After the presentation of the Cassandra maquette, General Manager and Artistic Director Peter de Caluwe provides an update on the project:
'Between the presentation of the concept for Cassandra and the world premiere scheduled for September 2023, our workshops have sufficient time to turn the designs into a functioning set. The artistic team has done an admirable job of keeping to our specifications, i.e. integrating La Monnaie’s Green Opera policy into the theme of the new composition and into the realisation of an ecological set design.
The opera is about the tragedy of not being heard. At the same time, the work looks at climate change, which we are all aware of, but seem relatively unconcerned about. Like Cassandra, who warned of the impending destruction of Troy, we see the danger coming but we cling to our old ways, thereby contributing to the further melting of the icebergs and the extinction of the bees. This theme inspired the team to create a set made up entirely of recyclable materials. A good example of this are the large number of second-hand books symbolizing the library of Troy, but their gradual disappearance from the stage also references the current fate of the glaciers and rainforests. Next season, in order to achieve this, we will invite our audience to leave a meaningful book at La Monnaie, which will then take its place in the set.
Meanwhile, composer Bernard Foccroulle has managed to complete seventy-five percent of the score. Bees are an important element in his composition. At four different moments in the opera, the buzzing of ‘les abeilles’ audibly diminishes, leading us to conclude that an initially large swarm is reduced to just a few solitary bees… This, of course, symbolizes the loss of one of the most important organisms that so mysteriously helps maintain the delicate balance of the earth’s ecosystem.
So as well as being a philosophical reflection on where we stand as human beings, as ‘users and abusers’ of our planet, Cassandra is also a production made according to the rules of our Green Opera strategy. Or how theory can also be practice. Who knows, it may prompt us to give more serious consideration to the subject. For far from being an individual problem, not being heard hangs like a catastrophe over the whole of society.