Emmanuelle Haim, Guy Cassiers, Maud Le Pladec

"I'm interested in the opera audience, collectively as well as inpidually: all spectators are together in the house, but they each create their own story. As a director I hand them a brush and paint; their job is to create the painting." Guy Cassiers

What is Xerse? A meeting between two seventeenth 

century musical worlds, the French and the Italian, in a grandiose work by two luminaries – and sometime rivals – of opera history, Cavalli and Lully. The opera was well received in Italy in 1654; it was a typical product of the Venetian lyrical tradition, with Pietro Francesco Cavalli, Monteverdi's pupil and successor, as one of its figureheads. At the invitation of cardinal Mazarin, the work was performed six years later in the Galerie d'Apollon at the Louvre, on the occasion of Louis the XIVth wedding to Maria Theresa of Austria. To satisfy the aristocracy's and the young king's passionate love of dance, the court composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully, was commissioned to write ballets for the opera. The genre resulting from this encounter, the lyrical tragedy, was soon to become a highlight of French music.

After staging Wagner at Milan's La Scala and Berlin's Staatsoper, the Flemish director, Guy Cassiers, tackles another type of ‘total theatre‘, as the Opéra de Lille stages the work's magnificent ‘French version’. Through singing and dancing it tells how the king of Persia sets out to conquer Athens… and makes several other conquests along the way, perhaps of a more amorous, but no less valiant nature


  • Guy Cassiers


  • Willem Bruls


  • Emöke Barath
  • Carlo Allemano
  • Tim Mead
  • Ugo Guagliardo
  • Camille Poul
  • Emiliano Gonzalez Toro
  • Emmanuelle de Negri
  • Frédéric Caton
  • Pascal Bertin
  • Le Concert d'Astrée


  • Compagnie Leda


  • Frederik Jassogne


  • Benoît Hartoin

music director

  • Emmanuelle Haim

musical advice

  • Barbara Nestola


  • Maud Le Pladec

costume and set design

  • Tim Van Steenbergen


  • L'Opéra de Lille


  • Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles
  • Théâtre de Caen

with the support of

  • Sponsoring Rabot Dutilleul

in collaboration with

  • Toneelhuis

All data

There are no upcoming activities for this event.

  1. Friday 2 October 2015 — 20h30 — Opéra de Lille, Lille
  2. Sunday 4 October 2015 — 17h00 — Opéra de Lille, Lille
  3. Tuesday 6 October 2015 — 20h30 — Opéra de Lille, Lille
  4. Thursday 8 October 2015 — 20h30 — Opéra de Lille, Lille
  5. Saturday 10 October 2015 — 20h30 — Opéra de Lille, Lille
  6. Sunday 10 January 2016 — 17h00 — Théâtre de Caen, Caen
  7. Tuesday 12 January 2016 — 20h00 — Théâtre de Caen, Caen

News about ‘Xerse’

Guy Cassiers regisseert Xerse voor de Opéra de Lille Read • 2 October 2015

Guy Cassiers regisseert Xerse voor de Opéra de Lille

Vanavond gaat Xerse in première, de opera die in 1660 getoond werd in de Salle d’Apollon van het Louvre, op het huwelijk van Lodewijk XIV met Maria Theresia van Oostenrijk. Met het oog op de grote liefde van Lodewijk voor ballet schreef diens boezemvriend en componist Jean Baptiste Lully voor deze opera-uitvoering de zogenaamde entrées, balletmuziek die het muziekdrama in feite onderbrak en ontwikkelde zo een nieuw Frans operagenre. Dramaturg Willem Bruls licht het ontstaan van deze opera meer in detail toe.

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Toneelhuis / Kunstenwerkplaats / Sophia Rodriguez