After completing his studies Artificial Intelligence at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen Sybrand van der Werf studied stage direction at the Toneelacademie Maastricht and specialised in (classical) music-theatre. As soon as three years after his graduation he successfully debuted in opera with Rimky-Korsakovs The Tale of Czar Saltán at Opera Zuid, where he also directed Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and La Cenerentola by Rossini. He worked as an opera director in the Netherlands and abroad, e.g. for the Dutch National Opera Academy (Don Giovanni), Nationaltheater Mannheim (Der unsichtbare Vater and Amor, based on Händels’ Orlando), BarokOpera Amsterdam (King Arthur at the Théâtre de l’Athenée in Paris, Dido & Aeneas and La Servante Maitresse in France) and Opera Trionfo (l’Isola Disabitata). Apart from opera, Van der Werf also works in youth- and visual theatre, which brought him (among other destinations) to Iran, Tunesia, Indonesia and Norway.

For 2017, Van der Werf is asked by Opera Zuid to stage Werther and in 2018 a fully-staged Messiah is on the program.