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La Monnaie's 2020-21 Opera Season Kicks Off With IS THIS THE END?

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The world premiere of Is this the end? on Saturday September 12 kicks off the cultural year.

La Monnaie's 2020-21 Opera Season Kicks Off With IS THIS THE END?

La Monnaie's 2020-21 opera season starts with a unique creation, shaped during these past months in quarantine. A project in an unprecedented form completed at breakneck speed, with an artistic team reinvigorated by the positive perspective this live-filmed opera could give our artists. Is this the end? is an original ode to the delicate art of processing your sorrows, in a season where we use the very fitting tagline 'Once upon now'. A metaphor for loss, and the many questions surrounding the end of a life. The world premiere of Is this the end? on Saturday September 12 kicks off the cultural year, with the 'Opera Aria Battle' (September 16), Sabine Devieilhe's recital (September 16) and the symphonic concert From the New World (September 20) all following in the subsequent days.

This pop requiem by Belgian composer Jean-Luc Fafchamps - commissioned by La Monnaie - is a triptych on a libretto by Eric Brucher. Director Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski provides this mass for the semi-living with a singular staging. Is this the end? was already being developed, but because of the continuing health crisis these preparations went into overdrive. The production is completely COVID-proof, of course. And distancing between performers is guaranteed as well, since all characters inhabit a netherworld where contact is by definition impossible. There is no stage, no audience. But there is a parallel with the horrible images etched into our minds: people who could not say their goodbyes, patients dying alone, without family. The COVID crisis gives the themes in Is this the end? an unnervingly contemporary significance.

Each part of the trilogy stands on its own but is connected to the other parts: like a prism that reconstructs reality through the eyes of each of the protagonists. In part 1, Dead Little Girl, a teen girl gets stuck in the limbo between life and death. She meets a bunch of characters, the so-called departing souls, who are all in this in-between condition, just like her.

Is this the end? is an opera about the transitional state between life ending and death presenting itself: the consciousness that passes, trapped in a purgatory-like world of the half-death. A man, a woman and a teen move through this plane of existence, without really understanding what is happening.

Our Theatre itself will form the backdrop for this first part, which will be performed without an audience. Pre-recorded video episodes will contrast with a live performance by three soloists, seventeen musicians of our Symphony Orchestra and eighteen singers of the La Monnaie Chorus. The performance will be streamed in real time on our website, with discussions on a wider broadcast on national and international media channels and movie theaters still ongoing.


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