Archive for La Monnaie

One big beating heart: singers and dancers, Verdi and Wagner, in ‘C(h)oeurs’ by Alain Platel

Posted in dance, opera with tags , , , , on September 26, 2013 by Utopia Parkway


Funny how you have no power over the images your eyes have handed your mind. As I was watching the closing scene of C(h)oeurs – a huge group of people, seated at the back of the stage, opening and closing their hands, painted red, as one big beating heart – it seemed rather silly to me. Now, some days later, it’s the image that keeps on popping up in my mind. C(h)oeurs, by Alain Platel (Les Ballets C de la B) premiered in Madrid last year, and was presented as the opening of the new season at opera house La Monnaie/De Munt, Brussels. For those who have missed it: De Munt is streaming it on its website until September 30, here.

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The best thing one can do when it’s raining, is to let it rain – Rosas & Graindelavoix performing ‘Cesena’ at Abbaye Villers La Ville

Posted in dance with tags , , on August 31, 2012 by Utopia Parkway

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Is it really worth it? Yes, it is. And I’m allowed to say so, because I sat there, before the sun came up, in the worst possible weather conditions (rain and cold): watching the first of a couple of special open air performances of Cesena (at dawn) and En Atendant (sunset) by Rosas and Graindelavoix at the Abbaye Villers La Ville (near Brussels). The setting – truly magnificent – means that you’re looking at these performances in a totally different way. Respect for choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, addressing the audience at 5.20 AM this morning, explaining that, even though the rain was pouring down, they were trying to make it as comfortable for the audience as possible. Respect for dancers and singers performing in the cold, and respect for the audience too, wrapped in blankets, watching and listening intently. You’ll find lengthier reviews here, here (Cesena) and here (En Atendant). Info: Kaaitheater and De Munt/LaMonnaie.

The day breaks as the evening falls: ‘Cesena’ (Rosas) stays captivating, even at night

Posted in dance with tags , , , , , , , on November 13, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

How wrong was I? Ever since I was fortunate enough to be able to witness the premiere of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker‘s Cesena at the break of dawn, in Avignon (see extensive review here), I’ve been asking myself that question. By that I mean: did those truly exceptional circumstances (Cour d’Honneur, open air, daybreak) make me go for more superlatives than I should have gone for? And thus I anxiously awaited the Belgian premiere of Cesena; in a ‘regular’ theatre (De Munt/La Monnaie) and in the evening. And boy, was I relieved. Because it made me realize I hadn’t been wrong after all.

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Crawling spiders, floating pine needles and dancing opera singers: ‘Matsukaze’ by Sasha Waltz

Posted in dance, opera with tags , , , , , , on June 11, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

One scene that stands out. Sometimes that’s enough. Just that one image will make sure that a performance will not get lost amidst all the others in your mind. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen Matsukaze at De Munt/La Monnaie and I still see those gigantic needles slowly and almost gracefully falling down on that stage. The reason why I absolutely wanted to see this new opera by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa? Hanjo, his previous one, was directed by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. This time around German choreographer Sasha Waltz was called in.

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Romeo Castellucci’s ‘Parsifal’ premieres tonight; first images

Posted in opera, theatre with tags , , , on January 27, 2011 by Utopia Parkway

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Romeo Castellucci‘s first ever and long-awaited opera, Parsifal, will premiere tonight at De Munt/La Monnaie (Brussels). It goes without saying that not only opera lovers are curious to see what the renowned Italian theatre director will come up with. You can be sure that his take on the legendary Richard Wagner opera will be a highly personal and probably unusual one. Unfortunately I will only be able to bring you a review of Parsifal somewhere in February, but I can try to tickle your imagination by showing you the first official pictures of Castellucci’s Parsifal. (all images: Bernd Uhlig) You’ll find more info and rehearsal pictures and videos on the site of De Munt/La Monnaie, here. (You’ll have to register first.) And for some insider’s stories about this Parsifal, do read Andrew Richard‘s (yes, he’s Parsifal) amusing blog (Opera rocks). The only tenor with a weblog?

Compelling ‘Medea’ by Sasha Waltz at De Munt/La Monnaie

Posted in dance, opera with tags , , , , on April 12, 2010 by Utopia Parkway

Too bad that second performance of Sasha Waltz ‘s Medea at De Munt/La Monnaie is already sold-out. I think I might have gone a second time. I was really impressed, yesterday, by this beautifully constructed mix of elements: that mournful and compelling contemporary score (by Pascal Dusapin, from ’92), those lush costumes, a few well-chosen extra elements (six giant fans, a Rothko-like backdrop) and of course that great choreography by Waltz, with just too many gorgeous scenes to mention. Last year I was really disappointed by Waltz’s chaotic Gezeiten, at De Munt, but this time I was swept away. By the way the German choreographer infuses Dusapin’s score with silence, or the way she directed soprano Caroline Stein and her dancers, or how she even puts those singers of Vocalconsort Berlin on stage and gets them to ‘dance’ as well. This is not an overly dramatic Medea, but the more I think about Waltz’s version, the more I’m touched by it. Want to know what you’ve missed? Click here to watch a You Tube-fragment.

Romeo Castellucci directs his first ever opera at De Munt/La Monnaie

Posted in dance, opera, theatre with tags , , , , on March 17, 2010 by Utopia Parkway

Renowned Italian theatre director Romeo Castellucci will direct his first ever opera. Castellucci’s version of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal will premiere next season at De Munt/La Monnaie (Brussels; February 27, 2011). Conductor will be Hartmut Haenchen. German choreographer Sasha Waltz will direct an opera too at De Munt: Toshio Hosokawa’s Matsukaze (May 2011). De Munt is also programming a rerun of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker‘s opera Hanjo, also by Hosokawa (April 2011). It premiered in 2004. You’ll find everything on De Munt’s new season on a brand new website, here.

(Note on January 27, 2011: For more recent info on Castellucci’s Parsifal: click here.)

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