EDITORIAL 2016 | 2017

The 2016-2017 season of the Dijon Opera will be one of dreams, of fables and tales, of marvels, and of other times and places. For this 9th season, you are invited to join us for another magical and musical voyage. Together we have explored Europe from London to Istanbul, from Venice to Scandinavia, from the capitals of Mitteleuropa to Moscow, and this season a new adventure beckons.

The fable is at the origins of opera. The  favola in musica is a story, a tale, that uses myth to incite the imagination: Orfeo is a mirror to the world, a microcosm that must reflect the whole universe. And it is up to Orpheus to re-enchant the world. The new production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, a major work yet presented only for the first time in Dijon, thanks to Yves Lenoir and Les Traversees Baroques, seeks to develop a new incarnation of the myth, which is deeply rooted in the birth of opera itself. No less than 38 lyric works are based on the story (from the 1600s to the present). It was also important to pay homage to Gluck, with his rarely performed French version of the tale from 1774:  Maëlle Poesy, a young stage director whose talents have been confirmed in the theatre (Candide presented at the Théâtre in May 2014) will reveal the subtleties of this work alongside conductor Iñaki Encina Oyón. Nearly two centuries separate the two works, like two visions of a bygone world, and the questions they raise. And for us, what do they teach us? 

Speaking of myths, the Magic Flute, the last of Mozart’s operas, is yet another. This masterpiece has only been presented 14 times in Dijon since 1828, and never a complete version in its original language of German.  Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyrique will be exceptional musical partners to the top-tier cast that David Lescot, a director known for the intelligence of his staging, brings close to us while posing these same questions of our world. Indeed, the initial quest of Tamino and Pamina is also our own. It tells the story of our construction as men and women, in a world in which we are often ignorant of the codes, which we seek to construct or deconstruct. It puts us on our guard, first against ourselves, and then in the hope that what comes to us from the Other and from the necessary fraternity towards that Other will also perhaps change the world.

This, too, is the quest in Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Monteverdi’s penultimate opera, which reveals the end of Ulysses’ long odyssey, and his troubled return to Ithaca. This production will be staged by Mariame Clement, with Emmanuelle Haïm at the head of her Concert d’Astrée, and the marvelous singers Rolando Villazón and Magdalena Kožená in the roles of Ulisse and Penelope. Two contemporary creations (one from Moneim Adwan and the other from David Chaillou) demonstrate that the power of dream and the ability to invent a world, or to construct one’s own, are not the exclusive preserve of works from the last four centuries but are very much alive and well today: Kalîla wa Dimna, inspired from a collection of Arab fables originally from India, and from which La Fontaine took inspiration from his fables, and Little Nemo, Back to Slumberland, based on the legendary weekly comic strip by Winsor McCay in the New York Herald, which marked the birth of the genre in the US.

America itself will be a new musical destination this season: discover (or rediscover) the American minimalists with the LSO conducted by John Adams in person, the Kronos Quartet and many others. Share the spirit of composers in exile, with Les Dissonances and David Grimal, or enjoy swing on historic instruments with Jos van Immerseel and Anima Eterna Brugge. If we reach beyond the geographical confines of Europe in our musical exploration, it is to better understand the values, the ideas, the dreams of those European musicians who emigrated and lived and created there. It is therefore only natural that Gilles Abegg, photographer in residence at the Opera since 2008, should devote the next three years to this theme. He has chosen to start in Italy, the birthplace of opera. More than 50 years have passed since Cartier-Bresson’s publication of The Europeans, and nearly a century since the work of August Sander and the publication of Antlitz der Zeit: it seems only right to pay homage to these great masters of photography and to show the faces of Europeans today.

Lastly, it is with great joy that we celebrate the return of Dance to the Opera, with the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève — for a choreography by Joëlle Bouvier based on Tristan & Isolde —the Lyon National Opera Ballet —which proposes two fantastic works by Merce Cunningham and Lucinda Childs, and the dancers of Rachid Ouramdane. Four shows have also been programmed in partnership with the Festival Art Danse. With 8 new lyric productions, 40 concerts, 7 dance shows, a particularly rich season awaits you at the Dijon Opera.

New for this season, we will present 12 shows during school hours, so that young people can discover music and the lyric arts. Whether by transatlantic liner, on a flying carpet, with your best pillow, on foot, on horse, on sailboat, in a tram, come experience the waking dream of the 2016-2017 season!

Laurent Joyeux
Director General & Artistic Director