It’s 10 am. There’s a crowd in the Petit Théâtre, the rehearsal room on the 6th floor of the Opéra Comique. It smells of coffee and fresh viennoiseries amid the electric hum and the excitation resulting from recovering these premises, whose atmosphere has not changed despite many months of renovation work. Everyone’s there, except for a few ones, like François-Xavier Roth. The artistic teams facing the administrative teams of the Opéra Comique introduce themselves one by one after a beautiful speech by Olivier Mantei. “It’s an emotion to be back in Favart,” the director general confides. It’s a shared emotion. Guillaume Vincent sets the tone: cabaret à la Moulin Rouge, illusion, magic tricks. This is the way he intends to stage this opera by Camille Saint-Saëns, a rarity which produces in him an overflowing enthusiasm because of so much freedom, of so many dramatic possibilities offered by the libretto. A bed here, a platform there, a few props at hand. The vocalists are already beginning to blend into this rudimentary setting and don’t hesitate to sing. Rehearsal time!
Le Timbre d’argent, 9 through 19 June at the Opéra Comique
Music direction François-Xavier Roth
Staging Guillaume Vincent
With Raphaëlle Delaunay, Hélène Guilmette, Jodie Devos, Tassis Christoyannis, Edgaras Montvidas, Yu Shao
Orchestra Les Siècles
[Photos : ©Stefan Brion - Opéra Comique]