The excessively wealthy Italian Marquesa Casati strove to be seen throughout her life. She was famous for the exuberant parties she organized. She was portrayed and photographed by the great artists of her age. With her black-rimmed eyes, her flaming red hair and eccentric behaviour she tried to gain a place in the art world.
Against the background of the outbreak of the First World War, the libretto questions the relevance of art. At one of Casati's parties, all sorts of artists from the time of Casati come together. Casati does not engage with worldly problems and focuses blindly on her passion and her artistic ideals.
The online world premiere of Willem Jeths’ new opera about the extravagant Italian art muse and patron Luisa Casati in its offline world premiere was an enormous success during the lockdown. In the fall of 2020, the opera was directed by Marcel Sijm, with costumes made by the famous couturier Jan Taminiau.
In composing operas such as Ritratto, Willem Jeths – who was the Netherlands’ first national composer between 2014 and 2016 – manipulates orchestral colours and deliberately selects timbres to match his protagonists. ‘I’m convinced that music can be stronger and more expressive if people can relate to it.’