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Denis and Katya

Dutch National Opera and BalletWaterlooplein 22, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
Dates/times in Amsterdam time zone
Friday 11 March 202220:00
Monday 14 March 202220:00
Wednesday 16 March 202220:00
Friday 18 March 202220:00
Venables, PhilipDenis and KatyaLibretto by Ted Huffman
Dutch National Opera
Tim AndersenConductor
Ted HuffmanDirector
Andrew LiebermanSet Designer, Lighting Designer
Millie HiibelCostume Designer
Pierre MartinVideo Artist
Rob KaplowitzSound Design
Michael WilmeringBaritoneDenis
Inna DemenkovaSopranoKatya

Two teenage runaways livestream their last hours from a squat. They leave behind a trail of devastating videos. The chamber opera Denis & Katya is about the public’s reactions to the couple’s tragic fate. An investigation in the form of an opera into how stories are formed and shared in our age of internet voyeurism, conspiracy theories, fake news and being online 24/7.

Director Ted Huffman and composer Philip Venables based their most recent opera on a true story. On 14 November 2016, two Russian 15-year-olds started a livestream on the website Periscope depicting their running away from home, going into hiding, their confrontation with the police and ultimately, their death. As the day wore on and Denis and Katya continued to livestream, the number of online viewers continued to grow.

Conspiracy theories abounded, fansites appeared. Denis and Katya became an internet sensation that, like themselves, was short-lived.

The chamber opera Denis & Katya is about how stories are born, passed on and circulated as clickbait via social media. The six characters in Denis & Katya, portrayed by just two singers, reconstruct the two teenagers’ story from different perspectives. The testimonies are based on interviews and talk show conversations with people closely involved with the event. Ted Huffman has worked with young talents for DNO before (Les Mamelles de Tirésias and Trouble in Tahiti/Clemency at Opera Forward Festival 2018), and this time again, both cast members are Dutch National Opera Studio singers. They are accompanied by four Residentie Orchestra cellists.

Denis & Katya was awarded the Fedora Generali Prize for Opera in 2019 and was a finalist in the 2020 International Opera Awards in the category ‘best new opera’.

Denis and Katya
March 2022
Evening performance
Matinee performance
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