Spurred on by the success of Jules Verne's extraordinary journeys, Offenbach created this fairy-tale opera in 1875: to please his son the prince, the aptly named Caprice, King Vlan undertakes to travel to the Moon in a shell fired from a cannon. Of course, nothing happens as planned, and the adventure on the supposedly uninhabited star soon becomes a series of situations as incredible as they are absurd.
Behind the folly and exuberance, Offenbach's music conceals a secret nostalgia. And it may well be that, deep down, this journey is a pretext to contemplate our certainties and excesses from the perspective of a Moon-dweller observing our planet. One thinks of the words of Will Anders, a passenger on the Apollo 8 mission: "We came all this way to see the Moon and we discovered the Earth."
It wasn't long before cinema embraced interstellar travel as one of its most prolific obsessions, from Georges Méliès to James Gray. For the time being Offenbach captures this theme and tries to confine it to the dimensions of the stage. The result is a spectacular fantasy involving a take-off and a moon landing, an erupting volcano, a glass palace with mother-of-pearl galleries, trapdoors, fireworks and a camel borrowed from the Jardin d'Acclimatation.
A century and a half of science fiction later, director Olivier Fredj has chosen to show the reverse side of this theatre of special effects. Collaborating with the illustrator Jean Lecointre, he invites us on a vast film set that creates illusions before our very eyes, in tribute to the infinite power of imagination.
Le Voyage dans la Lune, Opéra-féerie in four acts and twenty-three tableaux
Created at the Théâtre de la Gaîté in Paris, 26 October 1875
Coproduction Opéra national de Lorraine, Centre Français de Promotion Lyrique, Grand Avignon Opera, Clermont Auvergne Opera, Imperial Theatre of Compiègne, Limoges Opera, Marseille Opera, Massy Opera, Opera-Theatre of Metz Métropole, Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier Occitanie, Opéra de Nice, Opéra de Reims, Opéra de Rouen Normandie, Opéra de Toulon Provence Méditerranée, Opéra de Tours, Opéra de Vichy, Avant-Scène Opéra/ Neuchâtel and Palazzetto Bru Zane
With the support of Mécénat de la Caisse des Dépôts, the Ministry of Culture and the Orange Foundation, in partnership with France Musique
Libretto Albert Vanloo, Eugène Leterrier et Arnold Mortier d'après Jules Verne
Music Jacques Offenbach
Orchestra and Chorus of Lorraine National Opera
The performance on Sunday January 24 at 3 p.m. offers a Sunday workshop and will be available with audio-description.
2h40 with interval
performed in French, with surtitles
1 hour before the start of the performance (free, on presentation of the ticket)