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Orfeo & Majnun

Take a creative journey to the world of the tales of Orpheus and Eurydice and Layla and Majnun.

La Monnaie’s European project Orfeo & Majnun has been selected for funding by the European Union’s ‘Creative Europe’ programme.

We are proud to announce that Orfeo & Majnun has been selected as a transnational cooperation project supported by the ‘Creative Europe’ programme, for the duration of the project, until 2020. The end result of the project will be a transcultural, participatory music theatre project, which will be staged at La Monnaie in June 2018 and will be complemented by a parade and a number of fringe events.
La Monnaie initiated the project and is the driving force behind it, in cooperation with the Wiener Konzerthaus (Austria), the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (France), the Valletta 2018 Foundation (Malta), Operadagen Rotterdam (the Netherlands), the Krakow Festival Office (Poland), and the MSMFeira (Portugal).

THE PROJECT

Our Orfeo & Majnun project blends the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with the well-known Middle Eastern love story of Layla and Majnun, as part of the process of creating a new opera about love, grief, and longing. We invite everyone living in Brussels to take part in multi-faceted workshops that will develop this creative project, which will take shape in a number of phases.

  • In September 2017, multidisciplinary workshops got under way, involving the different communities working on the project.
  • In February 2018, drawing on the ceaseless creativity of the workshops, we will present Songs of Longing in the Malibran Room at La Monnaie.
  • In June 2018, this artistic journey will come to an end with the performance of Orfeo & Majnun, a ‘community opera’ in two parts:
    – A grand production in La Monnaie’s main auditorium: together with you and other participants from a variety of schools and communities, we will weave, around the two tales, a splendid tapestry of different cultural influences, languages, and musical styles.
    – An open-air parade! With animals and mythical creatures produced by the project itself, we will take to the streets of central Brussels, presenting the tales that you yourself may have helped to dream up. This will be a collective festive occasion, with puppets, masks, songs, texts, installations, and music.
     
THE INSPIRATIon

Longing is not only the predominant emotion in the hearts of the parted lovers Layla and Majnun; it is also the inner force that drives Orpheus to go down into the underworld, the kingdom of the dead, to recover his Eurydice. Majnun’s old father longs to see his lost son again and, in the two stories, animals long for the tranquil beauty of the music of the singers and poets Majnun and Orpheus.

Longing is something everyone experiences every day: when we think of love or a lost love, of times past or a better future, of returning home or finding a better place to live. We long for a peaceful community and a meaningful life – and we express those longings in music, words, and a wide variety of other artistic forms.

how you can take part

Recall your own experiences of longing, parting, and yearning. Give expression to your personal emotions and associations in relation to themes such as love, loss, and mourning.

  • Write texts or music for the open-air element of our music theatre project.
  • Bring animals, mythical beings, or gods to life by making masks and puppets.
  • Create shadow theatre and live video with stencils, graffiti, comic strips, photographs, videos, etc.
  • Join in the singing or play an instrument.
  • Blog, film, take photographs, document, share.

You choose what you would like to do!

Why get involved?

Expressing shared emotions and thoughts together in music, words, and images is incredibly enjoyable. And that’s not all! In the course of the workshops, you can also learn new skills, as a number of genuine opera specialists will be there to offer professional tips:  Airan Berg (concept and direction), the composers Howard Moody and Dick van der Harst, the librettist Martina Winkel, and several Brussels artists. They will help you to bring your ideas to life, to come up with melodies and texts, to draw, to play music, to sing, build, paint, dance, spray-paint graffiti, and more. But it will be your artistic work that will ultimately conquer Brussels!

This project is there for everyone. No matter what your level of talent and experience, you are welcome!

participants in ORFEO & MAJNUN

BASSEM AKIKI, AIRAN BERG, HOWARD MOODY, MONEIM ADWAN, DICK VAN DER HARST, MARTINA WINKEL, DAAN MILIUS, THE LA MONNAIE CHILDREN’S AND YOUTH CHOIR, AND NUMEROUS BRUSSELS MUSICIANS, ENSEMBLES, RESIDENTS, COMMUNITY CENTRES, CULTURAL CENTRES, SCHOOLS, AND ORGANISATIONS

MAKE A NOTE OF THESE KEY DATES

Songs of Longing
24 February 2018, 3 pm to 8 pm @ La Monnaie Workshops, Malibran Room
25 February 2018, 3 pm to 8 pm @ La Monnaie Workshops, Malibran Room

Parade
30 June 2018, 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm: around La Monnaie

Orfeo & Majnun
29 June 2018, 8 pm, in the main auditorium at La Monnaie
30 June 2018, 2 pm, in the main auditorium at La Monnaie
30 June 2018, 8 pm, in the main auditorium at La Monnaie

International partners
Local partners

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