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Editorial: For a living opera that serves the living

Our 2022-2023 season opens with a constellation of events that bring contemporary music to life. For the first time, Musica in Nancy, one of the most important festivals dedicated to musical creation, will take place in our city for a weekend. In this context, Rendez-vous by the fire, by composer Mathieu Corajod, will be performed on Place Stanislas, in connection with the Jardin éphémère which will be held at the same time. In resonance with this second part of the Nancy Opera Xperience, we will welcome the world premiere of the opera Like flesh, already awarded with the prestigious FEDORA prize. This season opener thus sets the tone for a programme which gives pride to works from the 20th and 21st centuries.

The opera we dream of is conjugated in the present tense: it takes up social issues to help us think about the future; it gives its full place to creations that reach a wide audience; it breaks down the walls between neophytes and enthusiasts; it imagines transdisciplinary exchanges between spectators, artists, but also critics, philosophers and sociologists who think about the performing arts today. In the name of this utopia, for the last three seasons, the Opéra national de Lorraine has chosen to bet on the future by accompanying a new generation of artists of all nationalities who are reinventing the art of opera. This new generation could not be better embodied than in the trio formed by librettist Cordelia Lynn, composer Sivan Eldar and director Silvia Costa.

The climate crisis does not take holidays: that is the conclusion we can draw after a summer of forest fires and record temperatures. To use the title of an issue of the magazine Alternatives théâtrales1 in which we participated last season, NATURE IS NO LONGER A SETTING. It is now the main character of our lives. The survival of future generations depends on our ability to live in the world and preserve it.

Cordelia Lynn places this Nature at the centre of her booklet. Through the fable of a lumberjack's wife, taken with desire for a student and who takes root until she becomes a tree, the opera seems to be telling us that the time for a quiet art is over. Intimately connected to desire, Nature as seen by the playwright is in the process of becoming: it no longer has any of the essentialism that has, in the past, served to justify the worst inequalities and the worst injustices. Wounded by the hand of Man, Nature becomes here a part of ourselves: the contradiction that our humanity must overcome to survive.

We have chosen to place this new season under the sign of EMOTION, which we like to recall is etymologically WHAT MOVES US. The emotion that a work of art provokes in us has the mysterious power to move the lines, to move us in our opinions by means of the sensitive. This sensitive part is at the heart of Silvia Costa's theatre, which last season offered us an unforgettable Julie. The forms composed by this Italian director are so dense, so deep that they are like a summer night, which can be contemplated for a long time, with new stars always appearing.

It is also the emotion that permeates Sivan Eldar's music. With the help of conductor Maxime Pascal, computer music producer Augustin Muller and the technology of Ircam, the composer turns Like flesh into an immersive sensory experience. We, the spectators, are invited to penetrate this forest of sound, to get lost in order to find our way, to find ourselves in order to think together about the common world.

Matthieu Dussouillez
General Director

1 - Alternatives théâtrales n° 144-145, "Opera and ecology(s)", October 2021, issue coordinated by Isabelle Moindrot and Leyli Daryoush

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