© Pieter Claes

Herr Direktor, wir haben Permission: Der Schauspieldirektor at La Monnaie

Good news for Mozart lovers: February is Mozart month at La Monnaie! For a whole month, a bunch of the maestro’s brilliant works are on the (online) programme. KVS is taking part in this too, because on February 19th the live streaming of Der Schauspieldirektor is scheduled. A burlesque mini opera, in a concept of Michael De Cock and Fabrice Murgia (artistic director at Théâtre National).

Together with Alain Altinoglu, conductor at La Monnaie, they give a modern twist to this opera while still maintaining the original cleverness of the story. Mozart himself called it a “comedy with music in one act.” Additionally, this opera is a great opportunity to see three fierce women at work again: singers Ana Naqe and Emma Posman and dancer Nadine Baboy also performed in L’Homme de La Mancha, a KVS production together with La Monnaie and Théâtre de Liège.

Der Schauspieldirektor: compromise à la Belge?

Mozart’s opera Der Schauspieldirektor premiered in February 1786 in Vienna. He made the hour-long Singspiel for emperor Joseph II of Habsburg. The emperor had wanted to set up a competition to determine which genre people preferred: the German Singspiel or the Italian opera buffa. Salieri’s opera Prima la musica e poi le parole (‘First the music and then the words’) ended up being the most popular of the two. The two genres are not all that different, as they are both one-acters revolving around the same theme. The story has a fixed structure: a new opera is to be performed, and two female singers bicker to be involved in the opera. Eventually, an agreement is reached and everyone ends up getting their way.

The storyline of Der Schauspieldirektor is no different. Two impresarios are looking for a cast for their next opera. After giving multiple auditions, they choose two singers to join them. However, the singers are divided on who will get the leading role. Neither of them wants to earn less than the other after all. The argument comes to a head when one of the impresarios threatens to stop the production. This shuts everyone up, and the cast comes to an agreement. All’s well that ends well?

Podcast

On February 4th La Monnaie launched their new podcast Weerklanken/Résonances, in which they are in search of the stories surrounding the operas of La Monnaie. In the first episode you can hear Michael De Cock in a joint interview with Pieter de Caluwe, general and artistic director of La Monnaie, about Der Schauspieldirektor and its relevancy in times of COVID. The podcast is available for streaming on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher or on www.lamonnaie.be.

Der Schauspieldirektor is a La Monnaie production and is part of Troika, the cooperative venture between La Monnaie, Théâtre National and KVS. The opera will be livestreamed on February 19th at www.lamonnaie.be. Tickets cost €10 and are available through www.lamonnaie.be. Not able to watch the livestream? No worries: on March 6th the opera will be broadcasted by radio stations Klara and Musiq3, that way you can enjoy the performance nonetheless.

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