After years of renovations, Liège's Théâtre Royal reopened with the opera Stradella by César Franck. The composer left only sheet music behind, now orchestrated for the production by Luc van Hove. Director Jaco van Dormael turned it into a real theatrical spectacle with special mirror effects to replicate water onstage.
The story takes place during the Carnival of Venice. As the main curtain goes up, the stage floor starts to glisten. A naked woman wades through a giant water basin. From up above, a round GiantMirror by ShowTex descends and turns to reflect the audience.
Van Dormael consciously avoids any film effects onstage, choosing instead to push the boundaries of theatre and theatrical possibilities. An underwater ballet performed by the two drowning lovers takes place live, under the basin, and is then reflected in the large round mirror above the stage.
Soprano Isabelle Kabatu plays the role of Leonore, the main female character. Bass Baritone, Werner van Mechelen, is Spadoni, lieutenant of the Duke of Pesaro. Stradella is played by Tenor Marc Laho.