Coronation will be held in any weather!

What comes to the director's concept, it has already gained viewers from different countries, and even continents. The staging is a co-production with Dutch National Opera (Amsterdam), Royal Danish Opera (Copenhagen) and Opera Australia (Sydney). After this production was consistently premiered in these three cities, it followed to the stage of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma (Rome Opera House), which is home to Rossini and the stage director Damiano Michieletto.

Il Viaggio a Reims was written to celebrate the coronation of King Charles X of France. This event was prepared as a lush gorgeous performance. The coronation took place in Reims Cathedral on 28 May 1825, and three weeks later, an opera commissioned to Rossini especially for the occasion was first performed at the Théâtre Italien, Paris.

Il Viaggio a Reims-r1.jpg
Damiano Michieletto.

Stage Director Damiano Michieletto:

– The importance of this opera for its time is comparable to the shows that are now being staged for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics or the World Cup, for example. However, the coronation ceremony can hardly captivate today’s viewers. We need a special approach that would link this story to the modern reality. I found it right to split numerous characters of this opera into two categories: imaginary historic figures and people living in our times. Where can we meet these imaginary characters? – In the museum, for sure. This was the starting point of my fantastic concept.

The Hotel of the Golden Fleur-de-lis turns to be a modern art gallery. The action unfolds on the eve of its imminent opening (the hotel’s ‘former’ hostess Madama Cortese becomes a museum curator – ed.). It is quite natural that all participants are always worried about something – just as in original libretto. As for our ‘historical’ characters… they are lost in a gallery, keep trying to find their belongings as well as the paintings they belong to. And in the finale we learn that they all come from one picture: Consecration of Charles X as King of France, presenting the very occasion the opera was written for.

The museum as the place of action entitles us to talk about art, about the life that takes place close to art, sometimes intertwining with it, about the dialogue between reality and fantasy. For example, Lord Sydney becomes a restoration technician who has fallen in love with the painting he is working on (the portrait of Corinna). On the contrary, our imaginary character Cavaliere Belfiore falls in love with a real girl, who is making a sketch in the hall (Corinne in modern perusal — ed.). He wants to get her attention and say, ‘Look! I am just like you...’, but first he has to get (or to steal) modern clothes to do this.

Our gallery features a great variety of styles and epochs – Botticelli, Giorgione, Velasquez, Goya, Degas, van Gogh ... Suddenly, characters from their paintings find themselves face to face with contemporary art — a figure from the painting by Picasso — and, for sure, they're scared!

In humorous scenes-dialogues we’re posing quite serious questions I'm worried about. What is considered to be a masterpiece? What determines the value of the work of art? I wanted the audience to reflect on these issues.

In one scene appears a wonderful figure, invented by American artist Keith Haring (you can see it in the poster— ed.). This man means a lot to me. He is well known with the audience and makes people laugh with a cleansing laughter. Keith Haring also seems a very rossinian artist: he used very simple, almost abstract colours and forms, but in some incredible way his works are extremely moving.