Celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Jacques Offenbach by opening the season with the most serious of the pieces composed by the master of comic opera. As Offenbach died while it was being rehearsed, Les contes d’Hoffmann remained unfinished. The work thus floats in a glorious feeling of infinity, leaving free course to interpretation and lifting its creator to the promising rank of opera composer. How was this German composer able to triumph on the French scene, becoming in just a few years ‘King of the Second Empire’ before finding success on a worldwide scale? For the story, Offenbach returns to the romantic universe of E.T.A. Hoffman, author, artist and composer with an eventful life. Does this dreamlike world, populated by ghosts of a dangerously recent past, memories and fleeting images not also reflect the intimate life of Offenbach in person or, in short, the artist? We must in any case believe that the musical imagination of the young comic opera cellist beautified the airs he heard from the orchestra pit to become the genius we know today.
Fantasy Opera in five acts
Libretto by Jules Barbier based on the eponymous play by Jules Barbieret, Michel Carré, based on E.T.A. Hoffmann
First performance at the Opéra Comique, Paris, February 10, 1881
Editions Choudens (by Ernest Guiraud), Paris and Editions Bärenreiter (by Fritz Oeser), Kassel
Jean-François Borras performs today in the most important international theaters. He has performed with great success as the Chevalier des Grieux (Manon) at the Paris Opera, in Valencia and at the Vienna Staatsoper, as well as Raimbaut in Robert le Diable and Nabucco at Covent Garden, as the Chevalier de la Force (Dialogues des Carmélites) at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and as Macduff (Macbeth) at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. He performed at the Vienna Staatsoper in La Traviata, La bohème, Faust and Werther, as well as in Lakmé in Toulon, Un ballo in maschera in Munich, Thaïs in Sao Paulo, Béatrice et Bénédict at the Matsumoto Festival, Lucia di Lammermoor in Avignon. Jean-François Borras replaced Jonas Kaufmann in the title role of Werther at the Metropolitan Opera and will return for La bohème, Rigoletto, Werther and Thaïs. He sings under the direction of Alain Guingal, Evelino Pidò, Daniel Oren, Patrick Fournillier, Daniele Calegari, Fabrizio Carminati, and Michel Plasson.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Die Fledermaus (2018) and Les contes d’Hoffmann (2019).
For the first time at the Opéra de Lausanne.
After completing her studies at the Conservatoire National de Paris, Vannina Santoni made her debut in the role of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) in Italy and in Versailles. She then premiered as Patricia Baer in Les pigeons d’argile by Hurel at the Théâtre du Capitole, and sang Suor Angelica and Lauretta in Il Trittico by Puccini, Donna Anna at the Oper Köln and Juliet (Roméo et Juliette) in Hong Kong. She successfully took on the title-role in Manon at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and more recently sang Princess Saamcheddine (Mârouf) in Bordeaux, Agnès (La nonne sanglante) at the Opéra Comique and Violetta (La Traviata) at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, a performance which was praised by both critics and audience. Her recent commitments and projects include singing as Nanetta (Falstaff) at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, as Juliet at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and as Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), her first time in this role, at the Opéra de Paris. Among her numerous other projects are the Countess (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Adina (L’elisir d’amore) at the Théâtre du Capitole.
Director of the Opera and the Regional Symphony Orchestra in Tours from 1999 to 2016, Jean-Yves Ossonce has been the guest conductor of numerous opera houses and orchestras in Europe, across the Atlantic, in South Korea and in China. He has recorded works by Magnard, Massenet and Ropartz, among others. His activity was distinguished in 2008 and 2014 by the Syndicat de la critique musicale et dramatique (“best lyrical performance in the region”). In 2016, he received the Grand Prix de la Presse musicale internationale for his entire career. He is a knight of the Legion of Honor.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Così fan tutte (2006), Monsieur de Pourceaugnac (2007), Madama Butterfly (2009), L’Aiglon (2013), Faust (2016) and Les contes d’Hoffmann (2019).
In search of a rigorous aesthetic and conceptual unity for a theater founded on all the arts, Stefano Poda has always developed his own language by combining the functions of director, set and costume designer, lighting designer, as well as choreographer. In 2019, he received the Claude Rostand Prize for his production of Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (Dukas) at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. He has directed more than 100 productions worldwide, including: the new production of Tosca (2021) at the Bolshoi in Moscow; Nabucco, opening at the National Theatre of Korea in 2021 and at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (2020/22); Romeo and Juliet (2018) at the NCPA in Beijing; Boris Godunov (2017) and Andrea Chénier (2015) at the National Opera of Korea; Mahler’s Fosca and Titan at the São Paulo Municipal Theater (2016); L’elisir d’amore in Strasbourg (2016); Otello in Budapest (2015); Tristan und Isolde at the opening of the 77th Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. His Faust (2015), Turandot (2018) (DVD C Major) and Thaïs (DVD and Blu-ray Arthaus) at the Teatro Regio in Turin, have been released in cinemas around the world.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Ariodante and Faust (2016), Lucia de Lammermoor (2017, broadcast by Arte TV), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (2019) and Alcina (2022)
For the first time at the Opéra de Lausanne.
Beate Ritter is an Austrian soprano, member of the Staatsoper Stuttgart troupe, where she recently sang as Gilda, Musetta, Zerbinetta and Olympia. Comfortable in operetta as well as in opera, she sang for eight years in the Vienna Volksoper Ensemble. She has also performed in numerous operas and international festivals, such as the Glyndebourne Festival, and at the Dallas Opera, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Oper Leipzig, Oper Köln, Komische Oper Berlin, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Malmö Opera, Opéra national de Lorraine, and Angers Nantes Opéra. She has performed in concert singing the solo parts of Bach’s passions and cantatas, in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Handel’s masses and Mozart’s religious works and concert arias for coloratura soprano. Her Lieder repertoire includes works by Schubert, Wolf, Reger, Strauss, Kagel and Reimann.
For the first time at the Opéra de Lausanne.
Géraldine Chauvet came from the Jeunes Voix du Rhin to make her international debut in 2009 at the Arena di Verona in the role of Carmen (F. Zeffirelli), conducted by Plácido Domingo, who invited her to sing the final Carmen-Don José duet with him at the Gala Domingo in Tokyo. She was applauded in New York at the Avery Fisher Hall as Adriano (Rienzi), then Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) at the Metropolitan Opera. Her broad repertoire includes Adalgisa (Norma), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Carmen (title-role), Charlotte (Werther), Mère Marie de l’Incarnation (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Kostelnicka (Jenufa), Gertrude (Hamlet), Laura (La Gioconda), Elvira and Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Santuzza (Cavalleria rusticana), and world premieres in Il Postino in Vienna with Plácido Domingo, as well as Charlotte Salomon by M. A. Dalbavie in Salzburg in a performance directed by Luc Bondy. She recently sang Nicklausse (Les contes d’Hoffmann) at the Metropolitan Opera, and Carmen and Nabucco at the Arena di Verona. Her future plans involve Nabucco, Carmen and Don Giovanni, and a gala concert in Verona with Plácido Domingo.
Nicolas Courjal studied with Jane Berbié. He made his debut in the prominent Verdi roles (including Fiesco, Philippe II and Miller) in Marseille. On several occasions he has sung Méphistophélès by Berlioz and sang as König Marke for the first time in Bordeaux, Gessler (Guillaume Tell) in Monaco and London, where he also sang as Le Grand Prêtre (Oedipe by Enesco). He sang Don Inigo (L’heure espagnole) at the Opéra de Paris and made his debut in 4 diables in the Contes d’Hoffmann in Monaco, and Bertram (Robert le Diable) at the La Monnaie. At the same time, he has performed in baroque pieces such as L’Orfeo by Monteverdi in Lausanne and Zoroastre by Rameau, and participated in several world premieres. He has appeared at festival venues including Macerata, Beaune, Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence and Pesaro. He has performed with several orchestras: the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, the RTVE Symphony Orchestra in Madrid, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the Orchestre National de Lyon, conducted by François-Xavier Roth, Alain Altinoglu, Michel Plasson, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Vladimir Spivakov, Antonio Pappano, Marc Minkowski and Raphaël Pichon. Among his recordings feature Carmen, Herculanum by Félicien David and Les Troyens by Berlioz. At the Opéra de Lausanne: Caronte, Plutone, Un pastore in L’Orfeo (2016), and Il conte Rodolfo in La Sonnambula (2018).
Carine Séchaye is a mezzo-soprano. She obtained her singing and acting diplomas at the Geneva Conservatory and then perfected her skills at the Zurich International Opera Studio. A recipient of numerous scholarships, she is also the winner of international competitions, including the prestigious Operalia de Placido Domingo. She performs in the roles of Cherubino, Dorabella, Mélisande, Octavian, Mercédès, Rosine, Orlovsky, Berta, Bersi, Sméraldine, la Périchole, Siebel, Sesto, Mallika, l’Enfant, l’Aiglon, Carmen, Stefano, Tebaldo…
He has been heard in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Oman and Japan both in concert and on the opera stages.
Recently, she was in Marseille for La Traviata, followed by Biel and Solothurn for Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) and at the Grand Théâtre de Genève where she recently performed Mercedes in Carmen and Wellgunde (Rheingold and Götterdämmerung). Next she’ll be singing in St. Gallen and Nice in works by Offenbach and Mozart.
At the Opéra de Lausanne : Tom Jones (2006), Le directeur de théâtre (2006), La canterina (2006), Le nozze di Figaro (2007), Carmen (2008), Hansel et Gretel (2014), Faust (2016).
Trained in China, Qiulin Zhang won the grand prize at the Voix lyriques Marmande competition and continued her training at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris with Andréa Guiot and Jacques Doucet. She performed in France, Dublin, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Munich, at the Reiseopera, in Lausanne, at the Avenches Festival, and at La Monnaie in Brussels. But it was at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse that she took part in several landmark productions: Médée, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Das Rheingold, Siegfried and Die Götterdämmerung, Die Frau ohne Schatten, OEdipe, Die Zauberflöte, Les Dialogues des Carmélites. A true contralto, Qiulin Zhang is particularly associated with the role of Erda in Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Capitole (directed by Nicolas Joël), at the Châtelet in Paris (directed by Bob Wilson), at the Opéra Bastille (directed by Günter Krämer). At the Beijing Opera, she interpreted the roles of Ulrica (Un ballo in maschera), Filipievna (Eugene Onegin) and Azucena (Il trovatore). She also participated in a premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Solaris at the Cologne Opera and premiered Bright Cheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber in San Francisco, which she revived at the Hong Kong Festival.
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Les contes d’Hoffmann (2019).
Alexandre Diakoff won first prize for singing in the class of Eric Tappy at the Geneva Conservatory of Music. He regularly performs character roles in opera. He has performed Amida (L’Ormindo), Simone (La finta semplice), Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola), Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Bruschino père (Il signor Bruschino), Slook (La cambiale di matrimonio), Benedict (La bohème), the doctor Grenvil (La traviata), the doctor (The Nose), Amantio di Nicolao and Maestro Spinelloccio (Gianni Schicchi). As an oratorio singer, he has interpreted the great works of the repertoire. At the Opéra de Lausanne: Le Chat botté (2009), Monsieur Choufleuri (Route Lyrique 2012), Le Petit Prince (2014), La Cenerentola (2015), My fair Lady (2015), La Fille du régiment (2016), Hamlet (2017), Les Zoocrates (2017), Simon Boccanegra (2018) and Le nozze di Figaro (2021).
Mohamed Haidar obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the American University of Beirut, before starting musical studies at his country’s National Conservatory. He continued his musical studies at the Lyon Conservatory and then at the Geneva Haute école de musique, in the class of Marcin Habela. During his training, he was awarded a scholarship from the Colette Mosetti Foundation. He is currently pursuing a concert master at the Haute école de musique de Lausanne in the class of Stephan MacLeod. At the Opéra de Lausanne, he made his debut as Ramirez in Francis Lopez’s La belle de Cadiz – Route lyrique (2016), before singing Sergent des douanes in La bohème (2017).
At the Opéra de Lausanne: Hermann / Schlemil in Les contes d’Hoffmann (2019).
French tenor Jean Miannay studied singing with Brigitte Balleys at the HEMU and with Scot Weier at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. His first roles were at the Opéra de Lausanne. In September 2021, he performed Ferrando in Così fan tutte in Lausanne and Fribourg, in a co-production between the HEMU and the HEM-Genève. He made his French stage debut in 2020 as Beppe in Pagliacci at the Opéra du Grand Avignon – a production repeated at the Opéra de Vichy, Clermont-Ferrand and the Festival de Saint-Céré. In 2020 he also appeared in the “Magic Night” performed for the first time at the Chorégies d’Orange. He was invited back the following year for a recital entitled “Emerging Scene”. He is expected to appear as Isepo in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda in 2022.
At the Opéra de Lausanne he has performed in : Cendrillon de Pauline Viardot (2018), Les contes d’Hoffmann (2019), Rinaldo (2020), L’auberge du Cheval Blanc (2021) and Semiramide (2022).
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.
Trained at the Aix-en-Provence Conservatory, where he made his debut under the baton of Darius Milhaud, Patrick Marie Aubert won first prize in orchestral conducting in the class of Pierre Villette. He also received a prize in singing and in opera, as well as in chamber music. He taught choral singing before becoming the director of the Léo Delibes Conservatory in Clichy, artistic director of the vocal ensemble Vox Hominis, musical director of the Divertimento orchestra and conductor of the Choirs of the Opéra de Nantes, and director of the Choir of the French Army until 2000.
He participated for nearly twenty years in major national events and conducted numerous concerts in France and abroad. He was the conductor of the Choir du Capitole de Toulouse from 2003 to 2009, then director of the Choir of the Opéra national de Paris from 2009 to 2014. He has collaborated with the conductors Maurizio Arena, Serge Baudo, Roberto Benzi, Marc Minkowski, Evelino Pidò, Michel Plasson, Georges Prêtre, Yutaka Sado, Jeffrey Tate, as well as with the directors Robert Carsen, Georges Lavaudant, Jorge Lavelli, Laurent Pelly, Pier Luigi Pizzi, Olivier Py, Robert Wilson. He will direct the choir on Orfeo ed Euridice (2019) at the Opéra de Lausanne, and will be the conductor for the exceptional concert of the Choir of the Opéra de Lausanne in February 2020.