking fuses. [...] Everyone will be talking about this. This ship is here to stay.” (Concerti)
“Dark scenes of longing and redemption [...] a psychological portrayal of two damaged souls is the main focus of this staging” (O-Ton Kulturmagazin)
“This coup de théâtre is a class of its own [...] a great success” (Tamino Klassik)
“Sensational [...] a recommendable staging”
“The old story is told in an old manner. [...] Motto: Don’t scare with contemporary references!” (Freie Presse / NMZ)
“A network of stories forms a layered structure of narrative levels. [...] Dijkema emphasises aspects, that brings out a love drama about loyalty, passion and sacrifice. [...] highest craftsmanship” (
“a new hit production in the programme” (IOCO)
“Never have I seen anything this spectacular in any of the Wagner operas I attended” (Kultura Extra)
“A significant production, which finds a rarely reached balance between a passionate commitment to Gothic Romanticism and a tongue-in-cheek approach.” (K&W)
“a good gateway drug – to bring Wagner to the people in the style of big cinema” (MDR Kultur)
“This is 3D cinema at its best, only without 3D glasses. [...] This Flying Dutchman definitely has what it takes to become a hit production.” (O-Ton Kulturmagazin)
Michiel Dijkema concluded his engagement as a guest professor for opera at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” Berlin with a masterclass for opera stage-directing students and with his staging of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna with opera singing students. The première of this production was received with great enthusiasm by audience and press: “A highly entertaining and extremely physical staging by Michiel Dijkema (who also designed the great set with its splendid enormous telescope tube) [...] goose bumps! Very atmospheric - yes, this Haydn MUST be seen and heard! Absolutely worthwhile, believe me!”
(Kultura Extra)
“Il mondo della luna [...] is overflowing with wit and charm. For a large part the intensive stage performances of the singers are to be thanked for this. With wonderful comedic acting and a great sense for the absurdity of the human body, they make the audience laugh every minute of the show. [...] Also great is the set design, which stage director Michiel Dijkema created for the studio hall of the music academy. First and foremost the telescope which Bonafede uses to see the moon, succeeds in an original way: From a barber chair, satellite dishes and toilet plungers a strange object emerges, which is hilarious to behold in its absurd quotidianity. [...] a dazzling evening”


The Dutch opera stage director and set designer Michiel Dijkema studied classical piano at the Sweelinck Conservatory Amsterdam with Danièle Dechenne and at the Utrecht School of Arts with Alexander Warenberg and Alwin Bär. Subsequently he studied opera stage directing at the Academy of Music “Hanns Eisler” Berlin. He was active as a song accompanist and studied interpretation of song with Thom Bollen in Utrecht and with Wolfram Rieger in Berlin.

Since 2006 he directed and designed, among others, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (Dutch National Touring Opera), Bizet’s Carmen (Eisenach and Meiningen), Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (Dutch National Touring Opera), Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (Stockholm), Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (Rotterdam), Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (Eisenach, Moscow and Tallinn), Marschner’s Der Vampyr (Amsterdam), Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia (Leipzig), Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Gelsenkirchen), Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Tallinn and Dutch National Touring Opera), Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel (Gelsenkirchen), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Wiesbaden and Antibes), Puccini’s Tosca (Leipzig), Thomas’ Hamlet (Zagreb), Gassmann’s L’Opera Seria (Hannover), Smetana’s The Bartered Bride (Wiesbaden), Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Darmstadt), Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer (Wiesbaden), Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers (Kiel), Britten’s A Midsummer Night's Dream (Hannover), Gounod’s Faust (Leipzig and Bolzano), Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne (Volksoper Vienna), Strauss’ Salome (Wuppertal), the world première of Isidora Žebeljan's Nahod Simon (Gelsenkirchen), Lehár’s Die Lustige Witwe (Linz), Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago (Koblenz), Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Semperoper Dresden), Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Gelsenkirchen), Dvorák’s Rusalka (Leipzig), Haydn’s Il mondo della luna (HfM Berlin), Stephan Peiffer’s Vom Ende der Unschuld (Internationale Maifestspiele Wiesbaden), Louis Spohr’s Faust (Koblenz), Wagner’s The flying Dutchman (Leipzig) and Weinberger’s Svanda Dudák (Gelsenkirchen).

Michiel Dijkema won several international opera directing prizes: the second European Opera-directing Prize 2005, the first Peter-Konwitschny-Nachwuchsregiepreis for his concept of Carmen and in 2007 the Eesti Teatrikunsti Muusikalavastuste Award for his production of La Cenerentola. This award is the most important Estonian music-theatre prize. The set design of Il Barbiere di Siviglia won 2011 the first Wizard-Award in Berlin.

Michiel Dijkema teached as a guest-professor to singing students and to opera stage directing students at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”  Berlin.

Michiel Dijkema lives with his wife and son near Amsterdam. He rode on his bicycle from Amsterdam to Rome, Santiago de Compostela, Venice, Vienna, London, Barcelona, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and other destinations.

SEASON 2018-2019

Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Mozart)
Semperoper Dresden
Tosca (Puccini)
Oper Leipzig
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten)
Staatsoper Hannover
Faust (Spohr)
Theater Koblenz
première: 19 January 2019
Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner)
Oper Leipzig
première: 30 March 2019
Rusalka (Dvorák)
Oper Leipzig
Svanda Dudák (Weinberger)
Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen
première: 15 June 2019


PHOTO © Jochen Quast 2017
(during a rehearsal of
“Die Entführung aus dem Serail”
at the Semperoper Dresden)