For his tenth year in charge of Opéra de Dijon, Laurent Joyeux invites us once more to discover new lands and exceptional artists. After Central Europe, the East and North America, we're asked to follow in the footsteps of “a Ulysses who hadn't returned to Ithaca” and instead, sailed through the Pillars of Hercules. So the flavours of next season will be those of the Iberian world – Spain, Portugal and Latin America.

© Gilles Abegg
© Gilles Abegg
In the face of budget constraints, Opéra de Dijon more than holds its own – indeed, it's not short of bravery: the season will include 95 performances, 8 operas (including 4 new productions), 36 symphonic concerts and 5 dance shows. There's something in there to satisfy all tastes and there's no shortage of initiatives to attract new audiences to the Opéra, including children and familes. The season will open in October with Philippe Boesmans' Pinocchio, staged by Joël Pommerat, which will receive its première this summer at the Aix Festival, with Stéphane Degout, Vincent Le Texier, Chloé Briot, Yann Beuron, Julie Boulianne and Marie-Ève Munger. December will see a new Dijon production of the Tales of Hoffmann under the baton of Nicolas Chesneau, which Mikaël Serre's staging will revisit and update, making use of video and sound effects; the cast will comprise a handful of young rising stars: Kévin Amiel as Hoffmann, Samantha Louis-Jean as the four heroines, Damien Pass as the four villains and Marie Kalinine as The Muse/Nicklausse; the secondary roles will be taken by soloists from the Opéra de Dijon's chorus. In March, Verdi opera makes a grand return to Dijon with a new in-house production of Simon Boccanegra directed by Philipp Himmelmann. The Dijon-Bourgogne orchestra will be conducted by Verdi specialist Roberto Rizzi Brignoli, while the cast will include Vittorio Vitelli, Keri Alkema, Luciano Batinic, Gianluca Terranova and Armando Noguera.

Stéphane Degout © Julien Benhamou
Stéphane Degout
© Julien Benhamou
The baroque isn't being ignored. In november, Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda will conclude the Monteverdi cycle started six years ago. For this concert version, the Dijon audience will have another chance to see Jos van Immerseel and his ensemble Anima Eterna Brugge, familiar from previous years, together with the voices of Christoph and Julian Prégardien and the mezzo Marianne Beate Kielland. The collaboration with Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d’Astrée continues in May with Rameau's Pygmalion, staged with Mondonville's L’Amour et Psyché: co-produced with Opéra de Lille, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg and Opéra de Caen, this will bring together a talented cast including Reinoud van Mechelen, Samantha Louis-Jean, Hasnaa Bennani (who has just sung Ismène in Marin Marais' Alcione de Marin Marais at the Opéra Comique in Paris) and Magali Léger. In June, the lyric season comes to a close with a rarity: El Prometeo, an opera written in Spanish by the Italian composer Antonio Draghi, hasn't been performed since the 22nd December 1669! Leonardo García Alarcón has rediscovered the work and will conduct it with his ensemble Cappella Mediterranea as the inauguration of his residency at Opéra de Dijon – together with the excellent Namur Chamber Choir and quality soloists – Fabio Trümpy, Scott Conner, Mariana Florès, Zachary Wilder – some of whom are familiar to the Dijon audience from this spring's production of Falvetti's Nabucco de Falvetti. The Argentinian will also conduct the Concert du Nouvel An in a programme of works by Francisco Correa de Araujo, Diego de Salazar, Juan de Araujo, Guerrero and Cusco.

Starting with cantatas by Clérambault, Campra and Morin, the Amarillis Ensemble, novelist Léonor De Récondo and director Tami Troman have made up a story and created MéChatmorphoses ("MeCatMorphoses"), a show for all the family in November. In the same month, Stéphane Degout will be eagerly anticipated in a particularly tasty programme of Fauré, Brahms and Schumann entitled Poèmes. December sees another exhumation: Sébastien Daucé, his Ensemble Correspondances and the director/choreographer Francesca Lattuada will be reviving Le Ballet royal de la nuit, an Entertainment Spectacular combining poetry, visual arts, music, song and dance in which, on the 23rd of February 1653, the young Louis XIV danced in front of the assembled nobility of France, clad in gold under a headdress which portrayed the sun's rays. Another programme enticing curiosity comes in March, when Jos van Immerseel and Anima Eterna Brugge will be performing a Richard Strauss evening on period instruments, including the Four Last Songs sung by soprano Yeree Suh.

As usual, all forms of instrumental music will be well served. Continuing their residence in Dijon, David Grimal and his Les Dissonances will provide some notable music, amongst which The Rite of Spring in October and ¡Viva España! in January. In the same month, young harpsichordist Justin Taylor (a winner at the 2017 Victoires de la Musique) will give two concerts: the first will be devoted to the fandango of Antonio Soler, while the second will explore over a century of music, from Couperin to Mozart. Following her win in the instrumental soloist category of the 2017 Victoire de la Musique, percussionist  Adélaïde Ferrière (who studied music at the Conservatoire de Dijon) will join the Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne for a highly colourful concert, which will give prime position to her instrument of choice, the marimba, and will end with Dvořák's New World Symphony. There are more notable events in April, in the shape of a Debussy marathon with Philippe Cassard and a concert from the Orchestre National de France with its new conductor Emmanuel Krivine, in a programme of Franck, Richard Strauss, Ravel and Debussy. Under the the baton of Philippe Herreweghe, the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées will be performing Brahms' Symphony no. 3 and Schumann's Piano Concerto.

Philippe Cassard © Vincent Catala
Philippe Cassard
© Vincent Catala
Repeatedly, Iberian and Latin American flavours will permeate the programme. In March, an evening curated by Damien Caille-Perret and Nicolas Chesneau will pay homage to Lorca – poet, but also musician – spanning all forms of artistic expression. In April, the Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne, conducted by Gergely Madaras, will invite us to discover the key figures in South American music of the 20th century: Moncayon, Estevez, Márquez, Ginastera, Revueltas, Piazzola. The same month, Argentinian guitarist Pablo Márquez will give two concerts: the first with a Spanish theme, the second Latin American.

There will be five dance productions. First, in January, comes the French première of Kreatur, a brand new ballet by Sasha Waltz, which is being co-produced with Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg and Opéra de Lille: this is a dialogue between dance, costumes and lights, with fourteen of the company's dancers, performing overa soundtrack by the young Berlin-New York trio Soundwalk Collective. In February, the company Peeping Tom will perform the first of a Father-Mother-Child trilogy with Vader (the Father). The action in this choreography takes place in the antechamber of a retirement home and captures, with poignant humour, how imagination or sickness can transform daily life into a dream world.

To conclude, let's not forget the autumn launch of a new digital platform, open to all, which, as well as the programmes in the auditorium, will include multimedia content for all productions since 2008.

That's just a sample of what next season has to offer at the Opéra de Dijon, which has just received from the Culture and Communication Ministry the new label “Théâtre Lyrique d’Intérêt National”. Dive into the detail of the programme and you'll find more reasons to take the 1 h 35 TGV ride from Paris and discover an opera house which is becoming more and more significant in France's lyric theatre landscape.


This preview was sponsored by Opéra de Dijon
Translated from French by David Karlin