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"The theater - as we know it - originates from the Greek Civilization, and Opera most of all”, says Schellen.“The Greek theater criticized the shortcomings of our life style and so does opera.

If we want to understand how and why this is done, we need to have a fundamental knowledge of our history. We will see that the human race has not changed a bit and therefore all human behavior as we see it in the opera, has to do with NOW. The Important partner in the theater is the audience. And the audience is always NOW. That makes all our theatrical products so unbelievably exciting!

I think that opera teaches us that despite all the changes in our daily lives, with ever-increasing technology, mankind doesn't essentially change much. And it's good to laugh at ourselves. We should always laugh, and be reflective on our human emotions.


Schellen's enduring passion for opera has led to a career spanning more than four decades.

Born in the Netherlands, Schellen was Managing Director and later Associate General Director of Netherlands Opera for eighteen years; three years General/Artistic and interim Director of the Municipal Theater and Concert Hall in Enschede/NL; three years General Interim Director of the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam; three years General & Artistic Director of Indianapolis Opera.

His directing debut took place in 1982 with Die Zauberflöte at the International Holland Festival, collaborating with the Teatro Comunale in Bologna/Italy. Since then, he has directed numerous operas in Europe, United States and Canada.

Opera stage director since 1979, he accepted the position of Director of Opera Theater at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona/USA in August 2000. He was a tenured Associate Professor at NAU in 2006 and retired in 2015. He passed away on March 28, 2016.

Because We Remember Them:

World War II and the Holocaust in the Arts

A commemoration through personal accounts, music, dance, film, and drama.

The event on May 2, 2015, organized by Deborah Raymond, Associate Professor of Voice at NAU, included music and drama by composers and authors who lived in the Nazi camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia (and were later deported); as well as commentary from NAU Director of Opera Theatre Nando Schellen, who spent his childhood in the Netherlands and Belgium during the war.

Works by Erwin Schulhoff, Viktor Ullmann, Gideon Klein, Pavel Haas, Vitezslav Horpatsky,Felix Prokes, Mauel Chebsky, Leo Strauss, Myra Strauss-Gruhenberg, Ellwood Derr, Ilse Weber, were performed.