in honor of claude debussy’s music — 2018 being the centennial year of the french composer’s death — his pelléas et mélisande (1902) will be reimagined with a profoundly epic backdrop: a concave mirror resembling a silver eye. the last production of this opera was directed by bob wilson in 1997. this year, marco brambilla will bring the story back to life alongside some of the finest leaders of the creative world, including sidi larbi cherkaoui, damien jalet, marina abramovic and iris van herpen.

opera Marco Brambilla
image by annemie augustijns (main image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen)

 

 

like a surreal planetarium, the beautifully existential photos displayed here will be screened in the center of the concave mirror’s iris. this design decision aids in personifying the stage as a well of tears and deceiving the audience into a state of extreme melancholia.

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

 

 

brambilla’s screen is a portal. the portal sends open-minded travelers into the stage, into the deep subconscious of the characters and their actions. everything is meant to feel closer and larger and as a result, time must feel different too. the narrative is told via a reinvented cosmos, collaged with original NASA footage.

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

 

 

loneliness, violence, drama, death — what do these things look like abstracted? what do they sound like and feel like at the celestial scale? brambilla believes the hubble telescope imagery — the colorful clouds and the dying stars — have the ability to answer these questions when juxtaposed with debussy’s opera. the opera has much to do with sight and eyes. if you’re familiar with hubble imagery, you’re also familiar with how magically our eyes resemble them.

 

the production premieres in antwerp, at opera vlaanderen, on february 2, 2018, and will tour europe (luxemburg, strasbourg, geneva venice, and more) in 2019.

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

opera Marco Brambilla
image courtesy of marco brambilla studio, opera vlaanderen

 

 

project info: 



co-directors: sidi larbi cherkaoui and damien jalet

set design: marina abramovic

video projections: marco brambilla

costumes: iris van herpen

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