"Constipation is no laughing matter!" The character of Julie Follavoine in On purge bébé has only one mission: her constipated son Toto must and will drink his laxative drink. Whether this is indeed something nót to laugh about, remains to be seen, but we do know one thing for sure: Jodie Devos is the perfect singer for this role. In this first of three cast reveals, the Belgian coloratura soprano looks forward to her first contemporary opera project.
On purge bébé
Librettist and director
Premiere: December 2022
Key moment for every opera in preparation: the presentation of the scenic concept, usually about a year before the premiere. Today, the artistic team presented On purge bébé to a selected group of collaborators from La Monnaie and coproduction partners Opéra de Lyon and Théâtre du Châtelet. Composer Philippe Boesmans himself provided the introduction to his seventh opera commissioned by La Monnaie, and was flanked by stage director Richard Brunel (also General and Artistic director of the Opéra de Lyon) and scenographer Etienne Pluss. The latter also unveiled the model of the set, which will lead to work sessions with the technical teams of La Monnaie in the coming days. Conductor Bassem Akiki contributed to this introduction via video call and was the only one to escape the mouth mask requirement.
Prima la musica e poi le parole? Not when it comes to composer Philippe Boesmans and librettist Richard Brunel. They are working concurrently on music and text. Scraping and polishing sentences and scenes in close collaboration so that both will form a beautiful symbiosis.
I knew that the score of my opera that I'm writing, or rather the two-thirds that I’ve finished, was in good hands. It wasn’t at my place. I remember when I was rescued, when I was taken down from the balcony with a lift, that this was the first thing that popped in my head: "Ah, I still have my notes." That was more important than all my furniture together.