THÉRÈSE / LA NAVARRAISE
Art for feedom
Massenet is a composer who has been very close to us since the start of our professional association and we are extremely pleased to produce for Wexford Festival Opera this double bill of Thérèse & La Navarraise which are unfortunately rarely performed. Through these two individual stories we try to explore the influence of painting on life.
Thérèse, set in a museum’s restoration workshop shows us how historical subjects can come to life centuries after they happened and by means of a series of 18th century paintings about the French revolution previous to "la terreur".
Using Picasso’s painting “Guernica” for La Navarraise shows us how the artist transcends historical subjects and events to make an important political & social statement. Massenet's opera is given a new perspective by setting it in the Spanish civil war's most famous artistic outcry.
Like the painter our work as an opera creative team of stage director & designer is to engage the senses of the audience by giving it sometimes an intensification of reality, sometimes an abstraction. The painter makes real to others his innermost feelings. Those feelings become known to everyone who views the picture through the intensity with which it is felt.
Like the artist, we use Life as our subject-matter. A subject that must be kept under closest observation in order to make the picture independent from life. Art has to be grounded in the real world and enhance our understanding of ways of seeing. This involves a constant interrogation of our assumptions about the nature of art and life and its representation. The artist who tries to replicate Nature is only an executive artist and, since the model he so faithfully copies is not going to be hung next to the picture, the result is of no interest whether it is an accurate copy of the original. We think that it is the same for every form of art.
We have a commitment to the fundamental importance of aesthetic quality in art, but it is the means and not the end. But does art really matter ?
In a period when the art funding is a struggle a painting like Guernica is more than ever relevant showing us how art can sometimes change the way we look at the world.