The Opéra National de Paris has released its plans for 2011/12, giving me the great satisfaction of reading that Emmanuelle Haim has been invited to conduct a new production.
Ms Haim, you may remember, was cruelly treated by the opera house orchestra last year when she attempted to direct the musicians in Luc Bondy’s staging of Mozart’s Idomeneo with ‘a different aesthetic’
of her baroque style. The musicians denounced her as ‘incompetent’ and a divorce was announced in Le Monde
that seemed to end her career at the Paris Opéra.
Ms Haim is one of the most intelligent, enterprising and hard-working orchestral directors of recent times. Don’t take my word for it: ask Simon Rattle, Natalie Dessay, Rolando Villazon and dozens of others with whom she has created outstanding opera productions. She is also, in my personal experience, charming, cheeky and not easily derailed by male opposition.
So my heart leaped to see that Nicolas Joel, the new boss of the Opéra, has booked her to take charge of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, in a new production by Ivan Alexandre, with a cast headed by Sarah Connolly, Anne-Catherine Gillet and Topi Lehtipuu, opening June 2012.
The only disappointment is that she won’t be conducting the rude and rebellious house orchestra. With her in the pit will be her own band, Le Concert d’Astrée. Paris still has some way to go before its musicians accept stylistic plurality.
Natalie with Emmanuelle photo: Lexpress.fr. all rights reserved
Emmanuelle with NL at the BBC. all rights reserved