Orfeo and Majnun - La Monnaie du Mont


Orfeo and Majnun. A community process to create a new Opera.

On 27th October our kick-off meeting in Brussels ended with the meeting with the Opera House La Monnaie / Du Munt. On that occasion we were made aware of a project called “Orfeo and Majnun”, a community process that aimed to create a new Opera inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and the Persian love story of Layla and Majnun.

We thought to share this project with you because it has many elements in common with Get Close to Opera. It includes music, arts, theatre, Opera and different cultures.
The final result will be performed at the end of June at La Monnaie / Du Mont and it will be accompanied by a parade and several side events.

If you wish to share your experience with us, please write to info@getclosetoopera.com

Two intertwined stories

“Orfeo and Majnun” connects the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with the Persian love story of Layla and Majnun.

For those who do not know, Orpheus was a famous poet and musician, an expert harp player capable of enchanting with his music and his poems. Orpheus was madly in love with Eurydice, but she died very soon. For this reason Orpheus decided to descend to Hades and bring back the beloved, thanks to the sound of his harp.
The deal made with Hades was clear: he could take Eurydice with him but he had not to look back while she was still in the dark and wait for Eurydice to get into the light before he looked at her. Orpheus broke the deal and lost his love forever.

Qays (Majnun) was also a poet madly in love with a woman: Layla. They, like Orpheus and Eurydice, didn’t have an easy life too. She was forced to marry another man and both Majnun and Layla died young.

The two stories are therefore stories of love, grief and longing.

A force called longing.

Indeed, an important source of inspiration for the Project is the longing.
The longing is not just an emotion in the hearts of lovers, but also a powerful energy capable of leading Orpheus towards Eurydice, making Majnun crazy, upsetting animals and mythical creatures, or looking for peace and beauty.
Longing is something everyone experiences every day, no matter who we are, where we come from and what we desire.
Longing is an universal sentiment, that enable us to research a better place.

“Longing is something everyone experiences every day: when we think of love or a lost love, of times past or a better future, of returning home or finding a better place to live.
We long for a peaceful community and a meaningful life – and we express those longings in music, words, and a wide variety of other artistic forms.”

(from La Monnaie / Du Mont Website)

Workshops and performances

The Project “Orfeo and Majnun” involved the community with workshops, through which each member participated in the way he/she preferred, living moments of joy and art, but also learning new skills from different Opera specialists.
An experience of cultural development, meeting of new people and beauty.

The first workshop was held in Brussels in September 2017, the second in February 2018.
The next appointment is scheduled for the end of June, when we are going to attend the final performance of the Project.
It will include:

  • a big production in La Monnaie’s main auditorium, where around the two tales the community will weave a beautiful tapestry of different cultural influences, languages, and musical styles ;
  • a big public social gathering in the streets of central Brussels. An open-air parade where animals and mythical creatures (made during the workshops) will lead us to the discovery of the stories dreamed up during the workshops.

Behind the scenes of “Orfeo and Majnun”

The project was designed and led by La Monnaie Opera House in cooperation with the Wiener Konzerthaus (Austria), the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (France), the Valletta 2018 Foundation (Malta), Operadagen Rotterdam (the Netherlands), the Krakow Festival Office (Poland), and the MSMFeira (Portugal).

“Orfeo & Majnun” was also selected for funding by the European Union’s ‘Creative Europe’ programme.

For more information on the project, visit La Monnaie / Du Mont Website