Contemporary Opera from La Monnaie in Brussels
Is this the end?
Composed by Jean-Luc Fafchamps
Wednesday, November 25–Wednesday, December 16, 2020
In English with English subtitles • On Vimeo
Live Conversation with Creative Team
Thursday, December 10, 2020
In English • On Zoom
Hovering between life and death, a teenage girl wanders through a labyrinthine netherworld. Is this the end? Jean-Luc Fafchamps’s haunting newly-composed pop requiem opened the season at La Monnaie, the Belgian opera house in Brussels, in September, with this provocative question.
Presented in a theater without an audience, as masked figures wander on and off screen and characters linger in a transitory state of ‘departing consciousness,’ “Dead Little Girl”—the first part of the three-part opera—strikes an eerie yet poignant chord presented amidst a global pandemic.
Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski directed the live-captured performance using both the ornate public and winding backstage areas of La Monnaie’s buildings in Brussels. As the teen confronts her mortality she encounters references from Greek mythology to American Rock n’ Roll, in a soundscape that owes equally to Mozart and Pink Floyd. Meanwhile Éric Brucher’s libretto fluctuates between Latin liturgy and hyper-energized vernacular of television advertisements in a captivating mix.
FIAF brings you exclusive access to stream the performance from Wednesday, November 25 to Wednesday, December 16, and takes you behind the scenes with the creative team on Thursday, December 10 at 4:30pm.
Composer Jean-Luc Fafchamps, librettist Eric Brucher, director Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski, and La Monnaie general and artistic director Peter de Caluwe, in a conversation with journalist Merrin Lazyan, will discuss the process of bringing this new ambitious work to the stage. They will also discuss the mounting challenges and artistic choices they made in light of the global pandemic as they explored new ways to present an opera.
Performance: 50 minutes
Talk: 45 minutes
View Cast & Credits
A pop requiem in three parts by Jean-Luc Fafchamps
PART ONE : DEAD LITTLE GIRL
Wereldcreatie / Création Mondiale – Live Filmed Opera
Libretto: Éric Brucher
Artistic concept: Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Eric Brucher, Ingrid Von Wantoch Rekowski
Conductor: Patrick Davin, Ouri Bronchti
Director: Ingrid Von Wantoch Rekowski
Video Director: Jean Claude Wouters
Costumes: Regine Becker
Chorus Master: Alberto Moro
The Teenager: Sarah Defrise
The Man: Amaury Massion (LYLAC)
The Woman: Albane Carrère
La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra
La Monnaie Chorus
MM Academy, led by Benoît Giaux
Produced by La Monnaie / De Munt
Film produced by Heliox Films
With the support of Ars Musica and Lucilia Caesar
A co-production with Shelter Prod and Prospero MM Productions
With the support of the tax shelter of the Belgian federal government (taxshelter.be) and ING
Performance recorded at La Monnaie De Munt, Opera House in Bruxelles (Belgium)
About Jean-Luc Fafchamps
Jean-Luc Fafchamps is a Belgian pianist and composer. Fafchamps studied at the Conservatoire de Mons and at University of Louvain (UCL) in economics. A founding member of the Ictus Ensemble, he has participated in numerous creations, both in the field of concert music and in mixed experiments, particularly with dance. Approached in the field of theater and dance, his work of composition – performed during international festivals by renowned artists and ensembles – has been praised by UNESCO’s Young Composers’ tribune (Attrition, for string octet) and has been awarded the Octave of Classical Music in 2006 and the Octave of Contemporary Music in 2016, as well as the Magritte du cinéma 2018 for the soundtrack of the film Insyriated. He was composer in residence at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 2005-2006. The last part of his piano triptych Back to… was the compulsory piece for the semi-finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2010. His works are the subject of several monographic discs, and he himself has recorded piano pieces by Morton Feldman, Luciano Berio, Franz Liszt, Luigi Dallapicolla, Paul Bowles, Giacinto Scelsi… Jean-Luc Fafchamps is professor of music analysis at the Conservatoire de Mons and at the Institut des Arts de Diffusion (Louvain-La-Neuve) and member of the Royal Academy of Belgium since 2019.
About Eric Brucher
Born in Louvain, Belgium, librettist Éric Brucher is a novelist who also teaches literature, philosophy, and the approach to religious phenomena and spirituality. His first novel, Soleil, devant (2009), a solitary odyssey in the footsteps of Ulysses, was finalist for the RTBF Première Prize and the Jean Muno Prize in 2010. He has since published two novels: Colombe won the 2012 Sander Pierron Prize of the Royal Academy of French Language and Literature of Belgium and La blancheur des étoiles (2014); and the collection Le jour est aussi une colère blanche (2017). Brucher is also a literary columnist, who has been featured on the radio program Antipode (radio Brabant wallon) and reviewed for Le Carnet et les Instants. He is currently the literary director of the brand new Éditions du Sablon.
About Ingrid Von Wantoch Rekowski
Ingrid Von Wantoch Rekowski is a Franco-German director. Von Wantoch Rekowski studied with Eugenio Barba, Bob Wilson, Georges Aperghis, Trisha Brown, Dario Fo, and Anatoli Vassiliev. From her first show, In the woods one evening (1994) and the founding of her company Lucilia Caesar in 1994, she developed a singular language that combined logic of stage, music, plastic arts and literature—which she continues deepen. She has been invited to numerous festivals, theaters, and opera house, including Festival of Aix-en- Provence, the Berlin Biennale, Festival Musica Strasbourg, the Wiener Festwochen,Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Théâtre National in Brussels and Bug, and others. Her most recent production, Faux départ, has been presented at “Court Toujours” festival of the CDN of Thionville and Théâtre National in Brussels.
About Peter de Caluwe
Peter de Caluwe is the general and artistic director of La Monnaie/De Munt. Peter de Caluwe (Dendermonde, 1963) studied literature and history of theatre at the universities of Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp. In 1986, Gerard Mortier invited him to La Monnaie in Brussels, where he worked as a dramaturge responsible for press contacts, public relations and youth projects. In 1989, Pierre Audi and Truze Lodder requested Peter de Caluwe to join their team in Amsterdam. In his position as Director of International & External Communications, he was in charge of translating the company’s new artistic policy into a new public profile. In 1994, he took over the position of Casting Director, which later developed into Director of Artistic Administration. In that role, he was co-responsible with Pierre Audi for the artistic programming of the company. Since 2007, Peter de Caluwe has been the General & Artistic Director of the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie. A second term in this position will prolong his stay with the company until 2019. In 2011, under his leadership, La Monnaie was nominated Opera House of the Year by the specialized German magazine Operwelt – a leading reference on opera worldwide. That same year, Radio Klara and the Muziekcentrum Vlaanderen elected him Musical Personality of the Year. In 2013, Peter de Caluwe was named Manager of the Year by the Flemish Association for Management and Public Policy. The following year, Lobby Magazine elected him Leader of the Year, an award up to that point only reserved for politicians. 2014 also marks the year, in which the Université Libre de Bruxelles bestowed the title Doctor Honoris Causa on him. After the Honorary Causa Master degree from the Brussels Ecole supérieure des Arts Saint- Luc, this represents the second academic acknowledgment for his merits in his position as the General Director of La Monnaie, as well as his endeavours for European culture in general. From 2011 to 2013, Peter de Caluwe was President of Opera Europa, the leading organisation of professional opera companies and festivals in Europe. Today, he is an executive board member of various cultural and management institutions.
About Merrin Lazyan
Merrin Lazyan is the producer of Aria Code, a critically acclaimed podcast from WQXR, WNYC Studios, and the Metropolitan Opera. Aria Code pulls back the curtain on some of the greatest arias in opera history, with insight from the biggest voices of our time, including Renée Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Joyce DiDonato, and many others. The show also includes a wealth of guests from beyond the world of opera—from artists like Dame Judi Dench and Rufus Wainwright to writers like Ann Patchett and Dr. Brooke Magnanti, author of The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl. It is hosted by Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Rhiannon Giddens, and has received glowing reviews from The New York Times, The New Yorker, the BBC, The Boston Globe, Cosmopolitan, and many more. Previously, Merrin co-hosted and produced He Sang/She Sang, a podcast and Facebook Live conversation series with opera stars, as well as This Week with Yannick, a radio series hosted by conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She studied psychology at Harvard and classical voice performance at the Royal College of Music in London, where she spent five years working as an operatic soprano as well as a freelance writer and editor. She won the British Psychological Society Book Award for her contributions to The Psychology Book.