MACBETH UNDERWORLD Comes to La Monnaie
When he created his terrifying Penthesilea at La Monnaie in 2015, the French composer Pascal Dusapin was already thinking about the next opera. With a dilemma: should he continue in a dark vein or distance himself from it in favour of a lighter work? His artistic instinct directed him to the first solution and the most dangerous recesses of the human soul, towards the worst, inevitably, towards Macbeth.The interpretation desired by Dusapin is both a question and a metaphor of reality. The composer focuses more particularly on the supernatural dimension of the piece, crystallized by the image of the "weird sisters", these three enigmatic witches who influence Macbeth's destiny. The accursed couple is plunged into a world of confusion, blood and fear. The libretto is written by Frédéric Boyer, a French writer and translator familiar with the?great classics of literature in general and the Shakespearian canon in particular. Written in close collaboration with Pascal Dusapin, the drama, interpreted in English, unfolds around the couple and their obsessions. It is a dark fairy where hovers the theme of the lost child, inherited from the play. This text, at once a poem and an exegesis of the original Macbeth, becomes a love story with protagonists haunted by their own savagery. Thanks to this new world premiere commissioned by La Monnaie and the Opéra-Comique in Paris, Pascal Dusapin further consolidates his affinity with our Theater. This is a collaboration that dates back to 1992 and the creation of Medeamaterial, the first opera of the composer, revived in 2010 in a concert version with a choreography by Sasha Waltz. In 2013, O Mensch! was also created in Belgium by La Monnaie, as well as Passion, and, in 2015, Penthesilea. The staging of the opera was entrusted to Thomas Jolly, a French comedian and director who will be debuting at La Monnaie. Well versed in Shakespeare's works, Jolly is particularly comfortable with strange or macabre universes. Involved in the performing arts since his youth, he has recently established himself as an essential figure of French theatre with the staging of Richard III and the complete trilogy of Shakespeare's Henry VI. After his unforgettable performances at La Monnaie in Jakob Lenz, Il prigioniero & Das Gehege, and this season in Die Zauberflöte, and after having already performed Achilles in Pascal Dusapin's Penthesilea, as well as Lui in Passion and the baritone part in O Mensch!, we will find Georg Nigl in the title role of Dusapin's new opera. The score moves away from the usual characterization of Lady Macbeth to make it almost Monteverdian, a complex role assumed by Magdalena Ko?ená. The Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Ko?ená became known in the 2000's with a very eclectic repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Janác?ek, through Bel Canto and verism. Three young singers will make their debut at La Monnaie to perform the Weird Sisters: the Russian soprano Ekaterina Lekhina, the Russian-Norwegian mezzo-soprano Lilly Jørstad and the German mezzo-soprano Christel Loetzsch.? Ekaterina Lekhina is a regular guest at the Bolshoi in Moscow where she sang major roles such as Gilda (Rigoletto,Verdi), La sonnambula (Donizetti) and the Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart). Lilly Jørstad recently made her debut at the Staatsoper in Stuttgart as Angelina in La Cenerentola (Rossini), a role she also performed in La Scala, as well as at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia.?Despite her young age, Christel Loetzsch has already a very diversified repertoire: Maddalena (Rigoletto, Verdi), Ljubow (Mazeppa, Tchaikovsky), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro, Mozart), as well as le Sphinx and Merope (Œdipe, Enescu). The Islandic bass Kristinn Sigmundsson will play (Banquo's) Ghost. A professional opera singer since 1992, he is best known for his performances of Sarastro and Commendatore in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni. At La Monnaie, he was La Roche in Capriccio (Strauss) in 2016. At 77, Graham Clark is not slowing down. He made his debut at La Monnaie in 2000 in Janác?ek's The Makropulos Affair and came back in 2018 for From the House of the Dead by the same composer. He will now return to our theatre to perform the enigmatic role of Porter. At the opposite end of the age spectrum, we will rely on Elyne Maillard andNaomi Tapiola, both members of our Children & Youth Chorus, to sing the role the Child. Finally, the French guitarist, composer and conductor Christian Rivet, a specialist in ancient instruments, will appear on stage to perform the solos of archlute, a European plucked string instrument conceived in the 1600's.