Death of Philippe Boesmans | Forum Opera

We learn with sadness death at the age of 85 from Philippe BoesmansBelgian composer who, after a first piano prize at the Liège Conservatory, had abandoned this instrument to devote himself to composition as an autodidact. Gérard Mortier’s commission for an opera – The Passion of Gillescreated in 1983 at La Monnaie –, guides his creative path. Will follow at a regular pace several lyrical works which today form a unique corpus in the contemporary repertoire: round dance (1993), winter fairy tale (1999), Julia (2005), Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy (2009), In the world (2014), Pinocchio (2017). His last opera, We’re purging Baby according to Feydeau, will be premiered at La Monnaie next season.

The Opéra de Lorraine has just put on a new production of Julieunder the direction of Emilio Pomarico and directed by Silvia Costa. Co-produced by the Opéra de Dijon, will be on stage at the Grand Théâtre de Dijon on May 4, 6 and 7.

Below is the press release from La Monnaie

This morning, we received the very sad news of the death of composer Philippe Boesmans, which occurred last night after a short illness. We are deeply saddened by the death of this artist so dear to our house and we offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

“We want to remember Philippe for his humanism, his humor and his generosity,” says our managing director Peter de Caluwe. “He was a guest of choice in our Theater and one of the essential pillars of our house. His artistic contribution to La Monnaie and to the world of contemporary opera is invaluable. Three successive directors of the Mint were able to count on his constructive comments concerning the programming of our institution, for which he made original suggestions on several occasions. Her opinion mattered, and she will be greatly missed. »

As composer in residence under the successive direction of Gérard Mortier, Bernard Foccroulle and Peter de Caluwe, he received numerous creation commissions for La Monnaie. This close collaboration began with The Passion of Gilleshis first opera, which premiered in 1983. Followed round dance (1993), based on a play by Arthur Schnitzler, winter fairy tale (1999), after Shakespeare, and Julia (2004), from the play Miss Julie by August Strindberg. All these titles were directed by Luc Bondy, who also wrote the booklets. Subsequently, in co-production with major opera houses in Paris and Aix-en-Provence, we created Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy (2009), In the world (2014) and more recently Pinocchio (2017), two titles in collaboration with Joël Pommerat. Just a few weeks ago, we announced the creation of a new opera by Philippe Boesmans: We purge baby. Accompanied by the director and librettist Richard Brunel, Philippe finalized the score of this comedy inspired by the eponymous farce by Feydeau. The premiere of this work will take place in December of this year.

In addition to his works for the stage, Philippe was also very active as a composer of chamber music and symphonic pieces. His cycle of melodies Trakl Songs was performed by the Orchester symphonique de la Monnaie last February under the direction of his good friend the conductor Sylvain Cambreling, who premiered several of his compositions.

Philippe was a monument of Belgian and European music. His works have been performed all over the world. New productions of his operas are still regularly staged, as recently in Stuttgart and Paris (round dance) or Nancy (Julia). He was a reference for many other composers, including Benoît Mernier and Kris Defoort, whom he accompanied in their works commissioned by La Monnaie.

We wish everyone who knew Philippe, directly or indirectly, a lot of courage in this ordeal. La Monnaie will pay homage to him in music and in complete serenity.

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