I write these lines on a day when everything is opening up, like a grand overture.
What a magnificent word, when you think about it!
Today, Wednesday 19 May, the cafes open their terraces. The shops, the cinemas, the swimming pools: everywhere, some more timidly than others, doors are opening. Those of theatres and operas are opening, too. The private space – the privacy of others, our own privacy – will give way little by little to that space previously devoted to the public. This is our Spring. It will unfold with patience, prudently. Step by step. But we can already see it. The horizon is opening up!
Overture… that’s the name of the first musical pages that open an opera. Here, the composer gives a preview of the themes that the work will deploy. It is a hint of the music to come, all the while revealing its own presence: a promise already kept at the very instant it begins to unfold. It is inaugural: with it, and within it, the present is captured, attracted, oriented by the future.
The Dijon Opera, like all sites of artistic creation, has the vocation to be open: curious to the world, attentive, hospitable. Ready to reinvent itself. Art is never a done deal, it is not like some investment on which we collect rent without further thought. And yet, that’s what it risks to become when it becomes routine, when it gets set in its ways.
I’m sure that you, like me, have missed the presence of others. Meeting face-to-face offers something irreplaceable. During this period of absence, we had an opportunity to get to know each other, the team of the Dijon Opera and myself. We worked together to develop our new programmes and to share our ideas with others. We formalized our new graphic charter. This brochure does not attempt to cover all the aspects of our activities to come, or the numerous projects that we have launched. I think, for example, of the challenges imposed today in terms of ecological and social transition, or the questions of cultural rights, of participative practices, of debates around today’s major issues, of the professional insertion of the younger generations, of training, of apprenticeships… But we’ll get back to all that. And then, despite any impatience we may feel, let’s take the time to breathe a little, and begin by unveiling the list of shows for our next season. You will also discover on the pages of this programme some works by young artists recently graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles.
This 2021-2022 season is my first at the head of the Dijon Opera. I hope it comes across as an overture, an opening, a sign of things to come. Just look at what the artists are offering to us. There are marvels and surprises, both with established works, and with those that remain to be created. There are talents, I trust, who will know how to move you. The best, of course, is to dip a little into each and every one. Leaf through this programme, and let it work its magic on you, let yourself dream! Come appreciate the confirmed successes, but come also to discover creations that no one has yet seen. Share in the work of the artists, because they work for you – and with you. For them, nothing has meaning without you. That is the very definition of a living art. Answer the call. Let yourself be tempted, because this reopening is also that, on a more mundane basis, of our ticket office! I sincerely hope it will be an opening, an overture, to the greatest number of you ...
In any case, there will be plenty of delights for all tastes. A house cannot be directed, and a season cannot be composed, without a certain taste. My own taste draws me towards equilibrium, diversity – and towards opening. In terms of opera, for example, we will travel through the centuries, from Monteverdi to today. And when I say "we", I mean everyone. Especially children. Furthermore, I encourage the parents themselves not to miss certain performances aimed at these young audiences.
Opera is but one example. Being open, as I see it, also means not letting oneself get stuck in one’s own comfort zone. The arts nourish one another, they cross over their respective frontiers, which are often quite relative. Opera, which of all the arts encompasses the broadest range of disciplines, is itself a crossroads. When the arts join together and interact, it can generate powerful new sources of creativity. I want the Dijon Opera to be such a gathering place, for encounters, exchanges, resources, a place where the arts of sound, movement and space deploy one another, the one by the other. If this is a circle, then I dream of it multiplying, in plural, into circles upon circles that expand, that overflow, that interfere and vibrate together, captivating the senses, exulting the heart, inspiring the mind. I am proud to work with our institutional, associative and independent partners, in our city and beyond. Together, we will expand our reach throughout the region, and even further. This opera house will be open, in movement towards others. And, why not, reaching into the urban space. To better belong to the people of Dijon, to the inhabitants of our growing metropolis and our beautiful region, for the benefit of one and all ...
Many of you share a great fondness for our Grand Théâtre and hope to see it once again restored to its former glory. With the help of the City of Dijon, we are planning major renovations. These works will take place in various stages over a few months each year, around the summer break, but will never completely halt our activities. The repurposing of our Italian hall will allow us to develop numerous shared projects, in different formats, in creative residencies, and will allow us to promote programmes at multiple speeds ...
Is it too much? Does our new logo, OD, suggest an "overdose"? I don’t believe so… After all, "over dose" – in its curious mix of English and Greek – derives from the words for "excessive gift". In art, it suggests making that extra effort. In short, a superlative gift. Of course, this will depend a lot on you. The Dionysian inebriation that simple art procures is innately tied to such excess. This is a gift beyond measure. The artists give without holding anything back – and when everything clicks, and exceeds our expectations, they give even more, exceeding even themselves. Is it too much? Mozart, apparently, put "too many notes" in his compositions, at least according to the tastes of the Emperor Joseph II… What would we say today? An artist, by giving the "right" amount, must assume this risk: give too much, even if it means going beyond certain limits. Awakening the senses, restoring meaning to what makes us a community, sometimes this requires going overboard, knowing how to exaggerate, as our good friend Cyrano put it. This risk is always born of an irrepressible generosity. So yes, the OD will give a lot, at the risk of giving ... too much, at least according to the tastes of some. Already, I accept this responsibility. To give without measure, and without wanting for measure – that’s a beautiful objective.
Speaking of giving, of generosity, and sharing: we can never sufficiently express all that the OD owes its patrons, its partners, and all the institutions that support its actions. Thank you all. Thank you for making this adventure possible. I am particularly thrilled to able to count on your renewed confidence. And I would also like to thank the Minister of Culture, who has confirmed, in view of my project for the house, and in the good spirit of the City of Dijon and the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region, the renewal of our convention as Théâtre Lyrique d’Intérêt National for the next five years.
That’s all I have space for today.
We will talk again soon. For now: over to the overture!
Artistic and general director