(From the Franco Files, 1/16.)
For lovers of Parisian theatre, the first days of 2011 have a slightly melancholy edge. On New Year’s Eve the hugely influential English director Peter Brook finally ended his 36-year tenure at the experimental Bouffes du Nord theatre in the French capital.
Friday night’s performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute was the 85-year-old’s last production as the artistic head of a venue that has become synonymous with inventive, avant-garde work. As Brook’s opera heads off on a European tour that reaches London’s Barbican in March, the director is handing over the reins at the Bouffes to two younger Frenchmen: the former deputy head of Paris’s Opéra-Comique, Olivier Mantei, and the theatre entrepreneur and modern music specialist Olivier Poubelle. Both have been part of Brook’s wider creative team for some time.