2020-2021 season – Augmented reality
A Season, a Journey of the Imagination
Over the next few weeks, we will discuss the upcoming 2020-2021 season through a focus on the creators, directors, composers, singers, etc. who will be featured next season. Choosing the theme of augmented reality means both renewing the relationship between opera and fiction from a technological perspective and rethinking the relationship between opera and reality. The 2019-2020 season was rather political and historical. The next will be more metaphysical, symbolic, dreamlike.
The 2020-2021 season of the Grand Théâtre will start with La Cenerentola by Rossini, a co-production stage directed by the talented and in-demand Laurent Pelly, from the 14th to the 26th of September 2020. The well known tale by Charles Perrault is revisited in this dramma giocoso, with a Cinderella called Angelina, a step-mother turned Don Magnifico, and a good fairy transformed into a wise philosopher.
Laurent Pelly knows well the Cinderella tale, having stage directed the Massenet version that triumphed at the Met Opera of New York. At Grand Théâtre, the pumpkin carriage gives way to a sober interior frame and a glamorous and shiny universe. The french stage director is used to grand lyrical scenes and knows well the Western Switzerland’s public, having presented Viva la Mamma! and Le Médecin malgré lui at the Opéra des Nations, as well as La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein on the Place de Neuve stage.
La Cenerentola – Trailer
A stage direction and costumes by Laurent Pelly, next to his fellow associate Chantal Thomas who signs the scenography, and Duane Schuler the lighting design. This co-production was shown in december 2019 at De Nationale Opera of Amsterdam, meeting huge public and critical acclaim.
Viva la mamma! – Trailer
In december 2018, Laurent Pelly presented Viva la mamma! at Opéra des Nations. A burlesque and unforgettable production that delighted the Geneva public during the Holidays.
The Jeune Ensemble
They come from Belgium, Germany, France and the United States : get to know our 5 new members of the Jeune Ensemble 2020-2021. The mezzo-soprano Anna Schaumlöffel will be at our side for L’affaire Makropoulos, Candide, Parsifal and La Traviata. Next to her for those 4 operas, we will get to know the Lyonnese tenor Julien Henric. He will also participate in the young public’s opera Le Soldat de plomb and the first event of the season, the Aubes musicales at Bains des Pâquis. At their side for La Traviata and Parsifal, we will meet the Belgian soprano Emma Posman. A slightly different program awaits the soprano Marie Lys, that we will get to know in Pelléas et Mélisande and Didon et Enée, as well as La Clémence de Titus. Finally, the bass-baritone Justin Hopkins will hold many roles by featuring in Candide, Pelléas et Mélisande, La Clémence de Titus, Parsifal and La Traviata!
Next November, discover the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève in a program featuring 2 choreographies: Better Sun by Fana Tshabala and Exhibtion by Sibi Larbi Cherkaoui.
In the course of his brief career, the young choreographer Fana Tshabalala has already investigated the notion of what an “ideal man” is in various societies, this time his aim is the search for a better world. His new piece Better Sun is the story of a departure towards an unknown universe, limitless but full of horizons. The departure is painful but it is a journey full of hope because the only baggage the dancers carry is their bodies as they explore the desert that opens up to them. Where there are no attachments or roots, there can be no rift or rupture. No one knows if the journey is long, nor where it leads. The South African is pointing at the refugees scattered on the roads and the absurdity of the political shambles that responds to this issue.
After the great success of Fall last season, the Belgian and world dance sensation Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is back to the Grand Theatre with his piece Exhibition choreographed on Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, one of the only instrumental pieces by this virtuoso pianist who takes the listener from one picture to another. On stage, pianist Chiara Opalio will accompany the movements of the dancers of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre.
As a sneak preview, the pianist is featured in this recording of Moussorgsky’s work made at the church of San Giovanni in Ala in Italy.
Dancer and choreographer Fana Tshabalala reflects on his work and collaboration with Russian-Swiss dancer Vladimir Ippolitov at various points over a five year period. The two dancers developed a piece ‘Man’ together, which was shown during the 2018 Dance Umbrella Festival in Johannesburg.
Daniel Kramer’s new staging transposes the old fairy tale to a futuristic world where Turandot’s magic and power hold sway. By a dystopian game show, reminiscent of Hunger Games the regime of the woman who refuses to become one institutes a surveillance state in which men are culled and the reproduction and breeding of the human species is conducted in a mechan-ical facility. The US-born director harks back to the archaic essentials of the battle between the sexes.
Vocalises sur Turandot avec les enfants de la Maîtrise du Conservatoire populaire
Ils s’entraînent dès à présent, retrouvez-les en septembre dans Turandot ! Les enfants de la Maîtrise du Conservatoire populaire de musique, danse et théâtre prendront part au premier opéra de la saison, l’hypnotisant Turandot de Puccini, sous la baguette d’Antonino Fogliani.
Dans Turandot, le chœur d’enfants intervient à 4 reprises, et toujours avec le même motif: une mélodie pentatonique d’origine chinoise, qui sera l’un des thèmes récurrents, et qui traversera l’œuvre de bout en bout.
La première intervention, sans doute la plus marquante, se situe au 1er acte, lorsque la foule agitée, excitée à l’idée de la mise à mort du jeune prince perse qui a failli au jeu cruel des énigmes , se calme soudain en se tournant vers le ciel sombre, à la recherche de la lune. Dans ce moment suspendu arrivent les enfants, précédant le bourreau, chantant cette mélodie pure et simple (que l’on entend pour la première fois). L’effet est saisissant… La seconde intervention, autre moment-clé, au deuxième acte, annonce l’ apparition de la Princesse Turandot, à nouveau dans un climat d’attente glacée… Le thème est cette fois-ci doublé par tout le chœur bouche fermée. Par la suite, les enfants participeront aux scènes de foule, d’une part pour acclamer le prince Calaf victorieux, et d’autre part, à la fin pour saluer l’aube naissante, symbole de vie sauve pour le prince.
Les enfants de la Maîtrise sélectionnés pour cet opéra seront jeunes, voire très jeunes, selon le souhait du metteur en scène Daniel Kramer. La musique écrite pour eux est relativement simple, mais étonnamment, dans un médium plutôt grave (jusqu’au si bémol en-dessous de la portée) pour des voix d’enfants souvent utilisées plutôt dans une tessiture lumineuse et brillante plus aigüe. Il ne s’agira donc pas du tout des mêmes enfants, par exemple, que pour Parsifal au printemps 2021, ou là, seront privilégiées les voix déjà bien travaillées, aux tessitures plus étendues, et au souffle long, pour une écriture à 4 voix très exigeante, et qui seront donc plutôt nos grands élèves…
La Maîtrise se réjouit beaucoup de pouvoir à nouveau participer à un opéra, aux côtés de chanteurs et musiciens de haut vol! Pour tous les enfants qui ont pu vivre de tels moments, cela représente une expérience marquante, des soirées magiques inoubliables…
Excerpts: Borderless Exhibition by teamLab
For the first time in their career, the famous international art collective teamLab will be working on the scenography of an opera, using state-of-the-art visual technologies for effects that have never before been seen on an opera stage. teamLab’s light creations have been seen all over the world; they form an immersive artistic experience that absorbs and enthrals the audience in an avant-gardist visual flux. Discover an overview of their work through a 360° video:
Live with Daniel Kramer
After three years of working to bring English National Opera back to success, Daniel Kramer is leaving his position as Artistic Director of ENO in 2019 to resume his career as a theatre and opera director. His remarkable Punch & Judy, which he revived in Geneva in 2008, won the Outstanding Achievement in Opera and South Bank Award at its premiere at ENO. On Thursday 4 June, he was live on facebook to answer your questions. You can send him your messages now via the form below.
Pelléas and Mélisande
Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1893 play Pelléas et Mélisande is one of the iconic works of the Symbolist movement, in which so many other Belgian artists like James Ensor, Fernand Khnopff and Georges Rodenbach were preeminent. Claude Debussy was one of the many musicians seduced by the play’s extemporal mystery and asked Maeterlinck to rework the text into a libretto for the only real opera he would ever compose: “I wanted the action to never end, I wanted it to be continuous, uninterrupted. I never consented that my music, for technical reasons, should rush or delay the movements of the characters’ feelings and passions.” The anti-rhetorical nature of Pelléas et Mélisande, always steering clear of any kind of emphasis, made it the flagship of the anti-Wagnerian movement in its time, even if Debussy’s opera is audibly a modernist answer to Tristan and Parsifal.
The staging of this organic and lyric dreampiece brings together two Belgian masters of movement and dance, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet, and the legendary Serbian visual and performance artist Marina Abramović. They make their matter of the uninterrupted cycle of life and its inherent links to the cosmos. Like Debussy in his music, the eschew any kind of illustrative gesture, but here and there cast rays of cosmic light on the invisible energies and the hidden emotions of the characters. Eight dansers express on stage the interiority of the singers’ feelings and forward thinking haute couture designer Iris van Herpen weaves them in unseen webs.
Streaming: The Cleaner
Meet the artist Marina Abramović through a documentary in 3 parts about her work for the exhibition “The Cleaner” presented at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 2017.
Preview: Pelléas et Mélisande
Performed in 2018 at the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, Pelléas et Mélisande is the result of a reflection between Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet and Marina Abramović. The artistic team explains its work on this work by Debussy.
More than 10 years after his last appearance on the stage in Neuve, Parsifal will make his comeback in a production directed by Michael Thalheimel in April 2021.
Beyond the “festival play for the consecration of the stage” as Wagner called Parsifal, the work carries all the symbols of decline. Thalheimer sees it as a farewell to the world. The world bids farewell to the Grail knighthood, the knights bid farewell to their lives and worldly works.
Wagner designed Parsifal for the Bayreuth Festival Theatre and composed it for its recessed and hooded orchestra pit. This feature was responsible for the astounding mix of sound between singers and orchestra at the premiere in 1882. There will be no hooded pit in Geneva but with Jonathan Nott as musical director at the head of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, expect to hear a unique mix of transparency and vitality as they unfold the masterpiece’s state of matter.
Streaming: Dans les coulisses de Parsifal
“Caméra 5” a pour vocation de faire découvrir un lieu lié à un événement, des personnages et leurs histoires, perçus sous différents angles d’approche : le Parsifal de Wagner présenté lors de la saison 2003-2004 était une opportunité idéale de pénétrer dans les coulisses du Grand Théâtre de Genève, et d’assister à l’accouchement d’un opéra par ses créateurs et ses techniciens. Plusieurs équipes de tournage synchronisées ont suivi les personnages clefs impliqués dans cette production du Grand Théâtre de Genève, tous concentrés à l’extrême et angoissés à l’idée du moindre incident ou accident de parcours.
Auteur : Patrick Dedole.
In its time and place, Candide was, without a doubt, the best of all possible books. And now, the Grand Théâtre proposes that it becomes the best of all possible musicals for Geneva.
Candide was originally conceived in the early 1950s by Lillian Hellman as a play with incidental music but Leonard Bernstein was so excited about this idea that he convinced Hellman to write an original libretto for an operetta which he would put to music. Hellman was one of the ma-jor targets of the McCarthy era’s anti-Communist witch-hunts, which might ex-plain the urgency and brilliance of her polit-ical satire, notably in the operetta’s legendary Auto-dafé scene. Bernstein, however, tempered the work with his steadfast and generous optimism, which might have raised Voltaire’s eyebrows a bit, but which makes Candide’s finale echo the soaring “Aufersteh’n” of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. Bernstein never managed to decide what his piece was going to be: an opera, an operetta or a bona fide musical, letting the audience (and the director) make up their minds about his hybrid creature, somewhere between a tribute to the Old European stage genres and American entertainment, with its underlying cynical bite.
For this performance of Candide in the city where it was (remotely) conceived, we have asked German-Australian director Barrie Kosky to stage Leonard Bernstein’s most operatic composition. At the head of Berlin’s Komische Oper since 2012, Kosky loves putting a dash of Broadway into his opera, especially when he can also season it with a hefty pinch of Brechtian salt.
Candide – Trailer
A glamorous and funny show with over 800 costumes and song and dance num-bers in a tribute to the best of Broadway.
Let’s talk about opera!
Barrie Kosky answered the most-asked questions about opera from Google for the Royal Opera House.
Overture to Candide conducted by Leonard Bernstein. This New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concert was entitled Overtures and Preludes and was recorded October 22, 1960.
Dido & Æneas
In the theatrical world of the Belgian dance collective Peeping Tom, relationships between the beings who inhabit the stage are the starting-point of endless explorations inside bodies and minds. As they zoom in and out, we embark on a journey from microscopic impressions to macroscopic feelings as huge as… the most grossly misshapen of superlative realities. This world of psyche and emotion, with rules that are both strict and organic, will be asked to stage an opera for the first time in the collective’s history. Fortu-nately, there’s all the space they need on the Grand Théâtre stage, so no fear that they might get stuck.
And no fear they should creak either! Since Emmanuelle Haïm herself is officiating as mistress of ceremonies at the head of the ensemble with which she has long been exploring the music of Henry Purcell. Le Concert d’Astrée will them-selves be busy with some improvisational pyrotechnics, shifting from one reality on the stage to another, from authentic musical textures to magnificent chromatics inspired by Dido’s famous final lament “When I am laid in earth” from the only opera the British Orpheus ever composed. This is Dido like you have never seen or heard it before.
Peeping Tom: Showreel
Get a glimpse of the theatrical world of the Belgian dance collective Peeping Tom who will direct and choreograph Henry Purcell’s Dido & Æneas at the Grand Théâtre de Genève in May 2021.
Inteview: Emmanuelle Haim
Conductor Emmanuelle Haim talks about Dido & Æneas, an opera by Henry Purcell that she will conduct at the Grand Théâtre de Genève in May 2021.
La Clemenza di Tito
From shamanic rituals to political lynchings, Milo Rau and his crew take seize this opportunity to question the violence of this present time through Mozart’s opera. The young conductor Maxim Emelyanchev, recently starring at the Glyndebourne Festival, is there to give support with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the great Mozartian voices of the day, such as Swiss tenor Bernard Richter, to mention only one.
Streaming: Close up on Milo Rau & Maxim Emelyanychev
Close-up on the director Milo Rau and the conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, who will perform in February 2021 for La Clemenza di Tito by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
Live with Milo Rau
True headliner of the 20-21 season, the director of La Clemenza di Tito, Milo Rau, was live on the 30th of April, 6:30pm on our Facebook page to answer questions from the audience. A unique opportunity to exchange on committed culture.
2020-2021 season – Augmented reality
Enhance your reality!
Discover the 2020-2021 program of the Grand Théâtre de Genève with this video presentation. Operas, ballets, La Plage activities, recitals, concerts, everything is revealed.
Meet the creators
Discover the creators of the 2020-2021 season.
Aviel Cahn presents the voices of the 2020-2021 season.
The Reality at La Plage
Each week, our cultural mediation team offers you the opportunity to explore the topic in a playful way. An activity book for the youngest, crosswords, quizzes, and much more designed especially for you.