The Opéra de Lausanne has asked two artists from Vaud to take this charismatic figure and make him resonate in words and notes for the ears of current generations. After three years of work, they are ready to reveal the doubts and certainties of his fight, in contact with key people from his tragedy: Ludwig von Wattenwyl from Bern, military commander in the Pays de Vaud and in charge of leading the enquiry against him; the friend and traitor Jean-Daniel de Crousaz, who denounced him to the Bernese authorities; and this Beautiful Stranger, a fugitive and luminous incarnation of his mystic visions which are at the heart of the revelation of his destiny. An artistic and historical journey that spectators will be invited to extend by reading a work dedicated to the evolution of creation and a retrospective of the literary, dramatic and musical use of Davel’s character throughout the centuries.¨
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Christian Favre is a Swiss musician who has had a triple career as pianist, professor and composer. He has played in recitals, chamber music and with orchestras across Europe, with conductors such as Armin Jordan, Franz Welser-Möst, Tibor Varga and Jesús López Cobos. He has performed with François Guye, Tedi Papavrami, Pierre Amoyal and Raphaël Oleg, among others. As pianist with the Quatuor Schumann from 1996 to 2016, he played in numerous concerts and recordings, including with Dame Felicity Lott in her own transcriptions. Since 1985, he has been a professor at Lausanne’s University of Music, regularly giving master classes. He is a composer of chamber music and a Requiem premiered in Buenos Aires in 2008, about which François Hudry, producer at France Musique, said, “Christian Favre is a romantic, passionate and tormented musician. He tries to solve tensions between fear of death and serenity, and between a twelve-tone technique with tonal roots and polytonality”. In the Revue Musicale Suisse Thierry Dagon wrote, “His Requiem is an overwhelming page. The writing is refined, the subject is very sure, and this is music that should undeniably be placed alongside the great requiems in history”.
As a long-standing critic of theatre and literature, René Zahnd worked at the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne from 1999 to 2013, where he was assistant director with René Gonzalez. He has published some fifteen plays which have been performed in various theatres in Switzerland, France and West Africa. At the same, time, he has continued his work as a translator of theatre texts, mostly in partnership with Hélène Mauler. Since 2015, also with Hélène Mauler, he has developed a collection of works published by Ides et Calendes, dedicated to playwrights from all periods and countries. In 2019, Le Petit Théâtre in Lausanne performed its first play for children, Anacoluthe ! (directed by Philippe Sireuil), while Françoise Courvoisier presented Le corps infini at the Théâtre des Amis. During the same year, he also published Benno Besson, la réalité en jeu and a new play, Mort d’Oreste.
With a particular fondness for works by Mahler, Strauss, Debussy and Boulez, Daniel Kawka shows unusual diversity by conducting works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Conductor of Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain and the Ose Orchestra, he is regularly invited to conduct the Orchestra of Florence and the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. With the RAI National Orchestra of Turin, he has conducted works by Schubert, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Stravinsky and Dutilleux. As a leader of a variety of groups, he has conducted Der Ring, Tristan und Isolde, Tannhäuser, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Così fan tutte, Turandot, Le château de Barbe Bleue, and Rodrigue et Chimène and Pelléas et Mélisande by Debussy. His recordings include Les météores by Hugues Dufourt, a monograph disc dedicated to Boulez and Symphony No 4 by Mahler, all with the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain and awarded a range of prizes. Among his future plans feature conducting in 2019 his first Soirées lyriques du Léman devoted to Richard Wagner, in France and Switzerland. At the Opéra de Lausanne: Le vase de parfums (2005), Les mamelles de Tirésias (2016) and La gaîté parisienne (2016).
For the first time at the Opéra de Lausanne.
Gianni Schneider is a theatre director who worked as an assistant to Giorgio Strehler, Matthias Langhoff, Maurice Béjart and Thomas Ostermeier. He has directed in all the theatres in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. His productions include La force de l’habitude by Bernhard, La locomotive folle by Witkiewicz, La mort du prince by Pessoa, Jardin d’hiver by Zahnd, The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Brecht, Zement by Müller, Patty Diphusa by Almodovar, The Robbers by Schiller, Titus Andronicus by Shakespeare, Équinoxe by Zahnd, Le nom by Fosse, Visage de feu by Mayenburg, Three Sisters by Tchekhov, This is a Chair by Churchill, Lulu by Wedekind, Platonovby Tchekhov, Le mocheby Mayenburg, Keep Cool and Supermarketby Srbljanovic,The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Brecht, Der Stein de Mayenburg, L’Avare by Molière, Waiting for Godot by Beckett, Stück Plastik by Mayenburg, Mother Courageby Brecht, andLa voix humaine by Cocteau. He plans to work on Les cordonniers by Witkiewicz.
After studying music at the CNR in Metz, Régis Mengus was noticed by the management of the Opéra-Théâtre de Metz Métropole where he had the opportunity to make a debut in several productions. He was quickly employed by several French opera houses: Tours, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Théâtre de Caen. He sang in the roles of Danilo (Die lustige Witwe) at the Opéra de Nice and the Clock (L’enfant et les sortilèges) at the Opéra de Montpellier. He then began a more lyric repertoire singing in the roles of Karnac (Le roi d’Ys) at the Opéra de Saint-Etienne, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) and Marcello (La Bohème) at the Opéra de Reims, and Escamillo (Carmen) at the Opéra de Rennes. He has also sung Albert (Werther) at the Opéra du Rhin. Among his recent engagements and projects are the roles of Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) in Tours, Escamillo in Metz, and his debut in the title-role of Eugène Onéguine in Marseille. He will also sing the role of Mari (Les mamelles de Tirésias) and Ramiro (L’heure espagnole) in Oviedo.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Prince Danilo in Die lustige Witwe (2014), Mari in Les mamelles de Tirésias (2016), Valentin in Faust (2016) and the title-role in Hamlet (2017).
After studying interior design at the Ecole Boulle, Christophe Berry decided to turn towards lyric art. He made his debut as Gontran (Les mousquetaires au couvent) and as Camille de Rosillon (Die lustige Witwe). Since, he has been a regular guest at venues in France, such as the Opéra de Marseille, Opéra national de Lorraine, Bordeaux, Paris, Chorégies d’Orange and Opéra de Tours where he has sung in roles including Nicias (Thaïs), Il duca di Mantova (Rigoletto) and the Chevalier de la Force (Dialogues of the Carmelites). Among some of the roles he has sung are Tybalt (Roméo et Juliette) at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Gérald (Lakmé) in Cairo and in Santiago in Chile, Cassio (Otello) and the title-role of Fortunio at the Opéra de Rennes. His plans include Die Zauberflöte, I Puritani and L’Africaine at the Opéra de Marseille and the role of Faust in the concert version of La damnation de Faust in Saint-Etienne.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette (2011), the French military attaché in L’Aiglon (2013), Gérald in Lakmé (2013) and Camille, Count de Rosillon in Die lustige Witwe (2014).
For the first time at the Opéra de Lausanne.
François Lis was listed in the category Révélations aux Victoires de la Musique Classique in 2005. He studied in world-famous institutions, such as the Salzburg Mozarteum. François Lis has performed in the title-role of Nozze di Figaro and has sung Requiem by Mozart at the Opéra de Lyon with the Orchestre National de France. His interpretation of Marcel (Les Huguenots) at La Monnaie in 2011 was a magnificent success. In recent seasons we have heard him in Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (Honegger) with the Orchestre National de Lyon and in Roméo et Juliette (Berlioz) in Warsaw. In 2013, he made his debut at the Festival de Saint Denis in L’enfance du Christ, conducted by James Conlon. He lately sang in La naissance d’Osiris in Korea with Arts Florissants, in Orlando Paladino in Munich and as Zuniga (Carmen) at the Opéra de Paris. During the 2018-2019 season, he returned to Amsterdam (Oedipe) and Paris (Carmen). He sang as Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia) in Bordeaux, and Huascar and Don Alvaro (Les Indes Galantes) in Geneva.
After studying law, Alexandra Dobos-Rodriguez studied at the Toulouse Conservatory and at the HEMU in Lausanne, under Leontina Vaduva. She has performed Eurydice in Gluck’s opera, Venus in Orphée aux Enfers, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Madame Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmélites and Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. She performed at the gala honouring the 30 years of Leontina Vaduva’s career in Bucarest. She has received coaching from Jean-François Gardeil pour French mélodie and from Helmut Deutsch for Lied.
In the summer of 2017, she was chosen to take part in the Excellenz-Labor-Gesang, a two-week workshop directed by Hedwig Fassbender, René Massis, Enza Ferrari and Fausto Nardi. She is a recipient of the Pour-cent culturel Migros Foundation.
The Opéra de Lausanne Choir is a core group of about forty chorists who are, for the most part, students from singing or professional specialisation classes at the Lausanne Conservatory or other conservatories in Western Switzerland. Chorists are selected by audition and periodically reviewed. Choir directors are chosen from among the most experienced and vary for each performance.
The Opéra de Lausanne Choir is regularly hired by orchestras and festivals in Switzerland and abroad: Création by Haydn (December 2003 – conductor Jerzy Semkow) and Stabat Mater by Rossini (February 2006 – conductor Corrado Rovaris) as a part of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra season, Roland by Lully (concert version) at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, at the Opéra de Montpellier and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Bruxelles (January 2004 – Talens Lyriques orchestra – conductor Christophe Rousset), Die Entführung aus dem Serail concert version at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (January 2005), La grotta di Trofonio (concert version) at the Théâtre de Poissy (March 2005 – Talens Lyriques, conductor Christophe Rousset), Nocturnes by Debussy at the 2007 Montreux Septembre musical (RSO Berlin – conductor Marek Janowski).
In 2008 and 2010 the choir performed as part of the OCL season under the baton of Christian Zacharias: Te Deum by Bruckner (February 2008), Les Noces by Stravinski (December 2008, also in Saint-Gall) and Beethoven’s IXe Symphony (April 2010).
The Choir has also been on many tours with Opéra de Lausanne productions: Opéra de Vichy (Rigoletto in 2005, Il Turco in Italia in 2006, La veuve joyeuse in 2007, Carmen in 2008, Amelia al ballo in 2008 under the direction of Arie Van Beek and La Traviata in 2009 conducted by Roberto Rizzi Brignoli), Opéra Comique (Amelia al ballo by Menotti in March 2007). In October 2008, the Opéra de Lausanne and its choir toured Japan for five performances of Carmen.
The Opéra de Lausanne Choir is featured on several CDs: Le Nez by Chostakovitch, Roland by Lully and La grotta di Trofonio by Salieri. The Choir was also involved in televised performances on RTS of La fille de Madame Angot, La Belle Hélène and, for the reopening of the Opéra, L’elisir d’amore.
After obtaining a diploma in piano with Elisabeth Athanassova at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Genève, Jean-Philippe Clerc perfected his skills with Esther Yellin at the Neuhaus Foundation. During his studies, he also studied the harpsichord and fortepiano. Passionate about opera, it was quite natural that he turned to the accompaniment of singers. He has collaborated with various Professors and Directors such as Nathalie Stutzmann at the Geneva University of Music and Jean-François Sivadier.
He has also been a vocal conductor for the Fribourg Opera and the Avenches Opéra Festival. He currently works as a vocal conductor and pianist at the Opéra de Lausanne, as well as teaches the singing classes and the opera workshop at that Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne (HEMu). In addition to his institutional commitments, Jean-Philippe Clerc prepares many singers for their operatic or concert roles and regularly performs in recitals as an accompanist. Finally, as a maestro al Cembalo, he conducted Handel’s Alcina and Mozart’s Così fan tutte in Sion, both directed by Julie Beauvais and Pergolesi’s Serva Padrona, directed by Eric Vigié, a production of the Opéra de Lausanne that was on tour in Bhutan in November 2018. In addition, he was entrusted with the direction of the Chœur de l’Opéra de Lausanne during the performances of Simon Boccanegra by Verdi and Mam’zelle Nitouche by Hervé.