“Here Davel gave his life for his country. 24 April 1723. These are the words that the walker can read on the monument erected in Vidy in memory of the famous major, on the very spot where the Bernese gallows where he was beheaded stood. What remains today of this martyred figure who became a legend in 1803 with the independence of Vaud and was subsequently elevated to the rank of icon halfway between history and folklore by countless publications and events? Three hundred and fifty years after his birth in Morrens, the Opéra de Lausanne asked two artists from the canton of Vaud to capture this charismatic figure and to make him resonate in words and notes for today’s audience. After three years of work, they are ready to reveal the doubts and certainties of his struggle, together with the key characters of his tragedy: the Bernese Ludwig von Wattenwyl, the high commander of the Pays de Vaud in charge of the investigation against him, friend and traitor Jean-Daniel de Crousaz, who denounced him to the Bernese authorities, and the Belle Inconnue, a fleeting, luminous incarnation of his mystical visions which are at the heart of the revelation of his destiny. An artistic and historical journey that the spectator is invited to extend through the reading of a book devoted to the genesis of the creation and the dramatic and musical evolution of the figure of Davel through the centuries.
Christian Favre is a Swiss-born musician with a triple career as a pianist, teacher and composer. He has performed in recitals, in chamber music and with orchestras throughout Europe, under the direction of Armin Jordan, Franz Welser Möst, Tibor Varga and Jesús López Cobos. He has also performed with, among others, François Guye, Tedi Papavrami, Pierre Amoyal and Raphaël Oleg. As the pianist for the Schumann Quartet from 1996 to 2016, he has given numerous concerts and performances. Since 1985 he has been a professor at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne and regularly gives master classes. Christian Favre is the author of chamber music works as well as a Requiem premiered in Buenos Aires in 2008. On this subject, let us quote François Hudry, producer at France Musique: “Christian Favre is a romantic, passionate and tormented musician. He tries to resolve the tensions between the fear of death and serenity, between a dodecaphonism with tonal roots and polytonality”. Or Thierry Dagon in the Revue musicale suisse: “His Requiem is a deeply moving page. With its refined writing and its sure craftsmanship, this is a score that is unquestionably to be placed alongside the great requiems of history. His latest creation to date is the Quintet for clarinet and strings in March 2022.
Long-time theatre and literature critic, René Zahnd worked at the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne from 1999 to 2013, where he was joint director alongside René Gonzalez. He has published some 20 plays that have been performed on various stages in Switzerland, France and West Africa. At the same time, René Zahnd continues to work as a theatre translator, most often in collaboration with Hélène Mauler. Among his recent achievements in the field of theatre are the following: a book about the theatre-maker Benno Besson (Le Savoir Suisse, 2019), a text for young audiences (Anacoluthe!, Actes Sud-Papier), a book about playwright Ödön von Horváth (Ides et Calendes), and a play, La Moureuse, directed by Gianni Schneider (L’Âge d’Homme).
A director of German origin on his father’s side and Italian on his mother’s, Gianni Schneider is based in Lausanne. He has worked as an assistant to Giorgio Strehler in Milan, to Matthias Langhoff in Paris and Lausanne, to Maurice Béjart in Lausanne, and as an assistant and playwright to Thomas Ostermeier in Berlin. In the 1990s, together with several directors from Lausanne, he founded the Pull Off Théâtre collective, creating shows for the Festival de la Cité such as Hôtel O – l’érotisme au théâtre and The Seven Deadly Sins. With his own theatre company, he has created L’Envie by Christophe Gallaz and the Compagnie professionnelle de théâtre Gianni Schneider in October 1988. He has directed some 30 plays, which have been produced in the most prestigious theatres in Switzerland. In 1989, the company received the Prix théâtre de la Fondation pour la Culture de l’Etat de Vaud. A book was dedicated to him in 1990 (En toute Liberté) and all his shows were published in 2010 by Editions Favre. He created La Moureuse (2019), an autobiographical story composed of dialogues between the actor and his mother, written by René Zahnd. In November 2021, he co-produced a new version of The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov at the Théâtre Kléber-Méleau and is now working on his new project The Shoemakers by Witkiewicz, scheduled for spring 2023.
Particularly attached to the works of Berlioz, Mahler, Strauss, Debussy, Ravel and Boulez, with a rare eclecticism, Daniel Kawka conducts works of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Director of the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain until 2019 and of the Ose! Symphony Orchestra, he is regularly invited to conduct in the greatest theatres such as La Monnaie in Brussels, Teatro La Fenice, the Rome Opera, the Seoul National Opera, the St Petersburg Philharmonic, as well as French and European symphony orchestras such as the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre national de France, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Icelandic National Orchestra, as well as the Athens, RAI, Warsaw, Moscow and Shanghai orchestras. He has conducted some 30 operas since 2009, in stage or concert versions (including the Ring, Tristan und Isolde, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Dialogues des Carmélites, Così fan tutte, Turandot, Bluebeard’s Castle, Rodrigue and Chimène, Ariadne and Bluebeard, Pelléas et Mélisande, Maria Republica, Eugène Onéguine, Der Rosenkavalier, Salomé, Fando and Lis), and created a dozen or so contemporary works. Passionate about voice and sound, it is this sensitive alchemy that he seeks, in the service of the unique expressiveness of sound and poetry. He is the current artistic and musical director of the Léman Lyriques Festival, whose first three editions, straddling France and Switzerland, were devoted respectively to Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, while the most recent focused on Pushkin and Russian opera.
At the Opéra de Lausanne, he has directed : Le Vase de parfums (2005), Les Mamelles de Tirésias (2016) and La Gaîté parisienne (2016).
After starting to study the piano at a very young age, and then singing in Metz, Régis Mengus made his debut on stage at the Metz Opera. He then sang at many theatres where he took on, amongst others, the role of Danilo (The Merry Widow) at the Nice Opera, the Reims Opera, the Lausanne Opera and in Marseille, Marcello (La bohème) at the Reims Opera and the Metz Opera, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) at the Reims Opera, the Husband (Les Mamelles de Tirésias), Valentin (Faust) and the title role of Hamlet at the Opéra de Lausanne, Karnac (Le Roi d’Ys) at the Opéra de Saint-Etienne, Escamillo (Carmen) at the Opéra de Rennes. More recently, he interpreted the role of Valentin at the Opéra de Massy and the Opéra de Saint-Etienne, Albert (Werther) at the Opéra national du Rhin, Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) at the Grand Théâtre de Tours, Escamillo at the Opéra de Metz, Phanor (Reine de Saba), Eugène Onegin at the Opéra de Marseille, Hoël (Dinorah ou le Pardon de Ploermel) at the Deutsche Oper de Berlin, the Husband and Ramiro (L’heure espagnole) at the Opéra d’Oviedo, Schaunard (La bohème) at the Opéra de Marseille, Escamillo at the Opéra du Rhin. His projects include Bill (Quiet Place) at the Opéra national de Paris, Ourias (Mireille) at the Opéra de Metz, Le Mari at the Glyndebourne Festival.
At the Opéra de Lausanne, he has performed in: The Merry Widow (2014), Les Mamelles de Tirésias (2016), Faust (2016) and Hamlet (2017).
François Lis was nominated in the category “Re- velations” at the Victoires de la Musique Classique in 2005. He studied at world renowned institutions such as the Mozarteum in Salzburg and sang the title role in Les Nozze di Figaro and Mozart’s Requiem at the Opéra de Lyon with the Orchestre National de France. His portrayal of Marcel (Les Huguenots) at La Mon- naie in 2011 was a remarkable success. In recent seasons he has appeared in Honegger’s Jeanne au bûcher with the Orchestre national de Lyon and in Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette in Warsaw. In 2013, he made his debut at the Saint-Denis in L’Enfance du Christ, conducted by James Conlon. Recently, he sang La Naissance d’Osiris in Korea with Les Arts Florissants, Orlando Paladino in Munich and Zuniga (Carmen) at the Opera de Paris. During the 2018/19 season he returned to Amsterdam (Oedipus) and Paris (Carmen); and sang Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia) in Bordeaux, and Huascar and Don Alvaro (Les Indes galantes) in Geneva. During the 2021/22 season, he will play the role of Sethos in Mozart’s Thamos, König in Ägypten in concert with the Lille Orchestra.
After studying interior architecture at the École Boulle, Christophe Berry turned to opera. He made his debut as Gontran (Les Mousquetaires au Couvent) and Camille de Rosillon (La veuve joyeuse). Since then, he has been a regular guest on French stages, including the Opéra de Marseille, the Opéra national de Lorraine, Bordeaux, Paris, the Chorégies d’Orange and the Opéra de Tours, where he sang, among others, the roles of Nicias (Thaïs), Il Duca di Mantova (Rigoletto) and the Chevalier de la Force (Dialogues des Carmélites). Other roles include Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet – Opéra de Lausanne and Monte Carlo), Gérald (Lakmé – Cairo, Lausanne and Santiago de Chile Opera), Cassio (Otello), the title role of Fortunio (Rennes Opera), and more recently Cavara- dossi (Tosca) in Marmande and with “Opéra en plein Air” at Les Invalides, Die Zauberflöte and I Puritani at the Opéra de Marseille, Jean (La Vierge by Massenet) at Saint-Etienne, the Steuermann (Der fliegende Holländer) at the Opéra de Massy Among his projects: Il Conte di Lerma (Don Carlo) at the Opéra de Marseille.
At the Opéra de Lausanne, has performed in: Romeo and Juliet (2011), L’Aiglon (2013), Lakmé (2013) and La veuve joyeuse (2014).
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.
Born in Munich, Susanne Gritschneder began her training with Veronika Castiglione. She later joined the class of Elisabeth Glauser at the Bern University of Music, where she obtained her teaching and concert diplomas with honors and furthered her studies in master classes with Brigitte Fassbaender, Thomas Hampson and Wolfram Rieger. Since 2016 she has been living with her family in Lausanne. She made her stage debut at the Stadttheater Freiburg in 2010 in The Cunning Little Vixen. She then played Linette in Prokoﬁev’s The Love of Three Oranges at the Grand Théâtre de Genève and participated in Heiner Goebbels’ production of John Cage’s Europeras I&II at the Ruhr Triennale 2012. From 2012 to 2018, she is a member of the troupe of the Theater St. Gallen, playing Mary (Der fliegende Holländer), Cieca (La Gioconda), Brigitta (Die Tote Stadt), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Afra (La Wally), the second and third lady (Die Zauberflöte), Ramiro (La finta giardiniera), Dryad (Ariadne auf Naxos), Olga (Eugene Onegin) and Fenena (Nabucco). During the 2015/16 season, made her debut at the Leipzig Opera, where she was heard as Suzuki (Madama Butterﬂy), Flosshilde (Das Rheingold), Schwerleite (Die Walküre), Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress), the solo viola in Parsifal, and the Third Lady.
The Opéra de Lausanne Choir is young, made up of students of singing from Lausanne’s University of Music and the Geneva HEM, and professional singers. Its members are selected by audition and periodically reheard. For each opera, they are distributed depending on their voice and/or aptitudes. Thanks mainly to their talent on stage, supported by an infectious enthusiasm, they are highly appreciated by all the theatre directors invited. For a few years the choir has benefitted from preparation by several experienced choir masters from different backgrounds, chosen depending on the works being sung and their specific interest.
Pascal Mayer conducts the Pro Arte Choir of Lausanne, the Chamber Choir of the University of Fribourg and the Collegium Musicum of Lucerne. For a long time he was in charge of teaching music at the Collège Sainte-Croix in Fribourg, and today he teaches choral conducting at the Hochschule-Musik in Lucerne. With his various ensembles, he explores the great works, from Monteverdi’s Vespers to Britten’s and Favre’s War Requiem. He has also premiered numerous new works (Mettraux, Charrière, Michel, Haselbach, Rütti, Flury). Pascal Mayer regularly collaborates with the OCL, the OCF, the Sinfonietta de Lausanne as well as early music ensembles. At the Opéra de Lausanne, he prepared the choirs for Die Zauberflöte (2015), La Cenerentola (2015), Don Giovanni (2017), and La clemenza di Tito (2018).
Jean-Philippe Guilois entered the National School of the Paris Opera in 1997 and then joined the Rudra Béjart School, with which he participated in several shows and international tours. He had his first professional experience with the Compagnie Buissonnière in Parce que je t’aime, presented at the Théâtre de Vidy. While multiplying his contracts as a dancer, he was introduced to the world of opera as a stage manager, and then became assistant director for La bohème, Nabucco, Carmen and Madama Butterfly at the Avenches Opera Festival, L’Aiglon and La Traviata at the Opéra de Marseille, Armide and Cendrillon at the Opéra de Nancy, Falstaff at the Opéra de Montpellier. Recently, he created the choreography for My Fair Lady at the Opéra de Marseille and Un ballo in maschera for the Opéra de Nancy, Opera Zuid and Angers-Nantes Opéra. He currently devotes himself to the creation of choreographies, plays and stagings.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Alcina (2011), My Fair Lady (2015), La vie parisienne (2016), Don Giovanni (2017), Così fan tutte (2018), Les chevaliers de la Table ronde (Route Lyrique 2019) and staging and choreography of Dédé (Route Lyrique 2021).