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Lise Bruyneel and Paris Opera

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Lise Bruyneel of la fabrique des regards, writes about her work with Paris Opera and Millennium Images to produce stunning visuals for two recent productions

“At la fabrique des regards every single image choice comes from the content of the piece, from the music, the text or the dance language. The Paris Opera is a big institution with a complex structure, so the process of choosing images for the communication is a long procedure. I try to make the path as personal as possible, in order to work with confidence. So I never present images by email and always take the time to meet all the people involved in the choice. I allow them to review the images in silence first, because the audience won’t be viewing the posters with explanations.

With Sleeping Beauty, I was looking for a dreamy image, suggesting the purity of Princess Aurora and the kind of classical romanticism of Tchaikovsky. A sleeping girl surrounded by nature, as if she was half buried, even by her own hair. The visual research through contem- porary photography, with the music of Tchaikovsky in my ears and the memory of the classical movements of the choreographers Marius Petipa and Alexei Ratmansky in my head, gave fifty diverse images, from which I first selected my favourite fifteen. After the first discussion with Dream On, the communication agency working on the project, about the images in the context of posters, we selected nine images, which we presented to the communications team of the Opera in a poster layout. After their selection of four, the journey finished in the two last steps, a meeting with the general manager (who shortlisted two) and another meeting with the dance director, who unequivocally chose the image by Eleonora Ghioldi.

Tosca is a very different story. It is part of the season’s brochure which focusses only on street photography. I absolutely wanted to include Polly Braden in the brochure, because of her rhythm and the perfect construction of her photographs, incredibly musical. Floria Tosca is a strong woman, modern and classical at the same time, trying to find her own path through difficult interactions between politics, art and religion. Rome is very important in the plot, and one could consider the choice of a photograph from London strange, but the staging by Pierre Audi is quite abstract and the poster creates a new resonance linked to the production, in a spirit of dialogue between the arts.

Lise Bruyneel describes herself as a “listening eye,” combining her talents ranging across the musical and visual worlds to provide strategies and campaigns for many renowned arts organisations. Lise has made one of her trademark approaches being able to apply contemporary photography and graphics to an arena that often has approached marketing in a somewhat traditional way.

Polly Braden (Tosca photograph) is known mostly for her documentary work, showng aspects of contemporary life, especially in China. Eleanora Ghioldi (Sleeping Beauty photograph ) is a California photographer specialising in sensuous images of women.