“Romeo and Juliet” in the spectacular setting of Thomas Jolly at the Opéra Bastille

If personalities – including the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak – and television media were not in a hurry around him, Thomas Jolly could be confused with the youthful assembly gathered on Wednesday June 14 at the Opéra Bastille on the occasion of the young preview – reserved for those under 28 – of Romeo and Juliet by Charles Gounod, which will be on view until July 15. The early forties of the French director did not make him lose the features of adolescence.

In 2016, the first foray into the Paris Opera by the man who was not yet the new master of musical comedy starmania where the grand chamberlain of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games ended, with Eliogabalo, de Cavalli, by a failure. This time, with Shakespeare, the man is on his ground. He also retained the lyrical lesson learned with Fortunioby André Messager, at the Opéra-Comique (2017) then with Macbeth Underworld, by Pascal Dusapin, at the Théâtre de La Monnaie in Brussels (2019): impossible to perform opera without music.

Is it to have stumbled in 2016 on the steps of the Palais Garnier? Thomas Jolly offers himself a revenge with Romeo and Juliet by inviting the spectacular decor of the grand ceremonial staircase of the Parisian opera (designed by Bruno de Lavenère) mounted on a spinner. Triple flights of steps, curved ramps and balustrades, women torchieres and candelabras alternately depict the Capulet palace, the alleys, the foundations of the ” building “ engulfing itself under a bridge, where will embark – literally – the drama, from the secret marriage to the sepulcher via the marital bed.

After a dark premonitory opening, which sees men in black loading into carts the corpses of the streets victims of the plague (Shakespeare briefly alludes to the epidemic in Verona, specifies the director), the visual grammar of Thomas Jolly s inscribed from the first scene of the masked ball in the garden of the Capulets. Sooty spaces traversed by a luminous orgy in the style of a pop concert (by the lighting designer Antoine Travert), hybrid carnival costumes mixing commedia dell’arte masks and pictorial gesture, between Bosch and Brueghel (Sylvette Dequest in the costumes), epileptic fury of the dancers of waacking strictly choreographed by Josépha Madoki on the music (a voluble and violent, sensual gesture, inherited from the gay, black and Afro-Latino communities of Los Angeles).

real moments of theater

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