10, 11 June: Les Nuits de Fourvière, Lyon
27, 28, 29, 30 June: La Seine Musicale, Paris
Insula orchestra and conductor Laurence Equilbey let silence speak this June as they present a unique gravity-defying staging of Mozart's seminal Requiem in Lyon and Paris. This new production sees the unfinished composition performed in its fragmented form with a staging directed by the acrobat and dancer Yoann Bourgeois. Insula orchestra perform with accentus choir and soloists Hélène Carpentier & Natalie Perez, Giuseppina Bridelli & Eva Zaïcik, Jonathan Abernethy, and Christian Immler.
The fraught history of Mozart's Requiem is well known, as are the challenges of presenting the 'complete' work today. Mozart died with several movements of his seminal work left behind only in sketch form: the version frequently performed is one completed by Franz Xavier Süssmayr.
The circus artist Yoann Bourgeois applies concepts of perpetual motion and suspension to human bodies, using a corporeal box of tricks to visually represent the void left in Mozart's interrupted masterpiece. The director crafts illusions of tempo through gravity-defying movement and momentary suspensions, where the body neither rises nor falls, to capture the abyss, as "the absence of weight opens up a fleeting window to eternity.
Inspired by Foucault's pendulum, Bourgeois has used stages rotating at different speeds to capture life accelerating in a relentless rat race or slowing down, falling behind, and being overtaken. Bourgeois mirrors the comedy and tragedy inherent to the human condition: his characters are propelled to slip and tumble, and are buoyed to capture a sense of exhilaration and turbulence.
An acrobat, actor, juggler, and dancer, Yoann Bourgeois trained at ENACR (National School of Circus Arts Rosny-sous-bois) before training in contemporary dance at the CNDC (Centre National de Danse Contemporaine) in Angers.
The period-instrument Insula orchestra and conductor Laurence Equilbey are renowned for their innovative and fresh approaches to classical and romantic repertoire. Mozart's Requiem premieres at Les Nuits de Fourvière in Lyon on 10-11 June and returns to the orchestra's Parisian home, La Seine Musicale, from 27-30 June as part of their Maximum Mozart Festival 2019.
Upcoming multimedia productions include further performances of Weber's Der Freischütz in Luxemburg (Grand Théâtre de la Ville, 6-8 October), Paris (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 19-23 October), and London (Barbican, 4 November).