Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Production from 2016
Production La Monnaie / De Munt
Jean-Philippe Clarac & Olivier Deloeuil > Le Lab
Explanatory note on the staging
Jean-Philippe Clarac and Olivier Deloeuil
All around us, flags.
27, 28, 29 maybe… The colours of the member states of the European Union, which have become such an everyday sight in Brussels that we hardly notice them any more… How many are ‘we’, anyway, and who exactly are ‘we’, spectator-citizens gathered here for a musical ceremony in the very heart of the Union’s capital?
Let us listen attentively to the most profoundly European form of opera, opera seria. Observe the subtle interplay of Mozart’s dramatic art, an extraordinary machine still capable of constructing, almost three centuries later, an imaginative world for our time. An interplay of rhythms and emotions, a formal organisation of codes thanks to which public activity and private passion constantly influence each other, in political life and in the family dynasties in power today, as among those who used to be known as the ‘mighty’.
Mitridate and his two rival sons, the Greek woman Aspasia, and the Roman leaders speak to us from far away, but they speak to us of ourselves. The efforts long ago of the king of Pontus to resist Roman domination of the Mediterranean remind us of recent attempts by some European leaders to change the rules of the Union. Just as the 24 hours of a Racine tragedy have their equivalent in the intense crisis summits that take place so frequently in Brussels, during which the tempo of the negotiations is marked by an alternation of low-key bilateral discussions with melodramatic statements to the media.
Mitridate, a politico-musical ceremony for all of ‘us’. An invocation of the malfunctioning of the European Union, of its impasses, and of its possible future. Because, today more than ever, our generation needs to take possession of the European dream. Because we need, now, to raise high the banner of the European question onstage, to better learn the lessons of its failures and ensure its future.
A game of flags, then.
27, 28, 29 maybe…so as not to leave the flag of the imagination at half-mast.
Translation: Martin McGarry
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