of life after death

photo AFP Philippe Lopez

The new staging of Requiem Stéphane Braunschweig’s Mozart at the Opéra national de Bordeaux (January 20-28) has been designed with an ecological and sustainable approach. The first “purchase zero” production of an opera house in France, made from recycled sets.

A great consumer of decorations, lyrical art aspires to more sober practices. In December, five major venues (the Paris Opera, the Lyon Opera, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels) pledged to reduce their carbon footprint to through the standardization of the production of stage elements. The Bordeaux institution pushes logic further with this Requiem without the purchase of equipment for the production of sets, costumes and accessoriesstaged by Stephane Braunschweig with Roberto Gonzalez Nuns to musical direction. Seven functions are scheduled until January 28. For this, it was necessary to take advantage of the 5,000 m2 of reserves of the Opera.

The decorator and the director wanted a closed box on the set: we proposed salvage frames and they chose mirror frames that had been used for Macbeth (performed in Bordeaux in 2012, Ed) “, indicated Pilar Camps, head of the design bureau. White veils, used in the ballet. Heavenly, were recycled, as well as black backgrounds, friezes and legs, and a dance floor. The same happens with the forty suits: the stock of contemporary clothing has been used, with the necessary arrangements. ” It is the lost souls that are represented; in this idea of ​​a ghostly silhouette, we cut the cuffs, the lower part of the skirts, to find a fabric with a raw edge, without stiffness or heaviness “, explain claire gollentza seamstress who worked on the project.

donations and recycling

The production also turned to alternative circuits to obtain certain elements: a manufacturer of wine boxes donated planks of wood to make 18 coffins, with a deliberately rudimentary appearance. Some of the outfits were created from pieces salvaged from a charitable thrift shop and a professional clothing specialist dove into their unsold stock to provide the so-called “cleanup” shirts the performers wear under their costumes: the flocking of these, inspired by the ash fall of September 11, 2001 in New York, making it impossible to wash them from one performance to another.

Buying zero also means putting Opera back into a much broader continuum of activities than the show, and it needs it. », considers the general director of the Opéra national de Bordeaux, Emmanuel Honduras. There is no doubt, however, that the environmental focus –and budget, with some 40,000 euros in savings here– prevails over the artistic project: “ If we have the impression of a second-rate scenery, we will have lost our objective », insists the one who sees in the experience « another way to be creative “.

We are there, first of all, to make music and try to stage a religious work, a mass for the dead, giving it a slightly different light., abounds Stéphane Braunschweig. The director of the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris wanted to resonate” Mozart’s relationship with death in his work – died in 1791 without completing the score – with today’s experience: “ These wooden boxes are like coffins that are built in a hurry when there are epidemics, wars ». In the end, everything is articulated in the stripping of the scene that refers to the human condition and questions the possibility of another life after death: “ is the theme of Requiem but it is also for the materials, for the environment, for everything that surrounds us »considers Emmanuel Hondré.

© Agence France-Presse

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