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Nabucco, Orphée aux enfers, Balanchine: the new season of the Capitole de Toulouse, strong in the storm

“You have to go big, you have to look beautiful and constantly fight for pragmatic spending,” says Christophe Ghristi, artistic director of the Capitole de Toulouse.

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Nabucco, Orphée aux enfers, Balanchine: the new season of the Capitole de Toulouse, strong in the storm

“You have to go big, you have to look beautiful and constantly fight for pragmatic spending,” says Christophe Ghristi, artistic director of the Capitole de Toulouse. While opera bosses are crying about rising costs and the difficulty of meeting their specifications, the Toulouse house is prances with a new season that makes you want to camp there, on the grand square of the pink city.

Having become a public establishment since January 1, 2023, the Capitol enjoys two advantages: an immense capital of affection in the hearts of Toulouse residents who fill the room to 98% when it is not 100%. And a town hall which understands how much the image of the Capitol reflects on that of the city, and which therefore ensures that the opera houses productions which fully delight the senses. The city's subsidy has been slightly increased. A situation that Lyon, Strasbourg or Bordeaux, and the other opera houses in France, could envy.

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“Make something big and beautiful,” Ghristi doesn’t hold back. His season, he says, is that of “brilliant moments”. Opening with Nabucco, a new production directed by Stefano Poda and conducted by Giacoma Sagripanti, followed by Dido and Aeneas in Concert version with the Versailles Orchestra and choirs but Sonya Yoncheva, sorry. Alcina, the first opera by a female composer, Francesca Caccini (1587-1641) succeeds it. Bruno Mantovani, composer accomplice of Ghristi, signs a world creation Voyage d'Automne which retraces the singular trip to Nazi Germany in 1941 of Jouhandeau, Chardonne, Fernandez, Drieu de la Rochelle and Brasillach.

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Offenbach warms up January with Orphée aux Enfers produced by Olivier Py for Lausanne last winter and performed again with the finest young French voices with Marie Perbost as Eurydice and Cyrille Dubois as Orphée under the baton of Chloé Dufresne. February welcomes the production of Julius Caesar seen last season at the TCE in Paris with Christophe Rousset and his Talens Lyriques and Damiano Micheletto directing. The end of the season which schedules in quick succession the revival of Norma, in a tragic staging by Anne Delbée and under the baton of Hervé Niquet, a new production of Le Vaisseau Fantôme, directed by Michel Fau, who confessedly obsessed with Wagner, and directed by Franck Beerman, who remarkably led the previous Wagners of the Capitol. Adrienne Lecouvreur closes the season, in a production “rented to AS.Li.Co, a meeting of lyric theaters from northern Italy who come together to put on productions,” says Ghristi.

Dance sees far and high. Beate Vollack, who arrived here in September as director of the ballet, is delighted with the level of the company of 35 dancers left to her by Kader Belarbi, at its head for ten years. Trained at the Berlin Ballet School, then a dancer at the Munich Ballet, she defines herself as a classical, modern and contemporary dancer, then company director of the contemporary repertoire, in Saint Gall, and classical at the Graz Opera. “The Capitol allows me to bring these two sides together,” she says. Its next season is encouraging, also because it is rather original. Many of the choreographers on show are signing their first production in France and, at a time when we are looking for new talents, we will go to Toulouse to get to know each other. In addition, music is king in this program supported by leading performers.

Jordi Savall and his Concert des Nations accompany the Gluck program: Semiramis choreographed by Angel Rodriguez, formerly with Nacho Duato, and Don Juan choreographed by Edward Clug, Romanian, who creates few but for good houses like Stuttgart, Berlin, Zurich or Nederlands Dans Theater. This evening will tour at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and at the Liceu in Barcelona. The company will dance at the Capitole for the holidays with a Balanchine program accompanied by the Orchestra: Themes and Variations, Tchaikovsky pas de deux and Who Cares? way of recalling how the ballet du Capitole was Balanchinian when its director was named Nanette Glushak, Balanchine star in New York who directed the Toulouse ballet for 17 years. Then it's time for the Halle aux Grains, for a program of Chansons Dansées avec Brel by Ben van Cauwenbergh, a suite of nine songs choreographed in a sometimes extremely virtuoso manner like Les Bourgeois. A creation on songs by Barbara commissioned from Morgann Runacre-Temple, and the cover of Cantata by Mauro Bigonzetti complete the evening.

The demanding Jean-Guillaume Bart, star of the Paris Opera and one of the best dancing masters of the French school, then comes to create his Coppélia in costumes by Christian Lacroix. Innovative finale with a young choreographers' evening at the Couvent des Jacobins, a light setting conducive to experiments.

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