Olivier Mantei ©Irene de RosenNouvelle vague
Stressful words, such as “face-to-face”,“distancing”, “protective measures”, “second wave”, have appeared in our environment; initiatives have come to life to overcome the closure of performance halls; all-digital solutions have seized hold of the living. Then life found its way back to stage, all the while clashing with our noxious environment’s health issues and economic uncertainties.

What were the Opéra Comique’s options during these storm warnings? We could furl the sails, bringing the ship to a standstill, until the end of the storm. Or we could stay on course towards open seas.

We made the decision to react without selling-off, to adapt without renouncing. This 2021 programme is very similar to the one we had intended before the pandemic. Seven operatic productions, a Maîtrise Populaire which keeps on blossoming, accessibility plans for people with disabilities, shows on tour in France and Europe. Tempting fate minus bravado, we held our ambitions back reducing the number of performances and keeping in mind those of you who might encounter material difficulties. As an action of faith, but also as a reasoned choice.

The crisis we are experiencing will not deflect us from our long-term purpose: Adapting our professions to the needs of this ever changing world. The key question is: How to preserve emotions, beauty and artistic ambition in a responsible and supportive ecosystem?

2021 will be a decisive year, not only to recover from this violent thunderstorm, but also to prepare to cope with further weather hazards, sustainably and equitably.

Olivier Mantei
Director of the Opéra Comique

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