This original creation by the Opéra de Montréal, eagerly awaited, brings to life the epic of the rescue of the treasures of the Louvre during the Second World War. With a libretto by Michel Marc Bouchard and music by Julien Bilodeau, it demonstrates the reconciling power of art and leads to reflection in the current geopolitical context.
Notice to music lovers and history buffs: The beauty of the world is based on very real facts that have profoundly marked the history of 20th century arte century. The context: fearing the bombardments and looting of the Nazis advancing on Paris, the director of the national museums of France, Jacques Jaujard, deploys a daring subterfuge with the complicity of Rose Valland, former director of the Jeu de Paume. This one, a real heroine in the shadows, secretly collects information on private collections stolen from Jews by the Germans. Thanks to their courage, thousands of masterpieces, including the Mona Lisa and the Victory of Samothrace, were transported from 1939 to the four corners of France for safekeeping.
The genesis of opera
“Michel Marc Bouchard told me about this project while we were eating together to celebrate the last performance of the Swirls, and I found the idea fascinating,” explains Michel Beaulac, artistic director of the Opéra de Montréal. The man he considers to be one of the greatest playwrights in Quebec began to work on writing his second opera. “With exceptional eloquence, as always, he built the libretto from historical facts, throwing the action on an extraordinary dramatic curve and creating remarkable interactions between real and fictional characters,” he continues.
This successful cohabitation between fact and fiction has profoundly influenced Julien Bilodeau’s musical approach. ” The beauty of the world is the most ambitious work of my artistic career. After Another Brick in the Wall – The Opera, the possibility of creating a great opera on a subject as fascinating as it is complex with an unpublished text by the hand of Michel Marc Bouchard is a great privilege. We walked step by step towards the culmination of a work that embraced all the subjects that were close to our hearts. The creative process was guided by Michel Beaulac, who played a fundamental role, particularly in the many choices that must be made to bring together the management and staging teams. »
Art in all its forms
The seated woman is the common thread of the narrative framework. The work of Matisse, which Goering considers “degenerate” like all forms of modern art in his eyes, is present from the first to the last act. The story, which takes us from the Louvre to the Jeu de Paume, culminates in a train station, while resistance fighters free stolen works by opening the doors of a train car wide open. As for The seated womanits history follows its own course: entrusted by the Parisian art dealer Paul Rosenberg to Jacques Jaujard, who had to sacrifice it to the Nazis, the painting was found 75 years later in a Munich apartment – with more than 1,400 looted works – before being returned to the descendants of the famous gallery owner.
According to Michel Beaulac, the spectators ofThe beauty of the world can look forward to an inspiring and unforgettable experience. “This opera materializes, through music, song and theatre, the fact that art is the beacon of civilization and that we must be inspired by it in all our actions and our decision-making, particularly in difficult situations. opposition and conflict. In fact, we should consider all museums in the world as one great universal museum that showcases the beauty of humanity. »
This content was produced by Le Devoir’s special publications team in collaboration with the advertiser. Le Devoir’s editorial team had no role in the production of this content.
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