La Monnaie wins awards in Italy


On 15 April the Italian Associazione Nazionale Critici Musicali awarded its Franco Abbiati Awards again. The Teatro Communale di Bologna, co-production partner of La Monnaie, won no less than 3 awards, unprecedented in the 34 years’ existence of the most important Italian theatre prizes. Two of these can also be added to La Monnaie's record of achievements. Two of the Teatro Communale di Bologna's awards went to La Monnaie productions: the prize for Best Direction for Guy Joosten's Elektra and the prize for Best Costumes for Alvis Hermanis' Jenůfa. The latter is a splendid recognition of Anna Watkins' exceptional pieces, which were all created in the Ateliers of La Monnaie.

The new production of Elektra is the first in a series of Strauss operas La Monnaie presented together with the Belgian director Guy Joosten. The production was under direction of the German conductor Lothar Konigs, the decors were made by Patrick Kinmonth. Already in 2010 in Paris, Elektra won the 'Prix de l'Europe francophone 2010', a prize awarded by French-speaking theatre, dance and opera journalists.

Guy Joosten started out as a theatre director, but has been active in the world of opera since 1991. Not only do the major European theatres want to work with the Belgian director, he is also a welcome guest at the three Belgian operas. La Monnaie was one of the first to work with the man who started in the theatre world – which he never really left behind, at least not in his approach. Meanwhile, Joosten has directed over 40 different titles in diverse styles and genres, ranging from Rossini, Mozart and Verdi, the belcanto repertoire, operettas, many works from the French repertoire but also Brits, Stravinsky, Berg as well as contemporary operas. Joosten directed in more than 30 opera houses, including in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bern, Geneva, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Vienna, Zürich and New York.

'Jenůfa' was the third opera by Leoš Janáček. Jenůfa is a woman who gave birth to an unlawful child and to ensure she'll still have a chance of marrying, her stepmother kills her child. A neo-realistic story in line with Italian verismo. However, the music is very different. It is Latvian director Alvis Hermanis' La Monnaie debut and he's one of the greats in the European theatre world. Chief director Ludovic Morlot is in charge of the musical direction. It does not happen often that the costume department has the leading role in an opera; 'Jenůfa' is an explosion of colours, lace, ribbons, puffed sleeves... The La Monnaie ateliers worked for a year on the costumes, designed by the British Anna Watkins.

The Théâtre Royal la Monnaie, La Monnaie for short, attaches great importance to new creations, empowerment and impact. La Monnaie has the ambition to be the main opera of Europe's capital, so it brings productions which differ greatly in style and represent the diversity of theatre and musical in Europe. This policy has led to several distinctions in the international press, which consistently ranks La Monnaie among the best opera houses, both due to its artistic and organisational aspects, but also due to its successful formula to use art as a medium for social engagement.

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