Abbé Perrin (Director of...
After studying classical literature and the cello, Jean-Louis Martinoty became an essayist, a journalist, a radio personality and a music critic for the newspaper L’Humanité. It was in that capacity that he discovered opera and met Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and ultimately became the latter’s assistant. He made his debut as a director in Strasbourg in 1975 with Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Offenbach’s La Périchole. He then directed numerous baroque operas. His productions of L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Jean-Claude Malgoire and Marc Antoine Charpentier’s David et Jonathas received the Critic’s Grand Prize. He directed some of the great works of the repertoire (Carmen, Boris Godunov, La Traviata, Madame Butterfly…), including several operas by Mozart (La Clemenza di Tito, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni …). He also collaborated with numerous contemporary composers (Peter Maxwell Davies, Nguyen Thien Dao). On February 12, 1986, he was named administrator of the Paris Opera following the resignation of his predecessor Massimo Bogianckino after the latter was elected Mayor of Florence. During his tenure, which ended in 1989, two operas by Leoš Janáček entered the repertoire.
These were produced in parallel in 1988 at the Palais Garnier (Kátia Kabanová) and the Salle Favart (From the House of The Dead). In addition, three new operas would have their world premieres on the stage of the Palais Garnier: Maurice Ohana’s La Célestine, Busoni’s Doktor Faust and York Höller’s Der Meister und Margarita. Some new works were also added to the repertoire of the Paris Opera Ballet: Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fugue, Antony Tudor’s The Leaves are fading, Rudi van Dantzig’s Sans Armes, Citoyens! and As Time Goes by and Rules of the Game by Twyla Tharp. In January 1987, he programmed Lully’s Atys at the Opéra-Comique in a production by Jean-Marie Villégier with William Christie conducting. That production was also the catalyst for the baroque revival in France. An aficionado of contemporary art, Jean-Louis Martinoty also created the “Cartes Blanches”, an all-encompassing performance based around a painter or a visual artist (Karel Appel, Paul Jenkins, Arman, Bernar Venet). He also collaborated with painters, visual artists and set designers (Arman, Debré…). His productions are still being staged on a regular basis in the major opera houses of Europe.
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