Time and again, opera sparks my creativityEdouard Vermeulen
Why is la Monnaie so special to you?
Edouard Vermeulen (Fashion designer): Because of the wonderful mise-en-scènes and the beautiful sets. I also appreciate the fact that la Monnaie is always one step ahead of other houses, for which they are internationally renowned.
What is the role of culture in our society in this day and age?
From the bottom of my heart, I hope that youngsters both today and tomorrow will continue to value culture, because I strongly believe in the culture of beauty. It’s important to appreciate beauty in all its facets, and in opera beauty manifests itself in the music, the costumes, the sets, and the performances.
Did you ever sing in a choir or play a musical instrument?
Like many people of my generation, I sang in a choir for a while, and I even strummed a guitar in my teens. Unfortunately, I’m not a gifted musician, so I abolished my musical aspirations rather quickly.
Do you see a link between your work as a fashion designer and the work that our costumiers do in la Monnaie?
Absolutely. In fact, there are a plenty of similarities. What I love most about visiting la Monnaie, is that I’m always inspired in one way or another. Opera always sparks my creativity. After a performance – and especially after seeing the beautiful costumes – I return home, my mind filled with inspiration for my own work.
What is your first memory of la Monnaie?
That must have been the philanthropic gala dinner that I decorated a few years ago. I was able to experience la Monnaie backstage in all its glory, which was a magnificent experience. When I was browsing through the workshops and costume reserves, I really appreciated how unique la Monnaie truly is.
When were you last moved to tears by a concert or an opera?
Every opera touches me. Seeing the artists of Tristan und Isolde, for example, perform in such a beautiful setting was awe-inspiring - those illuminated walls! For me, nothing trumps the emotion created by the union of music and performers.
If you were allowed to conserve one opera forever, which one would you choose and why?
I would resolutely pick Verdi’s Aida, in the 2017 production I saw at la Monnaie. It was so different from the traditional performances that I’d like to treasure it forever.
Why should teenagers and young adults visit the opera more frequently?
I sincerely hope that young people will show a greater appreciation for culture in general, because in experiencing culture, you cultivate a certain sensitivity to beauty. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the beauty of music or fashion, as long as you develop an eye for it. That’s why I hope la Monnaie will continue to make opera accessible to youngsters.