Katibu di Shon

'There is a period before and after I read the book Katibu di Shon (1988), some sixteen years ago. It is a historical novel by Carel de Haseth about a slave uprising in Curaçao, about a slave and the son of the master on a plantation growing up together. It is told from those two perspectives. I realized then: if I sing in the opera Andrea Chénier, I can look up anything about the French Revolution. But about my own background, about the Antilles, was so little available. Now there was something that brought to me so much inner healing.

'I knew right away: I have to share this, in this book there is an opera. It took eight years to turn it into an opera. Carel de Haseth himself made the libretto. We turned out to be connected in a bizarre way. The plantation where the story takes place was from his ancestors. And my ancestors lived there like slave people.

'There was one show in Amsterdam, then someone else had to pick it up, but that didn't happen. No registration has been made. Now that I'm on Curaçao, I want to make that recording: an opera film, but contemporary, as a kind of long video clip. There is no more theater here, I want something that stays, as the ultimate declaration of love to my culture and the history of the kingdom.'