At Brussels’ La Monnaie opera house, director Peter de Caluwe’s mandate is clear: “We must not, we cannot, sidestep the burning issues in society today.”
So rather than build an escapist bubble with his 2020-21 season, de Caluwe crafted a lineup that approaches contemporary subjects while exploring lessons in works of the past. The resulting “Once Upon Now” season will feature The Time of Our Singing, The Sleeping Thousand, Bastarda!, Henry VIII, Die tote Stadt, De Kinderen Der Zee, Falstaff, The Turn of the Screw and Parsifal.
So how do you brand a collection of such wide-ranging performances?
Base Brussels has been working with La Monnaie for a decade, giving striking form to each season. This year’s is centered around “grotesquely picturesque media snapshots of white male parliamentarians fighting.”
“The 2020/2021 campaign stemmed from Peter de Caluwe’s growing preoccupation with the decline of democracy and society’s trust in politics,” the agency writes. “The campaign reflects our modern-day drama, blurring the lines between reality and fiction with images that sometimes resemble paintings or staged photographs.”
To underscore that, the photos are very real—beginning with this image of a Ukrainian parliament brawl in Kiev.
Here’s more from the campaign.