US Concert's anniversary piece receives award

Doctor Atomic voted best opera of the year

Scene uit Doctor Atomic
A scene from Doctor Atomic. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Doctor Atomic was one of the five nominees chosen by a panel of journalists specialised in opera. The audience voted it as the best opera of the year.

US Concert celebrated its 200th anniversary with seven performances of the piece, written by John Adams, about Robert Oppenheimer, who invented the atomic bomb. About 5,600 people attended the performances.

"An honour"
Before winning the award, Doctor Atomic had already been praised by Dutch newspapers. Over 50 percent of the votes received by the website went to Doctor Atomic, which beat productions from the Dutch National Opera and the National Traveling Opera.

Floris Heeres, chair of US Concert, participated in the opera's production team last year. He says the award is a "great honour". Floris: "It was amazing just to be nominated alongside all those big operas. But it was also nice to see how many members, friends and family members were so proud of what we had accomplished that they voted for us." 

"Extraordinarily special"
A few professional soloists were hired for the production. The conductor and the director were external professionals as well. But the students from US Concert and the Utrechtse Studenten Cantorij choir also played an important role.

Floris: “We spent over three years working on this together, but it was our first time working on such a big and heavy opera. That's why it's so extraordinarily special that we've received so many compliments. Everybody was excited about the opera and the festival that we organised to go along with it."

Another prize
In addition, the publication gave US Concert the Schaunard Award, a prize for people or groups who made a significant contribution to opera and musical theatre. This is the eleventh edition of the prize, which is named after a character from a Puccini opera. US Concert won the same award in 2013 for Rheingold, a travelling anniversary opera performed on a huge cargo ship (article in Dutch only, Ed.).

Floris and the other students involved in the production celebrated the wins with a dinner. In February, all members will get to watch the performance at the movie theatre Louis Hartlooper Complex. A USB stick with the audio and video recordings of the opera can also be purchased on Doctor Atomic's website as of this week.  

Floris: “This is a nice way to say goodbye to a project on which we've worked so intensely for so long. But I must admit we're already looking forward to our next anniversary production, which will take place in 5 years."

Last year, DUB documented the rehearsals for Doctor Atomic in a video.

Lustrumvoorstelling van Utrechtsch Studenten Concert: Opera Doctor Atomic
Lustrumvoorstelling van Utrechtsch Studenten Concert: Opera Doctor Atomic