“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.
The Opéra de Lausanne thanks the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne for having authorized a video shooting on its premises.
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.
René Zahnd has been a theater and literature critic for many years and was assistant director of the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne alongside René Gonzalez. He has published some twenty plays that have been performed in Switzerland, France and West Africa. At the same time, he continues to work as a theater translator, most often in collaboration with Hélène Mauler. Recently, he has published a work devoted to Benno Besson, Le Savoir Suisse, a text for young audiences, Anacoluthe! (Actes Sud-Papier), a study of Ödön von Horváth (Ides et Calendes), as well as a play, La Moureuse (L’Âge d’Homme). In March 2023 his novel Le trésor des Manding will be published by Herodios.
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 having started studying piano at a very young age, and then singing in Metz, Régis Mengus made his stage debut at the Metz Opera. Since then, he has sung in many theaters, including the role of Danilo in Die lustige Wittwe at the Opéra de Nice, the Opéra de Reims, the Opéra de Lausanne and in Marseille. He played Marcello in La bohème at the Rheims Opera and the Metz Opera, Sharpless in Madame Butterfly at the Rheims Opera, the Husband in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, at the Oviedo Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival. He has also performed the role of Valentin in Faust at the Massy Opera and the Saint-Etienne Opera, the title role in Hamlet at the Lausanne Opera, Karnac in the King of Ys at the Saint-Etienne Opera and Escamillo in Carmen at the Rennes Opera and the Rhine Opera. More recently, he interpreted the role of Albert in Werther at the Opéra National du Rhin, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte at the Grand Théâtre de Tours, Phanor in The Queen of Sheba, Eugene Onegin at the Opéra de Marseille, Hoël in Dinorah ou le Pardon de Ploermel at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Schaunard in La bohème at the Opéra de Marseille, Bill in Quiet Place at the Opéra national de Paris, Ourias in Mireille at the Opéra de Metz. Among the artist’s projects, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte in Reims, Danilo in Die lustige Wittwe in Marseille, the Dancaïre in Carmen at the San Carlo in Naples.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: The Merry Widow (2014), Les Mamelles de Tirésias (2016), Faust (2016) and Hamlet (2017).
François Lis was nominated in the “Revelations” category at the Victoires de la musique classique in 2005. He has studied at world-renowned institutions such as the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He 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 performance as Marcel (Les Huguenots) at La Monnaie in 2011 was a remarkable success. In recent seasons, he has been heard 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 Festival de 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 returned to the Paris Opera as Zuniga (Carmen). During the 2018/19 season, he returns to Amsterdam (Œdipe) and Paris (Carmen). He 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 sing the role of Sethos in Mozart’s Thamos, König in Ägypten in concert with the Lille Orchestra.
After studying interior architecture at the Ecole Boulle, Christophe Berry studied piano and singing and then perfected his skills with Jean-Marie Siougos of the Paris Opera. He made his stage debut as Gontran in Les Mousquetaires au Couvent, and as Camille de Rosillon in Die lustige Witwe. Since then, he has been a regular guest on the major French stages, including the Opéra national de Bordeaux (Anna Bolena, Tristan und Isolde, Turandot, Siebel in Faust), the Opéra national de Lorraine (L’Etoile, Wozzeck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Gardefeu in La Vie parisienne, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos), at the Opéra de Marseille (Lucia di Lammermoor, Dialogues des Carmélites, Boris Godounov, Gioconda, Laërte in Hamlet), Opéra de Paris (Rigoletto), Festival des Chorégies d’Orange (Rigoletto and La traviata) and at the Opéra de Tours where he sings, among others, the roles of the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Nicias in Thaïs and the Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites. Other roles he has performed include Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (Operas in Tours, Lausanne, Monte Carlo and Muscat in Oman), Camille in Rosillon (operas in Tours, Marseille and Lausanne), Gérald in Lakmé (in Cairo, at the operas in Saint-Etienne, Lausanne and Santiago de Chile), Cassio in Otello (opera in Massy) and the title role of Fortunio (at the Operas in Limoges and Rennes).
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Romeo and Juliet (2011), L’Aiglon (2013), Lakmé (2013) and La veuve joyeuse (2014).
French-Romanian soprano, Alexandra Dobos-Rodriguez joins, after studying law, Leontina Vaduva’s singing class at the Haute école de musique de Lausanne where she obtains her master’s degree in June 2018. On stage, she has performed the roles of Cinderella in Pauline Viardot’s opera of the same name at the Opéra de Lausanne, the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte at the Nouvel Opéra Fribourg, Adele in Bellini’s Il Pirata and Nerine in Charpentier’s Médée at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. More recently, she was Violetta in Pontarlier and Pamina and Mimi at the Festival des Nuits musicales en Armagnac. Her career has allowed her to work with renowned conductors and directors (Sir David McVicar, Leonardo García Alarcón, Daniele Callegari) and to benefit from the teaching of great artists (Leontina Vaduva, Helmut Deutsch, Alexia Cousin, Brigitte Balleys, Thierry Pillon, Didier Laclau-Barrère). In 2017, she was selected to participate in the workshop “Exzellenzlabor Oper” under the direction of Hedwig Fassbender and René Massis in Germany. Alexandra is twice laureate of the Migros Cultural Percentage Foundation in 2017 and 2018.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Cinderella (2018).
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 was a member of the St. Gallen Theatre company, appearing as Mary in Der fliegende Holländer, Cieca in La Gioconda, Brigitta in Die tote Stadt, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Afra in La Wally, the second and third lady in Die Zauberflöte, Ramiro in La finta giardiniera, Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos, Olga in Eugene Onegin, and Fenena in Nabucco, among others. In 2015/16, she can be heard at the Leipzig Opera as Suzuki in Madama Butterﬂy, Flosshilde in Das Rheingold, Schwerleite in Die Walküre, Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress, the solo viola in Parsifal and the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Eugene Onegin (2022).
Anouk Molendijk, mezzo-soprano, is part of a new generation of artists who are inclined to question their practice and traditions in order to open them to new forms of expression. Passionate about 19th century poetry and contemporary theater, she obtained a master’s degree in modern French and comparative literature in Geneva in 2012. In June 2017, she obtained a master’s degree in vocal interpretation in Lausanne. She sang, among others, the roles of Jenny in Weill’s L’Opéra de Quat’sous (Théâtre du Galpon, 2013), the Child in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges (Métropole, Lausanne, 2014), Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw (Théâtre du Galpon), and Mrs. M. M. in The Witch of the Night (Théâtre du Galpon). Grose in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (Lausanne, 2014), Anna I in Weill’s Die sieben Todsünden (Geneva), Erika Mann / Renée Schwarzenbach in Le Ruisseau noir by Guy-François Leuenberger and Elsa Rooke (Théâtre du Grütli, 2015) and more recently, Bianca in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia with the Proteus Ensemble at the Théâtre du Grütli and Une compagne de l’Infante in Zemlinsky’s Le Nain at the Opéra de Lille with the Ensemble Ictus and at the Opéra de Rennes. In the contemporary repertoire, she performed the role of Die Dunkle Dame in Reimann’s Die Gespenstersonate with the Ensemble Contrechamps in May 2014, and then was invited to sing Auf die ruhige Nacht-Zeit by Klaus Huber. She is currently continuing her training with Malcolm Walker and Luisa Castellani.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Cinderella (2018).
The French-Italian soprano Elisabeth Montabone began her musical career as a violinist and obtained a diploma of musical studies with honors. She then studied opera singing and obtained a master’s degree in concert at the Haute école de musique de Lausanne in 2022. She made her debut at the Opéra de Lausanne as the Siren in Handel’s Rinaldo in 2021, as well as in the chorus. In Italy, she sang the title role in Handel’s Alcina at the Opera Academy of Saluzzo. With the “Ian Donald Wilson” scholarship, she sang the role of Nero in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Rinaldo (2021).
Born in Lebanon, Mohamed pursued his musical studies in Switzerland at the Geneva and Lausanne music schools with Marcin Habela and Stephan MacLeod. He made his debut at the Lausanne Opera as Ramirez in La Belle de Cadiz by Francis Lopez. Among the roles he has played on stage: Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, John Sorel in Menotti’s Le Consul as well as various roles in contemporary opera creations.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: La Belle de Cadix (2016), Les contes d’Hoffmann (2019).
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 Hoch-schule-Musik in Lucerne. With his various ensembles, he explores the great works, from Monteverdi’s Vespers and Bach’s Mass in B to Britten’s War Requiem and Favre’s Requiem. He has also premiered numerous new works (Mettraux, Charrière, Michel, Haselbach, Rütti, Flury). Pascal Mayer collaborates regularly with the OCL, the OCF, the Sinfonietta de Lausanne as well as with early music ensembles. He regularly prepares choirs for the Opéra de Lausanne and for Lyrica in Neuchâtel.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Ariodante (2006), Don Giovanni (2017), Die Zauberflöte (2015), La Clemenza di Tito (2018), Così fan tutte (2018).
Nina Wetzel graduated from Esat in Paris in 1995 and has designed sets, costumes and installations for numerous European theaters, opera houses and museums. She has collaborated with directors and artists such as Christoph Schlingensief, Thomas Ostermeier, Stefan Pucher, Peter van Poehl and Marie Modiano, Marius von Mayenburg, the Zentrum für politische Schönheit and Bush Moukarzel & Ben Kidd (Deadcenter). For Thomas Ostermeier, she designed among others the sets and costumes for : The Wedding of Maria Braun, The Demons, Return to Rheims, History of Violence and Twelfth Night as well as the costumes for An Enemy of the People and Hamlet. For Christoph Schlingensief she created the concepts for the stage designs and installations for 7 Tage Notruf für Deutschland, 7X, Ausländer Raus, Hotel Prora and Chance 2000. For Marius von Mavenburg she designed sets and costumes for Stück Plastik, Peng, Lehmann Brothers and Call me God. For Deadcenter she designed sets and costumes for Die Traumdeutung / Freund, Alles was der Fall ist / Wittgenstein and Bählamms Fest. She has worked for Documenta X, the Berlin Volksbühne, the Folkwang Museum Essen, the Schauspielhaus Hamburg, the Schaubühne Berlin, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the Wiener Festwochen, the Théâtre de Vidy, the Burgtheater Vienna, the Ruhrtriennale, the Dramaten Stockholm, the Festival d’Avignon, the Théâtre de la Ville, the Centre Pompidou, and the Comédie-Française.
In 1980, Mireille Dessingy opened a workshop in Geneva for the creation and realization of stage costumes for opera, theater, dance and circus. From Russia to Avignon, from Berlin to Lausanne, passing through Tokyo and Italy, she signs opera costumes, notably in Saint Petersburg. She creates objects for museums. Concerned with the transmission of knowledge, she set up in 2013 the first association of costume designers in French-speaking Switzerland. Winner of the 2015 prize for craftsmanship in Geneva.
Sébastien Dupouey is a video artist, set designer and director. A graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, he has been living in Berlin since 2008. He creates visual and scenic installations for theater, opera, the music scene and European museums. In addition to his collaborations with Thomas Ostermeier, notably on King Lear, Hamlet, The Marriage of Maria Braun, The Demons, Return to Reims, Who Killed My Father? or Vernon Subutex, Sébastien Dupouey has accompanied the creations of other internationally renowned artists such as Falk Richter, Marius von Mayenburg, Simon McBurney, Dead Center, Stefan Pucher, Mikael Serre, Germaine Acogny, Herbert Groenemeyer, Peter von Poehl… He has worked for the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, the Gorki Theater, the Deutsche Oper, the Théâtre de la Ville, the Festival d’Avignon, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Opéra national de Lorraine, the Opéra de Dijon, the Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, the Ruhrtriennale, the Schweizerische Nationalmuseum, the Théâtre des Nations in Moscow, the Dramaten Stockholm, the Residenztheater in Munich, the Münchner Kammerspiele, and the Burgtheater in Vienna. In parallel, Sébastien Dupouey has given lectures on his work and leads visual arts workshops, notably at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, as well as in Berlin at the Universität der Kunst, the Freie Universität and the Ernst Busch Hochschule für Schauspielkunst.
Laurent Junod started manipulating light very early. With his bachelor’s degree in hand, he trained in various theaters in French-speaking Switzerland. A stay in New York allowed him to work as an assistant with renowned American lighting designers, including Ken Billington, James Ingalls and Chenault Spence. For more than twenty years, he has regularly collaborated with directors (Denis Maillefer, Andréa Novicov, Gianni Schneider, Joan Mompart, Anne Bisang, Valentin Rossier), choreographers (Kylie Walters, Philippe Saire, Fabienne Berger) and musicians (Pascal Auberson, Piano Seven, Stéphane Blok). It is at the dawn of the year 2000 that he begins his work in the museum world. He designed the lighting for temporary and permanent exhibitions, an activity he continues today in several institutions. He then met the architects of the Deillon-Delley office who entrusted him with the lighting design of the Saint-Luc neighborhood house in Lausanne, after which they worked together on the renovation and transformation of the stations of the Fribourg railway network. The lighting projects extend to all scales, from the private villa, to the renovation of listed buildings, to the planning of urban lighting.
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 made his first professional experience with the Compagnie Buissonnière in Parce que je t’aime, presented at the Théâtre de Vidy-Lausanne. 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 Madame 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 choreographies of My fair Lady at the Opéra de Marseille, Un ballo in maschera at the Opéra de Nancy and Tannhäuser at the Opéra national de Lyon. He currently devotes himself to the creation of choreographies, plays and stage productions.
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), L’auberge du Cheval Blanc (2019) and Dédé (Route Lyrique 2021), My Fair Lady (2022) and Davel (2023)