The spirit and the flame
The 2012-2013 season will be rich in key celebrations for the Paris Opera –celebrations that will take us to the heart of our very identity. In 1713, Louis XIV, wishing to consolidate the Royal Academy of Music, established a dance school which has ever since perpetuated the tradition of French choreographic style. The Paris Opera Ballet will join together with the Paris Opera Ballet School to commemorate this great anniversary for a series of exceptional evenings. In 2013, we will also be celebrating the bicentenary of two of the great reformers of 19th century opera: Wagner and Verdi. Both had a special if often conflictual relationship with the Paris Opera yet both found here an orchestra of the highest quality and working conditions unparalleled for their times. The situation has not really changed all that much. The Orchestra and Chorus of the Paris Opera continue to be among the best there are and few other theatres can boast of having such workshops for sets and costumes.
We shall pay tribute to Wagner with The Ring of the Nibelung, one of the key works of Western art and a long-term project devised, alongside Philippe Jordan our musical director, since my appointment. The great Wagnerian singers will also be present and our audiences will be able to rediscover Torsten Kerl, Sophie Koch, Hans Peter König together with some newer stars like Lars Woldt, Martina Serafin and Petra Lang. We will also be presenting two major works by Giuseppe Verdi this season: Falstaff and the Requiem.
Following performances in several major cities worldwide, the Paris Opera will play host to Laurent Pelly’s production of Donizetti’s La Fille du regiment starring Natalie Dessay, Juan Diego Florez and Felicity Lott. We will also be producing a new Carmen to be directed by Yves Beaunesne and conducted by Philippe Jordan. Anna Caterina Antonacci and Karine Deshayes will perform the legendary title role. They will be supported by Nikolai Schukoff and Ludovic Tézier. La Gioconda, Ponchielli’s flamboyant masterpiece, will at last make its entry into the repertoire in a Pier Luigi Pizzi production under the baton of Daniel Oren. Violeta Urmana, Marcelo Alvarez, Sergey Murzaev and Luciana D’Intino will interpret the spectacular score. We are also looking forward to welcoming another deserving work into the repertoire: the enchanting Hänsel & Gretel by Humperdinck, a disciple of Wagner, in a production by Mariame Clément conducted by Claus Peter Flor. In addition, we will also be returning to a few of the Paris Opera’s most renowned productions, namely, Giorgio Strehler’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Capriccio staged byRobert Carsen. There will also be some fascinating rarer works, including Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress, Mussorgsky’s Khovantchina and the diptych formed by Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges. We will also be bringing back Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's highly popular and much acclaimed production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola.
In this its tercentennial season, the Paris Opera Ballet will be showing off its eternal youth and creativity, championed so well by Director of Dance Brigitte Lefèvre. Many of the greatest choreographers will be there for the rendezvous: George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Roland Petit, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Maurice Béjart, Jirí Kylián, Trisha Brown and of course Jerome Robbins. What better proof of the company's extraordinary diversity than the fact that Pierre Lacotte’s La Sylphide, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quichotte and Signes by Carolyn Carlson and Olivier Debré all contribute to making up its identity?
The brilliant Étoile Marie-Agnès Gillot will present her first choreography for the Company and a new Boléro, in the footsteps of Maurice Béjart's, will be unveiled by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet and Marina Abramovic.
It will also be a busy year at the Amphithéâtre too. The Convergences series will continue its mission exploring the rarer avenues of music in the company of some of the most accomplished performers: Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt will attempt to decipher the Bizet mystery, we will pay tribute to the far to rarely-performed composer Frederick Delius and we will return to the enchanted realms of the Lied with Franz Josef Selig, Ricarda Merbeth, Janina Baechle, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Marie-Nicole Lemieux. Philippe Jordan will be at the piano for Brahms’ La Belle Maguelonne with Roman Trekel and Marthe Keller. The Atelier Lyrique will also be presenting a brand new production of Haydn’s Mondo della luna and the Young audiences series will be inviting you to follow the adventures of a certain Siegfried for an initial discovery of The Ring of the Nibelung. All this and more keep the passion and spirit of this incomparable opera house alive whilst arousing the curiosity and passion of our ever-growing audience.
Directeur de l'Opéra national de Paris