EDITORIALS · Season 2023-2024
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
On the cusp of the last season brought to the Opéra de Lausanne by our director Éric Vigié, it is already time – even though we will have sub-sequent opportunities – to express our profound gratitude. It is thanks to him that our opera house has acquired such a glowing reputation in the City as well as at Swiss and international levels. The trust you have shown in him throughout these almost 20 years stems from his programming precisely designed for our theatre with its specific cultural and technical characteristics setting it apart from other nearby stages. He has given us the chance to hear exceptional and renowned voices, as well as revealing a wealth of young talent from our schools.
Éric Vigié has demonstrated great resilience: when he arrived from Trieste in 2004, he did not know that the renovation of his theatre would require him to organise nomadic seasons until 2012! He was of course unaware that the global pandemic that would close down stages around the world. You will discover his last season in this programme: it includes four new productions from the Opéra de Lausanne!
I would also like to thank all the opera house staff for their commitment and the quality of their work, despite the sometimes busy schedules.
Our subsidising authorities – the City, the Canton, as well as the foundations and sponsors who sup-port us, along with the members of our Circle of Patrons – deserve our full recognition and gratitude.
Finally, our Foundation Council, as well as the Selection Committee it set up to search for and hire a successor to Éric Vigié, has just completed its work. The number of applications from all over Europe and even from overseas reflects the reputation of our House. Next season we will introduce you to our new director Claude Cortese, whose appointment was announced a few weeks ago.
For this nineteenth and final season, free from Covid-related postponements, I bring you an operatic programme in which voices will once again be the guiding thread and the unmistakable hallmark of my years in Lausanne. While certain titles are back after more than seventeen years in some cases, our stage will also welcome premieres such as Cinderella by Jules Massenet and Nabucco as a final firework display.
You will hear exceptional up-and-coming artists on the brink of great careers, as was the case for so many guest singers, conductors and directors whom you applauded so warmly. I wish to reiterate my thanks to you our audience for these years of loyalty to the Opéra de Lausanne, as well as to my colleagues who have contributed to promoting the reputation of our institution.
At a time when opera is experiencing more and more budgetary restrictions and sometimes even public disaffection, Lausanne remains an island of stability amid an uncertain environment for the lyrical culture.
I would like to thank the many people who have worked with me since 2004 to promote the Opéra de Lausanne, for their dedication, their constant and faithful help, their advice and their support.
I wish my successor, whom I have known for a long time, great success in continuing to satisfy your curiosity by maintaining the undeniable artistic and technical quality of the productions offered by your opera house. I have every confidence in him.
Opéra de Lausanne
A cultural institution located in the heart of Lausanne since 1871. It’s become an emblematic institution in French-speaking Switzerland, contributing to its cultural influence.
Since its renovation in 2012, the Opéra de Lausanne has equipped its stage with the most advanced technologies, and offers a diversified choice of operas, concerts and ballets each season, showcasing a repertoire that spans from the 17th to the 21st centuries, from Monteverdi to Levinas. This diversity, as well as the artistic and vocal level of its international singers, ensures a dynamism and recognition that confirms the Opéra de Lausanne’s renown, and is reinforced by the rebroadcasts and diffusion of its productions, which are often acclaimed.
The Opéra de Lausanne is also known for its annual programming of a true opera for young audiences. In addition to the discovery of the operatic world offered annually to more than 2,000 students, it has a proactive policy of professionally integrating young graduates of the HEMu and HEMGe. In 2010, the Opéra de Lausanne created the Lyric Road, a unique decentralisation operation that takes place in the summer in the French-speaking region and allows distant audiences to enjoy quality opera performances.
A Bit of History
In Lausanne, opera has long been a defining feature of the cultural scene, reflecting the desire of Lausanne’s citizens for theatre, and not just music.
Voltaire was already praising the curiosity of the Lausanne public and was delighted with the reception given to his theatrical works. In its new building, the modern Opéra de Lausanne, with the strength of its heritage, is dedicated to preserving the repertoire, as well as showcasing and commissioning works for a wide audience including its youngest fans.
world-class performances and productions that are at the same time renewed and respectful of the operas presented.
Co-productions with other major theatres have made it possible to create spectacular scenographic productions allowing maximal use of the modern technical equipment installed when the theatre was renovated in 2012. The recognition of these productions is reflected both in the returning attendance of the public each season and in the co-production of a number of recordings, television broadcasts, and live streaming whether with Arte Concert, Mezzo, or the RTS.
Just as much a part of its area of activity, the Opéra de Lausanne encourages the writing and publishing of works dealing with Lausanne’s musical history over the past centuries. The editorial focus is combined with a strategy of commissioning operas from contemporary composers, such as Michaël Levinas, in order to spark and capture the interest of the young public in the operatic art.
The Choir of the Opéra de Lausanne is a young choir, comprising both vocal students from the Hautes Ecoles de musique romandes, Hemu and HemGe, and professional singers.
The experience acquired at the Opéra de Lausanne often allows new graduates to pursue a career that at times brings them back to Lausanne. Its members are selected by audition and are periodically reheard. They are carefully chosen for each opera according to their voice and/or aptitudes, as well as their stage presence. With their contagious enthusiasm, they are highly appraised by invited Directors.
Members benefit from several years of training under the direction of a number of dynamic expert Choir Directors from different disciplines, who are selected according to the works performed and their specific qualities.