Call it magnetism, call it hypnotic powers, but when Audrey Bonnet enters a space, something happens. That goes for both the empty opera stage in Romeo Castellucci’s production of Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, and the small rehearsal studio where we meet the French actress to discuss her internationally lauded 'tour the force'. Have a look for yourself.
Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (Joan of Arc at the Stake) marks the return of Romeo Castellucci to La Monnaie. A year after his radical new reading of Die Zauberflöte, the Italian director cum metteur en scène cum lighting and costume designer is turning his attention to Arthur Honegger’s extraordinary ‘oratorio dramatique’. This urgent piece of musical modernism tells the life story of France’s national heroine in eleven scenes, but then in reverse: from her death sentence to her youthful calling. We follow the approach of Honegger and his librettist Paul Claudel, and in our turn present this production in eleven retrogressive steps .
These days he is a two-time winner of Opernwelt’s award for ‘Opera Director of the Year’, but for the longest time, it didn’t look like Romeo Castellucci would tackle the art form at all. Until 2011, when La Monnaie invited him to work on Richard Wagner’s Parsifal. What followed is operatic history. In this video portrait, the director reveals his artistic credo and returns to his previous stagings at La Monnaie.
“Each time I finish working on a Wagner opera, my first question is: ‘when can I start again?’” Our Music Director Alain Altinoglu has been entranced by the Meister von Bayreuth for several years. This time around, he is getting ready to work on the composer’s final and most enigmatic opera. The musical mystery play Parsifal was the opera debut for uomo universalis Romeo Castellucci. Ten years later he is confronting his own past, his own electrifying production.
A new decade got under way just a little while ago. That sort of ten-year milestone may seem arbitrary, but it is already clear that we face major changes in the near future. If recent years are anything to go by, we can expect a turbulent period in both politics and society, in the context of an ultra-rapidly changing world. That kind of climate forces us to move with the times. We must not, we cannot, sidestep the burning issues in society today.