jimmy   opera


1. Prologue


Watch the promo video made by Opera Nu on the Wervelwing website


2. Lied van Patrick

For 4 vocal soloists- tenor, baritone, mezzo-soprano and bass, and six wind players- fl, ob, cl, bass cl, bn, and hn

libretto by children's-books author Edward van de Vendel


A boy of ten is finding it difficult to make friends. The world doesn’t understand him, his mother’s too busy and her boyfriend’s a dope. And at the craziest moments he keeps thinking about a girl in his class. It’s time for action – he is a soldier, after all. So, when his mother goes to parents’ evening, he sneaks out after her. A story about spying and about blood brothers.


Jimmy, tenor
Jimmy is a 10-year-old schoolboy. He lives with his mother and her friend Mathieu. Jimmy lives in a fantasy world; he thinks he is a soldier. When his mother is going to talk to his teacher during a parent evening, Jimmy crawls out of bed to ambush her like a real soldier to overhear the conversation at school.

Patrick, baritone
Patrick is a little older than Jimmy, who thinks he is really tough. At night he hangs about the streets with his mates... at least that is what he says. Whether Patrick is really as tough as he wants Jimmy to believe remains uncertain, because where are his mates?

Mum, mezzo soprano
Jimmy's mother is worried. His teacher during the parent evening has told her Jimmy doesn't have any friends; he thinks it is war and that he is a soldier. Hasn't she looked after him enough? Is he not, as she presumed, outside every afternoon to play with his friends?

Mathieu, bass
Mathieu is Mum’s friend who lives with them. Jimmy doesn't like this a single bit. He thinks he is a dope, and he should not think he is his father! With the best intentions, Mathieu explains to Jimmy how to make friends, with disastrous consequences. 

Anastacia, performed by flautist
In Jimmy’s class there’s a very sweet girl called Anastacia. At the craziest moments he keeps thinking about her. He would really like to become friends with Anastacia, but how? After Mathieu has explained to him how to make friends, Jimmy rushes off to look for Anastacia. The funny thing is that the character of Anastacia is that she is not an opera singer, but the flute player of the ensemble. Each time Jimmy’s thoughts drift off to Anastacia, she plays the melody belonging to her character.

Teacher, performed by bassoonist
Just like Anastacia, the character of the teacher is not performed by an opera singer, but by the bassoon player of the ensemble. The performer does this with her bassoon, but also uses her voice. You can hear this clearly when she gets real angry at the school playground.

The ensemble forms the accompaniment of the vocalists, but are often part of the story as well. They pretend to be the bushes through which Jimmy sneaks. Sometimes they also comment on what happens on stage. This is very particular, because usually the musicians are hidden in the orchestral pit so you can’t even see them. Every now and than, the music tells you what is happening in the story.

In April 2007, the opera was first performed with great success during the second edition of the Dutch Chamber Opera Festival in Zwolle, The Netherlands. In addition, two performances were held as part of an educational project, where six local primary school classes were involved. The Yo! Festival in Utrecht has booked several performances alongside educational projects for November 2007. Further performances took place in The Hague and Alphen aan de Rijn in December 2007, and in the autumn of 2008. Jimmy was commissioned by the Wervelwind Ensemble, and directed by Marcel Sijm.

Edward’s music at Donemus