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Meet the challenge!
Stéphane Lissner

Director of the Paris Opera

For over two years, as the clouds have gathered over opera houses around the world, I have been able to prepare the Paris Opera’s 2015 / 2016 season with a sense of serenity and indeed, a great deal of contentment. With over three hundred years of history, our institution is truly exceptional! The Opera has certainly played a significant role in the effort to reduce public expenditure. However, after having directed the Théâtre du Châtelet and numerous institutions and festivals in Spain, Austria, Aix-en-Provence as well as Milan’s La Scala, I can say that the Paris Opera impresses me every day with the quality of its technical teams, its Orchestra, its Chorus members and its Ballet and with the commitment of its management. The hundred or more different professions present at the Opera possess immense talent. I’m thinking of the couturiers, carpenters, painters, milliners and sculptors, amongst others, who are certainly fortunate to enjoy the opportunity of working for our productions and our audiences. France, however, is also fortunate in having such a fine national Opera.

I can say that the Paris Opera impresses me every day with the quality of its technical teams

In recent years it has become the done thing to denigrate and lend credit to a sense of decline that is supposedly threatening France. And yet, it is enough to look beyond our frontiers to convince ourselves that the French cultural exception remains a reality of which we may be proud. Even if reactionary tendences are becoming increasingly apparent, our country possesses an exceptional cultural fabric that offers artists the means to flourish and to reach their audiences.
This freedom and the financial resources that the State and local authorities allocate to art, creativity and live performance come with responsibilities, as does the loyal support of our sponsors. The Paris Opera and its collaborators are fiercely attached to their public service mission, to passing on their heritage, and to fostering creation. Although our mission statement has not fundamentally changed over the last twenty years, the ways in which we reach our audiences are destined to evolve.  

 In a few months, you will discover “3e scène”, our digital third stage. This virtual space – a place for creation, culture and discovery in their own right – will offer a new approach to opera and ballet, complementing Garnier and Bastille. Since it is essential to make our productions available to new audiences, I would like to reserve a special welcome to young people in our theatres, particularly for dress rehearsals. Starting in September, as part of this same approach, it is my wish to make the Opera’s Academy the spearhead of campaign aimed at young audiences and young artists.

Each day, we must strive for excellence. Our ballet company is recognised as one of the best in the world, if not the best, and Benjamin Millepied, who took over at the end of last year, has brought to it his talent and audacity. The Orchestra, directed by Philippe Jordan, has earned itself magnificent international recognition. Finally, when the season opens with Moses und Aron, the Chorus, led for the past few months by its new director José-Luis Basso, will demonstrate that they too are of the highest calibre. All these artists are fully committed to the project we have developed for the next six seasons – a project characterised by three words: unity, ambition and balance.

First of all, I believe profoundly in the unity of our House. Too often, we make a distinction between Bastille and Garnier, the Ballet and the Orchestra, opera and ballet… Several times each season, we will be combining their forces and their identities. Our ambition relies primarily on the artists, since they are at the heart of my project and have guided our thinking. The programme you will discover in the following pages has been developed alongside composers, artists, singers, choreographers and directors. And the Paris Opera’s audiences deserve, quite simply, the best. A visit to the Opera is not an everyday occurrence, nor is it an everyday expense in the budgets of our audience members. 
That is why I suggest you come and see those who breathe life into the operatic and choreographic arts around the world, many of whom will be performing in Paris for the first time. Balance is characteristic of the choices I have made. Our public service mission requires us to speak to everyone without limiting ourselves to a lowest common denominator. This obligation is anything but a burden. On the contrary, it is highly motivating because to attain such worthy objectives we have to pursue a veritable utopia: that of total performance throughout the season.  

I would like you to share in our curiosity, our impatience and our generosity and also the courage of the artists as they confront the great questions facing mankind

There will be works from the 20th and 21st centuries, starting with Arnold Schönberg and heralding new world premiere productions as of 2016. There will also be works from the grand repertoire, starting with Verdi’s Popular Trilogy and bel canto. French music will have a major presence too, with a common theme focused on Hector Berlioz and the great French composers, from Rameau to Meyerbeer and Saint-Saëns and leading on to contemporary artists. The ballet programme has been put together with the same care and attention paid to the musical works chosen. Our ballets will include works from Johann Sebastian Bach to Ligeti, not forgetting Prokofiev and Stravinsky, as well as Pierre Boulez to whom I wish to pay tribute in December 2015.
I would like you to share in our curiosity, our impatience and our generosity and also the courage of the artists as they confront the great questions facing mankind. I would be delighted if, every evening, you were intrepid enough to share our rigorously high standards, our honesty, ou audacity and our courage, and join the Paris Opera's adventure.  


To feel the air from other planets

Philippe Jordan

Music & dance

Benjamin Millepied

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