Opera as the World. The quest for a total work of art
«Opera as the World» is a journey through the history of opera in the 20th and 21st centuries, and specifically its relations with the visual arts. Anything but a conventional reading of its subject and much more than a presentation of set designs by artists, it seeks to relate – either echoing or in opposition to the legacy of Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk – how the visual arts and opera have nurtured and, on occasion, radically influenced each other. Within this to-and-fro movement, opera becomes fertile ground for experimentation and a ferment for new aesthetic and political sensitivities.
From the experimental stagings of the first avant-garde productions, including Arnold Schönberg’s Die Glückliche Hand (1910-1913), to Matthew Barney’s operatic film, River of Fundament (2014), and of course the iconic works that have become a staple of the major houses, such as Olivier Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise (1983), «Opera World» maps interdisciplinarity from a different perspective. The project focuses mainly on post-1900 compositions, with a selection of creations that are particularly representative of how fertile this artist/stage relationship can be, presented in themed sections.
Curator: Stéphane Roussel
Research and Exhibition Officer : Anne Horvath