Capitoline National Opera

In Toulouse, the new lyrical season of the Opéra national du Capitole features eight works, including three repertoire entries and a contemporary creation.

Developing for several years an ambitious artistic and cultural project open to all, the Théâtre du Capitole brings together in Toulouse a choir of 45 singers, a master and a ballet of 35 dancers. He also welcomes in his pit theCapitol National Orchestra for his lyrical and choreographic productions. Equipped with workshops for sets, costumes and wigs, the Toulouse opera house also conducts various educational and cultural actions aimed at all audiences. Considering that the conditions were present, Toulouse Métropole, financial guardian of the establishment, therefore wished to request the obtaining of the label “National Opera in the regionwhich was granted by the Ministry of Culture.

Capitol National Opera © Christophe Caracso

Registered since the beginning of this year in a network of six French structures endowed with this label, the Opéra national du Capitole therefore benefits for a period of five years from an increase in its subsidies paid by the State, but also by the Occitanie region – which has another “national opera” on its territory, that of Montpellier –, in exchange for compliance with the mission and specifications (creation, production, dissemination to the widest public) established by the Ministry of Culture . Among the eight works on the bill for the new Toulouse lyrical season, there are three entries in the repertoire and a contemporary creation. Four of these works are in Italian, two in German, one in English and one in Czech – the unusual absence from the French repertoire is explained by the postponements induced by the health crisis.

Imagined by Christophe Ghristi, artistic director, this promising program opens with Rusalka Antonin Dvořák’s masterpiece is presented for the first time at the Capitol Theater in a staging by the Italian Stefano Poda (“Ariane and Barbe-Bleue”), produced in co-production with the Tel-Aviv Opera. Created in 1901 at the National Theater in Prague, to a libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil, after Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué and Hans Christian Andersen, “Rusalka” is the story of a supernatural creature, strange and elusive, a figure of the waters whose desire is to transform themselves in order to live their love with a prince. But abandoning his state would lead to the loss of the use of speech, and a failure in his sentimental enterprise would cause eternal damnation.

Anita Hartig © Fanny Berg‚

The score contains some of the most famous passages of post-romantic music, including the marvelous “Song to the Moon” from the first act. The musical direction is provided by the German conductor Frank Beerman, who finds the pit of the Capitole Theater after his performances in “Parsifal”, “Elektra” and “The Magic Flute”. Romanian soprano, Anita Hartig will sing the title role for the first time, after having shone on the same stage as Marguerite with Charles Gounod (“Faust”) and as Violetta with Giuseppe Verdi (“La Traviata”).

A production of the Opéra national du Capitole created in 2007, “Tristan et Isolde” will once again be on view in the poetic and minimalist staging of Nicholas Joel. A myth stemming from a Celtic legend, the story of Tristan and Isolde is that of a man in love with a young woman who is nevertheless promised to a king. Designer of the sets and costumes, Andreas Reinhardt evokesthe extreme simplicity of the story imagined by Richard Wagner. He reduced the myth to its simplest expression, to abstraction, which was precisely at the start of my thinking.“.

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Tristan and Isolde © Patrice Nin

Brought to the stage at the Royal Bavarian Theater in Munich in 1865, this audacious and incandescent score left its mark on the history of opera. In Toulouse, we will find four singers and the conductor who were the architects of the success of “Parsifal” in 2020: the French mezzo-soprano Sophie KochAustrian tenor Nikolai Schukoffbaritones Matthias Goerne and Pierre-Yves Pruvot will all sing this score for the first time, under the direction of Frank Beermann.

At Garonne Theater, there will be performances of “Dafne”, an opera for twelve singers and electronics by Wolfgang Mitterer which will be performed by twelve singers from the Cris de Paris led by Geoffroy Jourdain. Premiered this fall at the Théâtre de l’Athénée, the work takes up a libretto written in 1627, based on Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”, for a score by Heinrich Schütz that has since disappeared – probably in the fire of the Dresden Library, circa 1730.

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Aurélien Bory © Aglaé Bory

To celebrate in his eyesthe most spectacular of the “Metamorphoses”», the Austrian composer imagines «an Apollonian singing competition peppered with surprises, where electronics will play the role of the basso continuo, dispensing colors, a musical garment where the old and the new will merge“. Aurelien Bory signs this staging of the flight of the nymph Daphne, who prefers to change into a laurel tree rather than give in to Apollo.

After her “Norma” at the Théâtre du Capitole, Anne Delbée will deliver her second lyrical staging in Toulouse with “Le Rape de Lucrèce”, which Benjamin Britten wrote in 1946, to a libretto by Ronald Duncan, based on a play by Andre Obey. With this chamber opera, the composer wishes to restore its letters of nobility to the genre of English opera. Directed by the German Marius Stieghorst, the work confronts in two acts the young Lucretia, loving and loyal wife of the Roman general Collatinus, with Tarquin who made the bet to spend the night with her to test his notorious loyalty to her husband. For this entry into the repertoire, we expect in particular the tenor Cyrille Dubois in the role of the male choir and the soprano Marie-Laure Garnier in that of the female choir, two singers already applauded on this stage.

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Anne Delblée © Cosimo Mirco Magliocca

In the heart of winter, we will find Karine Deshayes and Anais Constans reunited in “the Marriage of Figaro”, during a new revival of the elegant and very classic production of Marco Arturo Marelli. Under the direction of Hervé Niquetthey will take on the roles of the Countess and Susanna for the first time, alongside Julian Veronese in Figaro, Eleanor Pancrazi as Chérubin and Emiliano Gonzales Toro as Don Basilio, to name only those familiar with the Toulouse stages. Adaptation of the subversive play by Beaumarchais “Le Mariage de Figaro” – performed in Paris in 1784 after being banned for six years – “Les Noces de Figaro” was created in 1786 in Vienna, thanks to the authorization of the Emperor. progressive Joseph II.

Wolfgang AmadeusMozart and its librettist Lorenzo da Ponte had, however, taken care to design a work with more harmless content than the original text. But, even if social criticism is toned down and the music focuses on the affectivity of relationships, the character of Count Almaviva remains here the figure of the aristocrat ridiculed by his valet, Figaro. Plotting to hinder his master in the conquest of Susanna – who is to marry Figaro the same evening – the insolent valet can count on solid female support.

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The Marriage of Figaro © Patrice Nin

“La Traviata” will be back in the spring, five years after the creation in Toulouse of this production signed Pierre Rambert. Dancer, musician and former artistic director of the Lido de Paris, the latter joined forces with two renowned artists: the decorator Anthony Fontaine (“Queen Margot” by Chéreau, “Marie-Antoinette” by Sofia Coppola, “The Englishwoman and the Duke” by Éric Rohmer, “The Nutcracker” by Kader Belarbi at the Théâtre du Capitole, etc.), and the couturier Frank Sorbier. The famous opera Giuseppe Verdi will be directed by Michele Spotti.

In one of the two casts that will follow one another on stage, we announce in the title role the Italian soprano Rosa Feola, alongside the Samoan tenor Amitai Pati and the Quebec baritone Jean-François Lapointe. Created in 1853, “la Traviata” (“the rogue”) has a libretto by Francesco Piave, based on “La Dame aux Camélias” by Alexandre Dumas fils, the story of Violetta, a courtesan in fragile health , who will choose to give up his Parisian social life for love of Alfredo Germont. The character of Violetta is inspired by the life of Alphonsine Plessis, known as Marie Duplessis, mistress of Alexandre Dumas fils and Franz Liszt, who died in Paris in 1847.

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La Traviata © Mirco Magliocca

This fall, we will discover “La Bohème” imagined in 2017 by the director Renaud Doucet and his sidekick André Barbe, scenographer and costume designer from Quebec – co-production of the Théâtre de Saint-Gall, in Switzerland, and the Scottish Opera, in Glasgow. Created at the Teatro Regio in Turin in 1896, under the direction of Arturo Toscanini, on a libretto in Italian by Giacosa and Illica, the work of Giacomo Puccini is the adaptation of “Scenes from Bohemian Life” by Henry Murger, which appeared in serial form in the Parisian newspaper Le Corsaire between 1845 and 1849, before being performed in dramatic form at the Théâtre des Variétés.

Puccini’s version gives rise to the fragile figure of Mimi, in which the general public sees the image of an entire era, that of the Paris of carefree student and artistic youth at the turn of the century. Claude Debussy himself said:I don’t know anyone who described the Paris of that time as well as Puccini in “La Bohème”“. Beyond realism, Puccini is above all a master in the art of constructing a melodic framework of great intensity and generous lyricism. Under the direction of young Italian conductor Lorenzo Passerini, two casts will alternate to embody the Mimi-Rodolfo couple: the sopranos Vannina Santoni and Anaïs Constans will have tenors Kévin Amiel and Azer Zada ​​as partners.

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Anaïs Constans © Anaïs Levy

At the end of the season, the “Mefistofele” ofArrigo Boito will be represented for the first time at the Théâtre du Capitole, under the direction of the young Italian conductor Francesco Angelico – director of the Kassel opera house – who will make his debut in France. Considered the first great European opera, it was premiered in 1868, at La Scala in Milan, to a libretto by the composer using scenes from Goethe’s two “Fausts”. A grandiose and fascinating opera, it uses excessive choruses and was described by Giuseppe Verdi as “curious work of a man who seeks to be original“. This production of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo is directed by Jean Louis Grinda, director of the Chorégies d’Orange. The vocal set brings together the French bass Nicolas Courjal in the title role, the French tenor Jean-Francois Borras (Faust), the Italian soprano Chiara Isotton (Margherita) and the French mezzo-soprano Beatrice Uria-Monzon (Elena).

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Beatrice Uria-Monzon

Several recitals are scheduled, including those of the soprano Nina Stemme, the mezzo-soprano Violeta Urmanabaritones Matthias Goerne and Stephane Degout, tenors Ramon Vargas and Pavol Breslik. A few events will punctuate this season: an autumn weekend dedicated to Dvořák; “Daphnis et Alcimadure” (1754), pastoral in Occitan from Mondonville, after a fable by La Fontaine, directed by Jean-Marc Andrieu, with the Baroque Orchestra of Montauban Les Passions and the choir Les Elements; Johann Sebastian Bach’s first three cantatas conducted by Jordi Savall, with its ensemble the Concert des Nations and the Chœur du Capitole. Ensemble of ancient brass instruments from Toulouse, Les Sacqueboutiers will give two concerts: a program of pieces from the Spanish Renaissance, around the work of Mateo Flecha; “Jazz and Pavane” with pianist Philippe Léogé, who mixes old and modern instruments to reveal the similarities between jazz and Renaissance music.

Jerome Gac
for the monthly Intramural

Capitoline National Opera
Season 2022 / 2023
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Capitoline National Opera – Mimi, Violetta, Isolde and the others