A shoe lost, a prince found !
"Rather than represent Cinderella, seen time and time again on posters on the topic, I focused on the castle. It's a fantastical, poetic dream castle."
The Ural winds blow in Massy
In 2007, the Opéra de Massy undertook a Russian cycle. "This poster represented a particular challenge, because it had to do with two operas with different stories. They only had one thing in common : they were Russian. So, I represented Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, which I am particularly fond of."
Showing off the Opéra !
"Since opening day, Jack-Henri Soumère entrusted me with creating the posters for the Opéra de Massy. It's an honor, of course, but it is also a big responsibility. The challenge is immense : entice the public to come to an establishment located in an unusual environment. It's a risky bet, but the spectators flock here."
Michel Bouvet, portrait by Michel BouvetOpéra de Massy
One espresso, please !
"At the opera, drama is more concentrated, twists are more frequent, and feelings are often more strongly expressed. So you have to get to the core of the work, its essence, to transmit it to the public. That's where the main difficulty lies: to simplify without diminishing, to render without distorting."
Once upon a time in Napoli
"In the opera by Mozart ("Cosi Fan Tutte"), the conflict is nonstop. So, I envisioned these two violins as two characters facing off against the backdrop of the Gulf of Naples, where the action takes place."
"Don Juan strings together romantic adventures and breaks hearts. This image represents this pile of successes, which are romantic disappointments for his female victims in equal measure."
"In the early years of my collaboration, the posters were often photographic and sometimes echoed those that I designed and produced at the same time for theater and dance. "In 1999, for "The Magic Flute", Michel Bouvet worked with the photographer Michel Monteaux and found himself enticed by special effects! For the poster, several people worked a long, cold night when they had to set fire to a barrel full of fuel and capture it with the surface of a pond.
Sometimes, the text builds on the image with a play on words. "Très beau temps pour la saison" ("Very nice weather for the season") was the title of the poster announcing the 1994/1995 season, above a bouquet of flowers—like the one the diva receives at the end of the performance—wrapped in sheet music.
To work !
"One day, during a conversation about a new project, Jack-Henri Soumère urged me to draw rather than take photographs. This struck me as a kind of revelation. You see, before all final work, I draw and present a dozen preparatory sketches. Why not transcribe them, make them larger through drawing ? The original design in the sketch is enlarged, transformed, improved upon."
The golden calf is still standing
"Faust sells his soul to the devil. The heart transforms into a theater or opera mask. It is crowned with devil's horns. Houses in the Germanic style set the scene for the work of Goethe."
How far are you willing to go for eternal life?
"It isn't just one incident, but many. The Russian doll symbolizes these progressive discoveries. In the background, Wenceslas Square, in Prague, sets the scene for this Czech opera."
Entice poster-lovers under different circumstances
"The posters for the Opéra de Massy are on permanent exhibition in museums, galleries, and universities around the world. They also do the work of introducing the name and the productions of the Opéra de Massy in new places."
"Like a metaphor, the moon eclipses the red sun, which is also the symbol of Japan. This is the story of a painful betrayal, like these waves that break in front of the Japanese pagodas."
From an unknown play.
"A drama of passion, betrayal, filial love, and vengeance, "Rigoletto" is symbolized in this poster by a dagger emerging from a mouth, like the tongue of a viper."
"I lived for art. I lived for love. I never harmed a living soul ! … O Lord, why do you reward me thus ?"
"Floria Tosca, in the Puccini opera, is a singer as well as the jealous mistress of a painter who specializes in portraits of women. The painter's palette, against the backdrop of the Roman Colosseum, represents the heart of a woman pierced by an arrow."
Michel Bouvet is drawing, 2008 (2008) by Michel BouvetOpéra de Massy
The Inflexible Princess Turandot
"I was given one of the bloodiest operas to put into images. The pagodas, symbolizing China, where the action takes place, are topped by swords, arranged like drumsticksabove the war drum."
Quite a voyage!
"For the crowning of the king at Reims, I showed the cathedral, crowned. It is a simple but effective metaphor."
Michel Bouvet in Bogota by Michel BouvetOpéra de Massy
Virtual exhibition created and written by Eugénie Boivin for the Opéra de Massy with the support of Michel Bouvet.
The history of the Opéra has intrinsically been linked to the creations of Michel Bouvet. This is his story !
We thank Michel Bouvet for his availability, for his kindness, and for using his talent for the good of our organization.