A fresh look at season 15/16
the summer break, we offer our readers a retrospective glaze on Stéphane
Lissner’s first season at the Paris Opera. Singers, stage directors, stage designers…
The season 15/16 hosted the debuts at the Paris Opera of numerous acclaimed
artists. Looking back on a season-manifesto.
And Folly took over the Palais Garnier…
production of Platée directed by
Laurent Pelly must be a timeless classic: season after season, it conveys an
ever renewed pleasure. Furthermore, it still succeeds to surprise us and make
us burst into laughter. One must admit that this time, the show could rely on
the presence of Julie Fuchs, soprano of
a rising generation,
who was making her debut at the Paris Opera and enchanted the audience with her
interpretation of La Folie.
And Romeo Castellucci confronted himself with Moses und Aron…
inaugural event of this season unquestionably was Arnold Schönberg’s Moses und Aron given for the first time
at the Opera Bastille. Stage director, creator of shows for theatre and opera
that are as many visual shocks, the Italian Romeo Castellucci confronted himself to this biblical tale about
a people’s wandering and the limits of speech. The term “confrontation” isn’t
an overstatement when considered the importance of image in Castellucci’s
aesthetic, importance that is precisely questioned by Schönberg in his opera.
From this dialectical opposition between a major contemporary artist and one of
the 20th century’s most fascinating works emerged a memorable
artistic gesture, an aesthetic manifesto : on the vast stage of the Opera
Bastille, a desert stretched itself out – firstly
white then painted black – until ironing out the chorus, while
Schönberg’s notes resounded relentlessly.
And Barbara Hannigan set fire to La Voix humaine…
And Faust left the Earth for Mars…
For his Paris Opera debut, Latvian stage director Alvis Hermanis took over the myth of Faust and turned it into a very contemporary re-envisioning: basing himself upon the “Mars One” project which intends to colonize the planet Mars, seeing in cosmologist Stephen Hawking the scholar’s rightful heir, he imaged a production where the pact between the scholar and the Devil becomes a one-way ticket to the Red Planet. Under the musical direction of Philippe Jordan, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryan Hymel, Bryn Terfel and Sophie Koch were an outstanding vocal cast.
And Rosina escaped Bartolo’s claws…
And Rigoletto stopped laughing…
Unanimously acclaimed from New York to Salzburg, stage director Claus Guth hadn’t yet had the opportunity to direct a production for the Paris Opera. It now has been done with Rigoletto, for which he offered, as always, a chilling a chirurgical vision turning Gilda, the fool’s daughter, into the object of every fantasy: the opportunity for Olga Peretyatko to make a remarkable debut alongside Quinn Kelsey. A production that will be revived as soon as next season.
And Lear was created in its original version at the Palais Garnier…
Last new operatic production of the season, the representation of Aribert Reimann’s Lear based on Shakespeare for the first time in its original language at the Palais Garnier, was one of the high points of this season. On the occasion, stage director Calixto Bieito offered a breathtaking show, living up to the Shakespearian drama. So as to make us eager to discover his Carmen programmed next season… Remembering Bo Skovhus’ stunning interpretation of this king at death’s door still sends shivers down one’s spine…