Opera Month – Belgian Week

June 19 to 25, 2017

 

From June 19 to 25, opera house La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels is the musical center for Stingray Brava's third opera week. Of the seven operas selected, four are being broadcast on Stingray Brava for the first time. Highlights include Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, set in Las Vegas, and Giuseppe Verdi’s Aïda in a staging by the experimental theater director and visual artist Robert Wilson.

The Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, also known as La Monnaie / De Munt, has been one of Europe's finest opera houses for years. In 2011, German trade magazine Opernwelt named La Monnaie / De Munt 'the world's best opera house'. From 2001 to 2008, Japanese conductor Kazushi Ono was its choir and orchestra's conductor in chief. He is seen in five of the seven La Monnaie / De Munt operas featured on Stingray Brava's Belgian Week.

Late Romantic-era composers are strongly represented: enjoy Giuseppe Verdi’s exotic operas Aïda (June 19) and La forza del destino (June 23), and Modest Mussorgsky's bombastic masterpiece Khovanshchina (June 21).

The weekend of June 24 and 25 offers the week's two most contrasting operas: W. A. Mozart’s monumental, fairytale-like The Magic Flute (June 24) is diametrically opposite to Igor Stravinsky’s modernistic The Rake’s Progress (June 25) in a scintillating staging by the innovative Canadian theatre director Robert Lepage!


Monday, June 19 June at 21:00 CEST | Verdi - Aida

Cult director Robert Wilson's highly stylised and intensely dramatic staging brings a Zen-like tranquillity to Giuseppe Verdi's great opera Aida concerning the conflict between individual aspiration, tradition and duty. His visually calm, yet emotionally taut, direction is emphasised by outstanding performances from the cast and the Symphony Orchestra and Choir of la Monnaie/De Munt under the commanding and inspired musical direction of Kazushi Ono. This broadcast was recorded live at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels.

Conductor: Kazushi Ono
Performers: Orchestra and choir of La Monnaie
Soloists: Mark Doss, Orlin Anastassov, Guido Jentjes, Ilddiko Komlosi, Norma Fantini, Marco Berti
Composer: Guiseppe Verdi
Stage Director: Robert Wilson
Video Provider: Cultuur 7
Location: La Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium
Year: 2002


Tuesday, June 20 June at 21:00 CEST | Don Quichot

Don Quichot – an audience favorite of prestigious companies worldwide – is a dazzling display of high spirits, virtuosity and Spanish temperament. The flamboyant leaps, dizzying pirouettes and crisp pointe work that are standard features of the production give the performers every opportunity to show off their technical prowess. But at the same time, the comic story based on Cervantes’ masterpiece makes strong demands on the dancers’ acting abilities.

Conductor: Marc Minkowski
Performers: Orchestra and choir of La Monnaie
Soloists: Silvia Tro Santafé, José van Dam, Werner van Mechelen, Julie Mossay, Camille Merckx, Vincent Delhoume, Gijs van der Linden
Stage director: Laurent Pelly
Composer: Jules Massenet
Location: La Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium
Year: 2010


Wednesday, June 21 June at 14:00 CEST | Mussorgsky – Khovanshchina

Khovanshchina, Modest Mussorgsky's loveless and brutal drama of the transformation of Russian society, which led to the rule of Peter the Great within the epic history of Russia, is powerfully modernized through this dramatic and uncompromising production. Stingray Brava presents the complete version, of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Conductor: Kazushi Ono
Performers: Orchestra and choir of La Monnaie
Soloists: Willard White, Pär Lindskog, Glenn Winslade, Ronnie Winslade, Anatolij Kotscherga, Elena Zaremba, Robin Leggate, Jacques Does, Marten Smeding, Tie Min Wang, Pierre Doyen
Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
Video provider: Cultuur 7
Location: La Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium
Year: 2004


Thursday, June 22 June at 21:00 CEST | Wagner - Der Fliegende Holländer

The German conductor Richard Wagner (1813-1883) had already completed a number of operas before he started on his magnum opus, Der Ring des Nibelungen (1874). One of his earlier operas is Der fliegende Holländer (1843), based on the myth of the Flying Dutchman, the legendary ghost ship that is doomed to sail the oceans forever. This opera solidified Wagner's reputation as an innovative composer. Rather than writing separate arias, he composed an ongoing melody using a number of recurrent leitmotifs associated with the characters and themes. All leitmotifs are introduced in the overture and resurface throughout the work. Although Wagner intended the opera to be performed without intermission, the piece is also performed in a three-act version. Guy Cassiers directed this 2005 production of Der fliegende Holländer at La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels, Belgium. Conductor Kazushi Ono leads the orchestra.

Conductor: Kazushi Ono
Performers: Orchestra and choir of La Monnaie
Soloists: Tómas Tómasson, Hélene Bernardy, Alfred Reiter, Robert Chafin, Jacqueline Van Quaille, Jörg Schneider
Composer: Richard Wagner
Stage director: Guy Cassiers
Video provider: Cultuur 7
Location: La Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium

Year: 2005


Friday, June 23 June at 21:00 CEST | Verdi - La forza del destino

La forza del destino (1862) is one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most vibrant compositions. This memorable opera about racism, revenge, and impossible love poses a major challenge to theater directors. The sheer number of scenes, the various locations, the many unforeseen plot twists, and the fact that the story spans several years make directing this piece an arduous undertaking. For this staging by the Belgian opera house La Monnaie/De Munt, this task fell to Dirk Tanghe. Vocalists Alessandro Guerzoni, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Vassily Gerello, Zoran Todorovic and others shine as conductor Kazushi Ono leads the orchestra.

Conductor: Kazushi Ono
Performers: Orchestra and choir of La Monnaie
Soloists: Eva-Maria Westbroek, Vassily Gerello, Zoran Todorovich, Alessando Guerzoni
Video provider: Cultuur 7
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Stage director: Dirk Tanghe
Location: La Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium
Year: 2008


Saturday, June 24 June at 14:00 CEST | Mozart – Die Zauberflöte

The Magic Flute is one of Mozart’s best-loved works. This upbeat opera tells the tale of Prince Tamino, who, on orders of the Queen of the Night, needs to save Princess Pamina from Sarastro. Pamina is a stunning beauty, and Tamino falls in love with her portrait the second he sets eyes on it. On his quest, Tamino is aided by bird-catcher Papageno, who is on the look-out for a woman to spend his days with. Yet nothing is what it seems: Sarastro turns out to be the ruler of the Temple of Wisdom rather than a villain; he’s protecting Pamina from the bad influence of the Queen of the Night. Tamino is set three trials to prove he’s worthy of marriage to Pamina and of succeeding Sarastro: trials of silence, fire, and water. Aided by the magic flute, he succeeds. Papageno experiences similar success: he finds his woman in Papagena. The Queen of the Night, however, feels betrayed: angered, she picks a fight with Sarastro. A well-timed earthquake throws her and her train off balance into a gorge. The opera ends with the victory of light over darkness.

Conductor: René Jacobs
Performers: Orchestra and choir of La Monnaie
Soloists: Harry Peeters, Topi Lehtipuu, Edmund Toliver Zelotes, Ana Camelia Stefanescu, Sophie Karthäuser
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Location: La Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium
Year: 2005


Sunday, Jun 25 June at 21:00 CEST | Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress

Quebec's very own Robert Lepage (*1957) is seen as one of the most challenging and visionary theatre directors of our time. His staging of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress is striking. Firstly, Lepage sets the story in decadent 1950s Las Vegas rather than dark 18th-century London. Moreover, the dashing costumes, careful choreography, and ultra-modern scenography make this staging a text-book example of contemporary opera.

Conductor: Kazushi Ono
Performers: Orchestra and choir of La Monnaie
Soloists: Andrew Kennedy, Laura Claycoomb, William Shimell, Dagmar Peckova, Darren Jeffery, Donald J. Byrne, Shadi Torbey
Producer: Alfacam, ARTE
Stage director: Robert Lepage
Video director: Boris Friquet
Location: La Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium
Year: 2010