Biography

Jetske Mijnssen, born 1970, is successfully directing in opera theatres throughout Europe. Her directorial style is characterised by a psychological approach that leads to startling and gripping interpretations of opera characters and their fate. Creating emotional experiences through engaging scenes and complex personalities is the essence of her theatrical work, an approach that is deeply rooted in her careful musical reading of the scores. As a critic put it: ‘She makes the music visible, she makes you sense the message in the music’.
Bringing scenic visions and music as close together as possible, is Jetske Mijnssen’s ideal. She is therefore looking for inspiring partners both on stage and in the pit, and she has so far had the good luck to find quite a number of them: Enrique Mazzola, Giedrė Šlekytė, Tito Ceccherini, Emmanuelle Haim, Christoph Rousset, Raphael Pichon, Riccardo Minasi, Gianluca Capuano, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Oksana Lyniv.
The current season will bring Jetske Mijnssen to Prague with Zemlinsky’s Kleider machen Leute. In May she will return to Amsterdam for Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and revive Anna Bolena in Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

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In the ‘21/’22 season Jetske Mijnssen returned to the Komische Oper Berlin with Janacek’s Katja Kabanova and to Opernhaus Zuerich for Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites. In May 2022 she started Donizetti’s Tudor Trilogy with a highly acclaimed Anna Bolena at the Nationale Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam. The Tudor Trilogy is co-produced by Les Arts in Valencia and Teatro San Carlo in Naples. In 2020 Jetske Mijnssen made her debut in Oslo with Il barbiere di Siviglia. The production was nominated for the prestigious Norwegian Heddaprisen 2022. In the season ’19/’20 she premiered Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Royal Danish Opera in Kopenhagen and Verdi’s Don Carlo at Oper Graz.


In 2019 she staged two outstanding baroque performances: Legrenzi’s La divisione del Mondo with Christoph Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques at the Opera national du Rhin in Strasbourg and Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie with Emmanuelle Haim at Opernhaus Zurich. 
In the season ’17/’18 she staged Mozart’s Idomeneo in Zurich and Tchaikovski’s Jevgeni Onegin in Graz. In 2016 she directed Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo at the Opera national de Lorraine. This production was highly acclaimed and widely recognized by winning the French Grand Prix du Syndicat de la Critique. Massenet’s Werther, produced in collaboration with Ben Baur for sets and costumes in Saarbrücken, was nominated for Germany’s highly renowned DER FAUST in 2014.


Jetske Mijnssen’s list of operatic productions is quite remarkable. She directed Humperdinck’s Königskinder in Dresden, Verdi’s La traviata in Berne, Handels Almira in Hamburg and Innsbruck, Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Essen, Gouvy’s Der Cid in Saarbrücken, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in Basle, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges at Berlin’s Komische Oper, and Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Zuid.


For children she has staged Britten’s Der kleine Schornsteinfeger and Valtinoni’s Pinocchio at the Komische Oper Berlin, and Henze’s Pollicino at Netherland’s Nationale Reisopera.
In retrospect, the participation in a workshop by Willy Decker at La Monnaie in Bruxelles was the starting point of her career as a director in 2001. She had previously worked as a director-assistant. She was graduated at Amsterdam’s Universith with a master’s degree in Dutch literature and poetry. Specialising in opera, she subsequently studied stage-direction at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten for four years.