MADURO – A new opera about love in wartime

Some of us will have visited Madurodam, the tourist attraction in The Hague which recreates, in miniature, locations in The Netherlands. Those of us that have not been there will certainly have heard of it, but many of us, I suspect, will not know the fascinating story behind it. There have been books and there have been films but now the story is going to be told in the form of a brand new opera which premieres in The Hague

From 1st – 7th September, the new Amare theater will host Maduro about resistance hero George Maduro, his tragic love story and the origin of Madurodam. Alexander de Jong, Doris Baaten and Marlies Ruijgrok play leading roles in the large-scale production with more than a hundred singers and the musicians of the Residentie Orkest.

The new music theater production Maduro tells the story of the young war hero, his life, his unhappy love, his heroism and his tragic death and is interwoven with the story of the origin of Madurodam, the monument with which we still commemorate him. Maduro is a production by Amare and the Residentie Orkest in collaboration with Kwekers in de kunst, De Dutch Don’t Dance Division and Rhubarb.

George Maduro was born in Curaçao in 1916 into a wealthy Sephardic Jewish family. While studying law in Leiden, he falls in love with his childhood friend Hedda. Because she is a Protestant, their families disapprove of the relationship, but George and Hedda persevere despite all the opposition. Then the war begins. In May, Hussar George and a handful of men recapture a strategically located villa from the Germans, for which he posthumously received the military Order of William. After the capitulation, he joins the student resistance. He is arrested and imprisoned in the Oranjehotel. He is released and tries to flee the country, but is arrested again, imprisoned in Saarbrücken and dies in Dachau.

After the war, Bep Boon van der Starp plans to build the miniature city of Madurodam in memory of George Maduro with famous Dutch buildings and projects. She wants to use the entrance fee to support students who suffer from TB. In her own way, the enterprising woman overcomes many problems, often having to compete on her own against skeptical men. When the plan threatens to fail due to lack of money, George Maduro’s parents appear on the scene. They are looking for a monument to their son. And so the two stories come together.

Cast and credits

Alexander de Jong   George Maduro
Doris Baaten             Bep Boon van der Starp
Marlies Ruijgrok       Hedda de Haseth Möller
Frank Dolphin          Wong Jossy Maduro
Herma van Piekeren Beca Maduro
Max Bruins               Anton
Joris van de Waterbeemd Unkown soldier

Supporting roles : Theater choir Dario Fo van Kwekers in de kunst, Jeugdtheaterschool Rabarber

Director : Jeroen Lopes Cardoza  

Text : Pieter van de Waterbeemd  

Music : Bob Zimmerman  

Musical direction : Rick Schoonbeek

Orchestra : Residentie Orkest

Dance : De Dutch Don’t Dance Division