Opera carries you away to a world, reigned by beautyEnea Scala
Why is the second balcony your favourite spot in la Monnaie?
Enea Scala (Tenor): I still vividly remember watching my colleagues rehearse from this spot, when I sang in the theatre for the first time in November 2019, for Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Like a hawk I was observing the spectacle, my admiration switching between the performance of Alain Altinoglu and Krzysztof Warlikowski. But I admit I was also in awe of the beauty of the opera house itself.
What is your first memory of la Monnaie?
When we were here to perform Tancredi in 2017 in Bozar, I was wandering around Brussels on a day off. I decided to pay a visit to la Monnaie and on a whim I wandered into the building. It didn’t take long for me to get lost in the building. I randomly took a lift and ended up backstage. I suddenly found myself in the middle of the beautiful decor of Lucio Silla. The contrast between the modern decor and the classical beauty of the Grand Hall was awe-inspiring. The feeling was enhanced by the fact that I was by myself and thus able to take in the splendour for minutes on end. This memory is forever engrained in my memory.
Why is la Monnaie so important to you?
The mere fact that la Monnaie is located in Brussels, the city that symbolises the European values, makes this opera house special. People often fail to remember that all our rights and possibilities are decided upon in the European Parliament. In other words, in Brussels. This is why, as an Italian, Brussels feels both very distant yet very familiar. In addition, la Monnaie is one of the most innovative opera houses of this day. Time and again la Monnaie succeeds in perfectly blending traditional elements of the classic repertoire with the directors’ modern vision.
Why do you consider opera to be the most refined art form?
That’s an easy question. Opera combines a lot of aspects. Obviously, there’s singing and acting, but there’s also choreography, stunning decors and lighting. The combination of these different elements balances out perfectly and makes opera one of the most layered art forms. Furthermore, I believe opera is the one artform that carries you away to a parallel world where beauty reigns.
Why should teenagers and young adults visit the opera?
I, myself, discovered opera thanks to a class outing when I was seventeen. At that moment, I had no experience nor interest in opera, but seeing Rigoletto was nothing short of a life changing moment. I didn’t even know that was possible. The magical world, created by the artists on stage fascinated me beyond words. I found it so intriguing that I didn’t imagine ever being part of that universe. It felt out of my league. I believed the singers were born artists and that I could never aspire to attain their level of excellence. Fortunately, my opinion changed during my studies at the Bologna Conservatory. (takes a brief pause) It is possible to live without passion for classical music and opera, but I know from experience that opera enriches your life in a number of ways. Young adults might not be inclined to visit an opera house in their leisure time, but I firmly believe that once they do, they’ll be drawn into a wonderful world of beauty, drama and passion.
How do you see the role of culture in our society?
I believe that the role of culture, in the broadest sense of the world, has never been more important as it is today. We live in a world ruled by nationalism and populism, where selfishness is rampant. In this day and age, personal interests always take the first place, but what about community? It’s been left to fend for itself. Cultural centres, like la Monnaie, are perhaps one of the last remaining places where community comes first. Culture not only shows us who we are as humas, but also where we come from – how we have become. Opera shows us how our society has evolved, because it is based on myths, sagas and stories of European history. I truly enjoy when a hall is filled with spectators who are in awe of a performance. In that very instance, all spectators are equal.
If you were allowed to conserve one opera forever, which one would you choose and why?
That’s an impossible question to answer. Perhaps, I would be able to choose one opera per composer. I would pick Idomeneo by Mozart, Semiramide by Rossini, Norma by Bellini, Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti and Don Carlos by Verdi. Oh, and I would also have to include Guillaume Tell by Rossini. Sorry, I completely ruined your question (laughs).