Wisdom is to have dreams that are big enough not to lose sight when we pursue them. OSCAR WILDE
Each season, thousands of young people, from kindergarten to university age discover the world behind the scenes at the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier. Supported by the teams of the Academy’s educational departments and the administrators of the Ten Months of School and Opera programme, students are able to closely follow the complex process that goes into creating an opera or ballet project, from its inception to its first stage performance. A new production relies on a multitude of artistic and technical professions, from musicians and singers, to stagehands, prop hands, painters and production managers. The combined energy and unshakable commitment of one and all allow the curtain to rise each evening. It is the multi-faceted reality of this collaborative effort that schoolchildren and students alike are able to discover. Every evening, this incredible collective fervour creates the dream for thousands of theatre-goers.
The future of opera and ballet depends on the groundwork being laid today. With that in mind, the Academy has established training programmes for young artists at the beginning of their careers: specifically, musicians, singers, choreographers, vocal coaches and directors. The type of training offered is designed to encourage a cross-fertilization of disciplines. It gives almost thirty young artists the means to supplement and enhance their training while expanding their artistic expertise into other fields. This season, a new level has been reached with the creation of an applied arts and crafts component intended to young professionals of different fields such as costume making, wig designing, makeup, carpentry, upholstery, composite materials or even the set designing office, thanks to the expertise and the long-term support of the Foundation Bettencourt Schueller. The objective is twofold: to pass on existing expertise and knowledge and to set it firmly in the current technological and digital reality.
Creation is both the initial objective and the end result. Stage directors and choreographers from a variety of backgrounds will offer the artists in residence a new interpretation of repertoire works and lead them into original and powerful performance work. At the same time, the young artistic craftsmen and craftswomen will also take part in these collective reading, writing and performance projects. The Irish director Tom Creed will adopt a contemporary approach to associate the realism of the tragic fate of the young conscientious objector Owen Wingrave with the feverish onirism of the libretto, inspired by Henry James’s novel. The choreographer Thomas Lebrun will offer a modern version of Les Fêtes d’Hébé in which the singers and dancers will apply their combined talents to plunge into the irresistibly sensual energy of Rameau’s music. After a year in residence at the Academy, Mirabelle Ordinaire will be presenting her first opera production with a version of Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne specifically aimed at young audiences. Nearly a hundred students from the Ten Months of School and Opera programme will also have the opportunity to perform on stage in two performances of a production conceived by the visual artist and director Vladimir Cruells.