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PHOTOS © Harri Rospu 2006


Estonian National Opera Tallinn (Rahvusooper Estonia)
artistic director: Arvo Volmer
première: 10 November 2006

In March 2007 Michiel Dijkema was awarded with the Eesti Teatrikunsti Muusikalavastuste Award for this production of La Cenerentola.

conductor: Arvo Volmer / Jüri Alperten
stage director / set design: Michiel Dijkema
costume design: Claudia Damm
light design: Michiel Dijkema / Bas Berensen

Angelina (Cenerentola): Helen Lokuta / Annaliisa Pillak / Teele Jõks
Don Ramiro: Juhan Tralla / Kestutis Alcauskis / Roland Liiv / Oliver Kuusik
Dandini: René Soom / Aare Saal / Rauno Elp / Taavi Tampuu
Don Magnifico: Rauno Elp / Jouni Kokora / Villu Valdmaa / Priit Volmer
Clorinda: Kristina Vähi / Valentina Taluma / Janne Shevtshenko / Angelika Mikk
Tisbe: Juuli Liil / Riina Airenne / Teele Jõks
Alidoro: Priit Volmer / Mati Palm / Mart Laur

gentlemen of the Estonian National Opera Chorus
Estonian National Opera Symphony Orchestra


Nationale Reisopera Enschede (National Touring Opera)
intendant: Guus Mostart
première: 20 March 2010, Muziekkwartier Enschede
(performances in Enschede, Heerlen, Zwolle, Groningen, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam,
Den Bosch, The Hague, Apeldoorn, Breda, Utrecht and Arnhem)

conductor: Trisdee na Patalung
stage director / set designer: Michiel Dijkema
costume designer: Claudia Damm
light design: Bas Berensen

Angelina (Cenerentola): Francesca Provvisionato
Don Ramiro: Philippe Talbot
Don Magnifico: Piotr Micinski
Clorinda: Machteld Baumans
Tisbe: Ceri Williams
Dandini: André Morsch
Alidoro: Philippe Kahn

gentlemen of the National Touring Opera Chorus, Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra (Het Gelders Orkest)

Fotos from Enschede will be published later. Here pictures from Tallinn.


“Splendid, brilliant, witty!”

Bravo, stage director Dijkema, bravo, Estonian National Opera!
Splendid, brilliant, witty! [...] I have to admit, that this is the first opera performance I have ever witnessed, with such action movie suspense, breathtaking manoeuvres, stupendous production details, singers thoroughly enjoying themselves, spectacular movements of the sets, contagious humour, poignant costumes, irony and grotesque – all that elicited from the Estonian National Opera by the Dutch stage director Michiel Dijkema.
The best praise from the audience is surely when people believe that – for the full three hours of the performance – they are in the midst of a fairy tale, only for the illusion to shatter at the precise moment we hoped that life would match the dream. […]
The performance culminates with the end of the first act, when the whole cast brings Cinderella’s dream in direct communication with the audience to the edge of the stage: conveying both the hope that the dream will become true and the fear that it will fade away. And when the performance ends one realizes that it was indeed nothing but Cinderella’s phantasy. You leave the theatre with the consciousness that life is indeed only a fleeting dream. La vida es sueño.

Rein Veidemann
15 November 2006

“A direct hit to the spectator’s heart!”

Incomparable “Cinderella” – a direct hit to the spectator’s heart!
This new production is a direct hit to the spectator’s heart! […] The performance retains the original fairy-tale mystery, but skilfully combines this with present time. The result is a harmonious and captivating performance, to which exceptionally beautiful and stylish costumes and sets add colour. Truly witty details can be seen throughout the whole performance. […] Everything is natural, spontaneous and funny.
Just like all things come to their natural end once, the characters in Cinderella’s dream had to vanish. When her song ends, so does her dream. Just for one moment we feel the bitter side of a wonderful daydream – opening our eyes and finding ourselves in everyday reality again. However, it is extremely enjoyable that wonderful things such as this “Cinderella” at the Estonian National Opera do happen in reality.

Hele-Mai Poobus
23 January 2007

“How often can you laugh your eyes wet at the opera?”

“Cinderella” in Estonia: a story about dreaming full of funny details
Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” produced by the Dutchman Michiel Dijkema joyous and refreshing performance

[…] The production tells a simple story about dreaming – singing is dreaming in “Cinderella”, and the whole opera is a dream of Angelina, beginning with the song “Once there was a king”. There are abundant references to dreaming in the opera, and the composer has created a lot of confusing scenes, creating the impression that everybody in the story seems to realize their unreal nature. Unlike the classical fairy tale, at the end of this opera the message is given to the audience that not all dreams become true and not all Cinderella’s marry a prince. [...] How often can you laugh your eyes wet at the opera? I did last Friday!
[…] The stage design, being a mixture of modern times and past times, or a mixture of real and unreal, helped highlighting the things happening to the characters. Although Rossini and Ferretti did not include any supernatural fairy-tale elements in their original work, such elements were included in the Tallinn version, such as flying stoves and walking armchairs. The fairy-tale aspect of the story was completed by the costumes – again a mixture, in this case of Victorian court wardrobe allegories and modern casual clothing. One of the central keywords of the performance was elaborate details, from the clap of the hands that makes the lights in the auditorium go out, to the mass movements. The laugh of the audience was caused precisely by the humour in details.

Liisi Laanemets
Eesti Päevaleht
13 November 2006

“firework of ideas and fantasy”

Firework of ideas and fantasy
The young Dutch stage director Michiel Dijkema, invited by the Estonian National Opera to stage “La Cenerentola” is without any doubt an expert in music and loves and understands the entire beauty and fascination of Rossini’s music. Can it be any differently, you would say. Alas, nowadays an opera stage director with a respectful attitude towards the score, at the same time having original ideas, challenging the performers, and being able to push each singer to his or her artistic extreme, is a rarity. In addition, Dijkema delivers a true firework of ideas and fantasy. […] The acting is very dynamic; everything on the stage is moving, performing, singing, falling in love and arguing... The director’s ideas are marvellous and the basic concept for the scenography is as intriguing as simple. […] Also the costumes are extremely good, inventive and joyful!

Tamara Unanova

17 November 2006

“strikingly fresh [...] the complete ensemble was fulfilled with the joy of playing”

One world inside the other
[…] The fact that the style contrasts and the humour in Rossini’s “Cinderella” really do have a strikingly fresh effect seems to be the indisputable merit of the opera’s stage director Michiel Dijkema.
Two separate worlds are already initially hidden in Charles Perrault’s story “Cinderella” on which Rossini’s opera is based: grey reality and beautiful realm of dreams. Dijkema’s production was made unique by a generous and ingenious play with different conditions – contrasts of different realities, unexpected, visually impressive “space changes”, playful distance taking from a role, conscious liberalism in the performance.
The story begins in a living room resembling a typical apartment of “the second Estonia”. Strange changes start to take place in this interior: the room becomes lopsided, walls shift, marvellous courtiers appear from sofa and television, the pseudo-antique royal lily wallpaper pattern – unnoticeable at first – becomes larger and turns into a significant royal symbol. It appears that inside one world there are also other worlds. […]
The acting is marvellous; the complete ensemble was fulfilled with the joy of playing, in which one could feel the stage director’s purposeful hand. Dijkema’s “Cinderella” shows that old opera is not an archaism in today’s culture, but a musical genre of great vitality.

Evi Arujärv
12 January 2007

“This is something different.”

First “Cinderella” at the Estonian National Opera
This is something different. Michiel Dijkema and the German costume designer Claudia Damm from Berlin have taken a different route, using the rich possibilities of the fairy tale as a source of unending fantasy. According to their version, Cinderella lives in modern times – after all, there are people like that in our times too: women waiting for their chance of a better life and their prince on a white horse, women following the latest fashion trends and hunting for husbands, and also proud and arrogant men who cannot see past their own image. The combination of classical costumes on a thoroughly modern background (flowery wallpaper, iron stove at the wall, Soviet-period furniture) looks very fresh. There is reality in the opera, and there are also dreams there, a lot of fantasies, comical situations, surprises and grotesque – everything that can be expressed by the bright and brilliant music of Rossini. The actuality of the production of Michiel Dijkema is confirmed by the many prizes awarded to him in international competitions.

Dmitri Babichenko
November 2006

“excellent, interesting and real fairy-tale-like”

Estonian National Opera brings fairy-tale
“Cinderella” is full of sparkling melodies, brilliant coloraturas, pronounced characters and confusion. All this has been precisely captured in music by Rossini and is staged in an excellent, interesting and real fairy-tale-like way by the Dutch producer Michiel Dijkema. Indeed the staging and the stage design are the more succulent part of the Cinderella story, that has just been presented to the Estonians. It leaves enough room for everyone’s fantasy and at the same time reflects the actual situation strangely accurate. […] My respect to all who brought this difficult production to Estonia. It is human nature that we always need a fairy-tale.

Toomas Kuter
Pärnu Postimees
15 November 2006

“warm and sympathetic humour”

Singers' feast with Rossini
Something very special took place at the Estonian National Opera. Michiel Dijkema (Dutch stage director and set designer) and Claudia Damm (German costume designer) created an imaginative fairy tale to the music of the opera buffo “Cinderella” by Gioachino Rossini, but have done so with means rarely seen on our stage. First, the meaningful spatial games, second, the design and finally, which is the main thing, extremely precise and attractive acting. Important is the warm and sympathetic humour with which stupidity, envy and malice – all typical to human nature – are nailed through grotesque.

Tiiu Levald
24 November 2006

“three hours of unalloyed pleasure”

This production was first seen on 10 November 2006 and the Dutch director and set designer has found a winning concept, once or twice verging on slapstick but never crossing the borders for good taste and he manages to create believable personalities of what is in the main stock buffo characters. The direction is very detailed and it seems that there is not a movement, a gesture or an expression that isn’t considered and worked out.
The fanciful and efficient sets are paired with action fizzing with life and humour and visitors are guaranteed three hours of unalloyed pleasure. [...] This Cenerentola is definitely worth a visit.

Göran Forsling
International Opera Review
Musicweb International
27 September 2007


“the serious with the absurd”

Dijkemas Rossini production shows that humour didn’t stand still since 1817. [...] This Rossini by the Reisopera mixes the serious with the absurd.

De Volkskrant

“as beautiful as entertaining”

The première of this imaginative story got loud applause in the sold out Muziekkwartier Enschede. The Reisopera presents a production, which is as beautiful as entertaining.

De Telegraaf

“sparkling, playful and full of mockery”

An opera by Rossini should be sparkling, playful and full of mockery, as La Cenerentola by the Nationale Reisopera is. In the vibrating, sometimes surprising staging by Michiel Dijkema, this stylish Cinderella evokes memories of the legendary and brilliant productions ofIl Barbiere di Siviglia and L’ Italiana in Algeri by Dario Fo.

NRC Handelsblad