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Guillaume Gallienne directs La Cenerentola

In rehearsal — By Octave

When Stéphane Lissner asked Guillaume Gallienne to direct Rossini’s La Cenerentola, his initial reaction was to ask why he had chosen him. The director of the Paris Opera replied: “Because it’s about the family, it’s funny and it’s cruel.”

Actor, director and member of the Academie Française, Guillaume Gallienne directs his first opera with this production of La Cenerentola. The photographer Éléna Bauer has captured the atmosphere of the production as it takes shape. Commentary by Guillaume Gallienne.   


Guillaume Gallienne et Marie Lambert
Guillaume Gallienne et Marie Lambert © Elena Bauer / OnP

“Shortly after accepting the commission from the Paris Opera, Marie Lambert, my assistant, and I discussed Italian cinema. We evoked Riso Amaro, Anna Magnani, Ettore Scola and Brutti, sporchi e cattivi, Respiro and Valeria Golino …”

Guillaume Gallienne et Teresa Iervolino (Angelina)
Guillaume Gallienne et Teresa Iervolino (Angelina) © Elena Bauer / OnP

“Beaten and deprived of her name, Angelina can literally only smoulder in silence. In her stark misery, however, there is a fire threatening to blaze up. When I went to hear Teresa Iervolino in the role of Angelina in Palermo, she pleased me enormously: I said to myself that she could be that volcano.”

Teresa Iervolino (Angelina), Guillaume Gallienne, Alessio Arduini (Dandini)
Teresa Iervolino (Angelina), Guillaume Gallienne, Alessio Arduini (Dandini) © Elena Bauer / OnP

“How can the Prince and Angelina recognise each other? How can it be obvious that this is love at first sight? Angelina is emotionally handicapped because she has been starved of affection. And what of him? Where does his fragility come from? And what is his relationship with Dandini? Why does Alidoro call Angelina his daughter?"

Guillaume Gallienne et Alessio Arduini (Dandini)
Guillaume Gallienne et Alessio Arduini (Dandini) © Elena Bauer / OnP

“I’ve seen numerous versions of La Cenerentola. Very opera buffa productions. They didn’t really interest me. I had the impression that there was something else in the music. When I direct the singers, I tend to streamline enormously. When a performer says: ‘ I have the impression of not acting’, I say to him, ‘That means you’ve struck the right tone."

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