We have made a belated arrival in an ancient world. So it's up to each generation to assume its share of the history that preceded it. The past we all share, the history that brings us together or separates us, the ties that bind us to others and to ourselves, all make up our heritage. We have a complex, contradictory and sometimes conflicting relationship with it. It is a part of us, albeit unwillingly. The choice of works we programme is not dictated by a theme. But I do believe in threads that weave themselves - visibly or invisibly, consciously or unconsciously - between the different productions in this vast jigsaw puzzle we call a 'season'. And it's clear that many of them raise this issue of heritage.
Our present is the direct result of the choices made by those who came before us: maps, planispheres, borders between nations and geopolitical relations between peoples have all been shaped by past conflicts. This is what Mozart shows us in Idomeneo, which takes place in the ruins of the Trojan War: the King of Crete is on the winning side, but he is haunted by the spectre of the conflict that marked the end of a world. Faced with this past that weighs heavily on the present, a new generation represented by Prince Idamante and the Trojan Ilia must make a choice: perpetuate History by repeating its traumas or, on the contrary, break the circle of violence in favour of peace and tolerance. This is the path taken by Idamante when he frees the Trojan prisoners, opening the way to possible reconciliation: in Mozart, youth triumphs over the enmities of the old world.
The same is true of David and Jonathas, whose feelings transcend the merciless battle between their respective camps - Israelites and Philistines - just as the love of Romeo and Juliet transcends the mutual hatred of the Capulets and Montagues. This is also the case, in a completely different register, of Ernesto, who is prepared to forego his uncle Don Pasquale's financial capital in order to marry the beautiful and penniless Norina. At times, the relationship between present and past is marked by mistrust: the link is broken, opening the way to revisionism. When this happens, we enter the age of fake news and disinformation. Director Kevin Barz responds to this current trend by taking Haydn's Creation and re-reading Genesis through the lens of our scientific knowledge of the universe. It can occur that the past poisons the present, and these are the darkest periods in our history. Artists then enter into resistance. Yesterday it was Kurt Weill - whose iconoclastic Silver Lake denounced the relentless rise of Adolf Hitler - or the Czech composer Pavel Haas, who died in Auschwitz. Today it is the Ukrainian Victoria Polevá, whose work - in the current context - takes on a political meaning.
For four seasons now, we have taken up the challenge of introducing and supporting a new generation of artists. Because our heritage is also artistic: it consists of the works of the past, both familiar and unknown to us, with which we have woven a dialogue over time. It's now up to this new generation to embrace this heritage, uphold it and pass it on, while expressing a strong, personal vision. Because we are convinced that these artists are helping to open up new imaginative worlds on stage. Productions by directors such as Ersan Mondtag and Pınar Karabulut may not be a faithful reflection of the world we live in: they are distorting mirrors. But the image they offer us does not leave us unquestioned: it encourages us to pursue our utopias in these troubled times.
With our musical director Marta Gardolińska, we continue to offer you a symphonic journey across Europe, through eras and artistic currents. You are now familiar with the principle behind these concerts, the effort we put into striking a balance between the pleasure of hearing again the masterpieces we love and the beauty of discovering new emotions: these programmes where a Mahler symphony rubs shoulders with an Angel by Theodore Akimenko, an unjustly forgotten post-romantic genius. Our desire to open the Opera to the four winds encourages us to experiment with new forms: among these entertainments for one and all, I invite you to discover, as you read these pages, a Carmen project in "landscape format" that should leave no one indifferent, or Bingo! led by the talented trio Musica Humana.
Our House is a great institution thanks to its ambition and the quality and talent of the teams that make it up. In times of crisis, there are those who fall prey to the temptation to backlash, to retreat, to withdraw into themselves, into a glorious, fantasised past at the expense of the future, into an opera-museum that forgoes moving forward. On the contrary, at the Opéra national de Lorraine, we intend to reaffirm firmly the values on which our shared project is based: using the repertoire to invite the public on a journey combining well-known, little-known and unknown works; supporting artists with powerful and singular aesthetic universes; placing the Opera at the heart of our social and ecological concerns, conceiving it as a complex network of ramifications that develop horizontally, creating links between people throughout the territory.