What's that got to do with anything? Photography from the Paris Opera's 2017/2018 season announcement

January 27, 2017

2017-2018 Season at the Paris Opera
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For the past few seasons (as long as I've been paying attention, anyway) when the Opéra national de Paris announces their season, instead of choosing imagery explicitly communicating the plots, star artists, or physical design of their productions, they curate a series of fine art photos that in some way evoke the spirit of the operas they're producing. This year is no exception, and I'm just living for the effect.

Xavier Veilhan, Le Mobile (Versailles), 2009. Photo Florian Kleinefenn
Xavier Veilhan, Le Mobile (Versailles), 2009. Photo Florian Kleinefenn

Verdi's Un ballo in maschera

Just look at that. The juxtaposition of a bold, contemporary work of sculpture with the classic architecture of the palace of Versailles sets the perfect mood for an opera about a masked ball. The repetition of form in the sculpture and its presumable motion (if we could see it) also suggests the impression of couples circling a dance floor.

Martin Hill, Synergy, 2009.
Martin Hill, Synergy, 2009.

Philippe Boesmans' Reigen

While the setting of this photo is unimportant to the plot of this opera based on the play La Ronde, the title of the opera references a "round dance" in German, making this very striking image also terribly relevant to the opera.

Geert Goiris, Futuro, 2001.
Geert Goiris, Futuro, 2001.

Puccini's La bohème

I seriously doubt that this photo of a retro-futuristic-looking house in the middle of a snowy forest is meant to tease the set design of this production of Bohème (which—for the record—I'd be totally down for), but the seemingly-abandoned dwelling covered in snow 100% harkens to the garrett that Marcello and Rodolfo share.


As you can see, the choice of these "outside the box" photos is just as effective as, say, a series of illustrations directly referencing the stories these operas tell. Other the fact that I think most of these images are just insanely beautiful, I also love how the choice to highlight fine art photography serves to implicitly strengthen a focus on the interconnected nature of all the arts. 

Check out the rest of the Paris Opera's season here, and comment to tell me what you think of them!