Apr 8, 2008

Opéra de Lyon 2008-09

Nice cover for the new program, wouldn't you say?

One could give credit to Lyon Opera director Serge Dorny for his consistency. I won't.

The role of a GM should not be to ostensibly build a season exclusively based on his personal taste. Yet once again for the 2008-09 season, the schedule will be filled with Mozart (La Clemenza di Tito directed by Jérémie Röhrer in a new production by Georges Lavaudant, Oct.2008), Russian composers (Prokofiev's The Gambler, Jan/Feb.2009) and 20th century operas (a mere 5 out of 10 this time). I'll admit in that context, I was flabbergasted to see he did find some room to schedule La Traviata (as unoriginal and redundant as this choice may be).

The other problem with Dorny is how unbalanced the 2008-09 season will be.

On one hand, he chose operas that are either rarely performed anywhere (Franck Martin's oratorio Le vin herbé from 1940 in the 2007 production of Willy Decker already seen during the Ruhr Triennale -reviews in German here and there with many pictures -; In The Penal Colony by Philip Glass after F.Kafka, Jan/Feb.2009) or specifically in Lyon (Berg's Lulu in yet another Peter Stein production in April 2009, Britten's Death in Venice in May, Prokofiev's The Gambler); on the other hand alas, these previous selections seem to have exhausted all of his neurons, and he ends up filling the rest of the schedule with unimaginative choices that ultimately savage any chance of having a coherent season (although of course he claims otherwise and is presumptuous enough to entitle this season "Lost heros").
In this unattractive patchwork theme, Lyon will see again Chabrier's Le Roi Malgré Lui (revival of the 2005 production directed by Laurent Pelly, Feb/April 2009), Strauss' Die Fledermaus (that has been played with consistency once a decade for the past 30 years here: 1979-80, 87-88 and 95-96) and Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito (already played in 1982-83 and 94-95, another "once a decade" tradition Dorny perpetuates).

Le vin herbé, Willy Decker's production, 2007
Paul Leclaire

About Serge Dorny and the way he spoke tonight (can someone please take the time to teach him how to speak French properly? He has been living here for some time now, yet he still can't finish a sentence without something wrong in it - either grammar or vocabulary).

As usual, he managed to make me leave early (and to prevent me from attending the Giselle ballet, which just shows how talented he is on the accessibility part -see below-). When he started his speech by stating very demagogically that the Opéra de Lyon is internationally famous ("de renommée internationale"), I almost chocked there. Seriously? Can anyone please wake him up?

Also, I wanted to point out another quote so typical of him (don't you dare say I'm blinded by my feelings, Dorny is the one encouraging my dispair): "Il faut que l'opéra soit accessible à tout le monde. Dans le choix des répertoires, c'est aussi extrêmement important. Il faut quand même que je vous fasse plaisir, que JE me fasse plaisir" (strong emphasis on the "je"), which can be translated as "Opera has to be accessible to everyone. It's particularly important to keep that in mind when choosing the repertoire. I have to entertain you, I have to entertain myself". [I'm so not dreaming when I focus on his self-centered side].
He also added later on, that, to him, the score of Strauss's Die Fledermaus was one of the most beautiful ones in classical music (seriously?), showing, once again, his taste is the only one that matters when it comes to building the new seasons.
Excuse me while I go and vomit.

All in all, the highlights of the season will be:
  • Anna Caterina Antonacci's concert (Jan.18 2009)
  • the end of Donizetti's queens cycle with Anna Bolena (concert version) once again conducted by Evelino Pido (as always, coproduced with the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris), Nov.20 2008
  • Ermonela Jaho in both Anna Bolena and La Traviata (she made quite an impression as Violetta a few months ago in Covent Garden), June/July 2009

Full brochure available for download here (pdf).


Anonymous said...

et que dire du Don Giovanni attendu depuis 2 saisons ! Je croyais que nous avions une trilogie Da Ponte. Très déçu aussi par cette programmation.

Extatic said...

Oui, la trilogie Da Ponte, elle est clairement aux oubliettes...

De même que la reprise de la trilogie complète de Tchaikovski (Mazeppa, Onéguine, Dame de Pique ) par P. Stein (là par contre, je ne me plains pas).