What’s that got to do with anything?
Photography from the Paris Opera’s 2017/2018 season
For the past few seasons (as long as I’ve been paying attention, anyway) when the Opéra national de Paris announces their season, instead of choosing imagery explicitly communicating the plots, star artists, or physical design of their productions, they curate a series of fine art photos that in some way evoke the spirit of the operas they’re producing. This year is no exception, and I’m just living for the effect.
Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera
Just look at that. The juxtaposition of a bold, contemporary work of sculpture with the classic architecture of the palace of Versailles sets the perfect mood for an opera about a masked ball. The repetition of form in the sculpture and its presumable motion (if we could see it) also suggests the impression of couples circling a dance floor.
Philippe Boesmans’ Reigen
While the setting of this photo is unimportant to the plot of this opera based on the play La Ronde, the title of the opera references a “round dance” in German, making this very striking image also terribly relevant to the opera.
Puccini’s La bohème
I seriously doubt that this photo of a retro-futuristic-looking house in the middle of a snowy forest is meant to tease the set design of this production of Bohème (which — for the record — I’d be totally down for), but the seemingly-abandoned dwelling covered in snow 100% harkens to the garrett that Marcello and Rodolfo share.
As you can see, the choice of these “outside the box” photos is just as effective as, say, a series of illustrations directly referencing the stories these operas tell. Other the fact that I think most of these images are just insanely beautiful, I also love how the choice to highlight fine art photography serves to implicitly strengthen a focus on the interconnected nature of all the arts.
Check out the rest of the Paris Opera’s season here, and comment to tell me what you think of them!
A version of this article originally appeared on Opus Affair.