Denis & Katya

Philp Venables

When: 11-18 March | 20:30 / 20:00

Location: Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Auditorium

Ticket price: From €19,-

Language: English and Russian

Surtitles: Dutch

Online (im)mortality

Two teenage runaways livestream their final hours from a squat, leaving behind a trail of devastating videos. The chamber opera Denis & Katya explores public reactions to the couple’s tragic fate. It is an operatic investigation into how stories are formed and shared in this age of internet voyeurism, conspiracy theories, fake news and having to be 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 livestreaming their story on the website Periscope. The footage revealed how they ran away from home, went into hiding, had a confrontation with the police and how this ultimately led to their death. As the day wore on, Denis and Katya continued to livestream and their online viewers continued to grow. Conspiracy theories abounded, fan sites appeared. Denis and Katya became an internet sensation that, much like their own lives, was only very brief.

A cast of two young talents

The chamber opera Denis & Katya looks at how stories emerge, how they are told and how they are then shared on social media. The six characters in Denis & Katya, portrayed by just two singers, reconstruct the teenagers’ story from different perspectives. The testimonies are based on interviews with people who were closely involved with what happened. Ted Huffman has worked with young talents from DNO before (Les Mamelles de Tirésias and Trouble in Tahiti/Clemency), and will do so now again with two young and talented singers. They will be accompanied by four cellists of the Residentie Orchestra The Hague.

11, 14, 16 and 18 March


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Team & cast


Ted Huffman


Philip Venables

Musical direction

Tim Andersen

Stage direction

Ted Huffman

Set and lighting design

Andrew Lieberman


Raphaela Rose


Pierre Martin


Simon Hendry


Ksenia Ravvina


Michael Wilmering and Inna Demenkova


Musicians of the Residentie Orkest The Hague

Original Production by

Opera Philadelphia, Music Theatre Wales and Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier