Even now, more than a century after his death, the symbolist poetry and eventful life of Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) still appeals to the imagination. The work of this ‘poète maudit’ has inspired numerous composers. Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées and Fêtes galantes became classics soon after their publication, as did the songs of Fauré. The post-romantic songs of Reynaldo Hahn have gained increasing recognition in the last few years. Benoît Mernier and Bernard Foccroulle – both familiar names in this theatre – have recently set a number of Verlaine’s poems to music. After performances in The Magic Flute, La Calisto, Idomeneo and other operas, audiences at La Monnaie have taken Sophie Karthäuser to their hearts. This Belgian soprano is also making quite an impression abroad. For this recital she is joining forces with the flamboyant pianist Cédric Tiberghien.