Opening of La Monnaie's renovated theatre with Pinocchio


September 5th will be a milestone in the recent history of La Monnaie. On this day and in the presence of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Belgium, the theatre will be given back to the public with new machinery, new chairs and new premises. Befittingly, it will be inaugurated with a new opera by Belgium’s foremost composer Philippe Boesmans: Pinocchio, his seventh for La Monnaie. After the success of Au monde (2015 International Opera Award for Best World Premiere), Boesmans again teams up with the French playwright and director Joël Pommerat. From Carlo Collodi’s immortal children’s story, they draw a life experience, even a lesson of life addressed as much to adults. For the road to humanity, which the little puppet must pursue in spite of the harshness of the world, is for no one ever finished.
Created at the Aix-en-Provence Festival on July 3, Pinocchio is a commission by both La Monnaie and the Festival, produced in collaboration with the opera houses of Dijon and Bordeaux.
The musical direction of La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra will be entrusted to Patrick Davin, the Belgian conductor who is very familiar with the world of Boesmans, of whom he has conducted almost all the operas. Joël Pommerat is accompanied for the staging by his old accomplice Eric Soyer for the decor and lighting, Isabelle Deffin for the costumes and Renaud Rubiano for the video.
Since the diction is of paramount importance for the two authors, the carefully chosen cast is entirely French speaking. The division of the work into small scenes, common with Pommerat, favoured the distri­bution of several roles for each singer. The baritone Stéphane Degout (Troupe director / first crook / second murderer / ringmaster) is very familiar with the music of Philippe Boesmans, he was the creator of Ory in Au monde in 2014. Considered one of the best baritones of his generation, he is a long-time guest at La Monnaie. The bass-baritone Vincent Le Texier (father / third murderer / schoolmaster) is a formidable interpreter of contemporary music, with many performances to his credit. Last season, he was very present at La Monnaie, playing both Harašta in FOXIE! The Cunning Little Vixen (Janáček) as well as Eumée in Pénélope (Fauré). The soprano Chloé Briot will incarnate our naive and voluntary little Pinocchio. This young singer has started a course that augurs a beautiful career. We heard her at La Monnaie in Jenůfa (Jano) and Alcina (Oberto). The tenor Yann Beuron (Second crook / cabaret director / judge / first murderer / donkey trader) is also a regular on the scene of the La Monnaie. He was excellent in the role of the elder sister’s husband for the creation of Au monde. Two Quebecois come to complete the cast and make their debut at La Monnaie: the mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne (bad student / cabaret singer) and the soprano Ma­rie-Eve Munger (a fairy) who has just interpreted Prin­cess Elsbeth in Fantasio, directed by Thomas Jolly. Fabrizio Cassol (saxophone and improvisation coordinator), Philippe Turiot (accordeon) and Tcha Limberger (gypsy violin) perform as stage musicians.