Librettist / Dramaturg

Agathe Mélinand

Co-Director, Théâtre National de Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées

Agathe Mélinand enjoys a successful career as director, dramaturg and librettist, in both opera and the theatre.  She has been responsible for the production of new dialogues from the original language in French, Italian and English for operas including Donizetti’s La fille du regiment and Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne.  A regular collaborator with director Laurent Pelly, recent work includes Les contes d’Hoffmann in Barcelona and San Francisco, La fille du regiment for Opéra national de Paris and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden,  Massenet’s Manon (Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera New York, Teatro alla Scala Milan and Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse), and projects this season include a collaboration with Opera Rara on a series of Offenbach recordings and concert performances.

“La fille du regiment” returns to Covent Garden

05 Mar 2014

Laurent Pelly’s acclaimed production of Donizetti’s comic opera La fille du régiment is currently being revived at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden by stage director Christian Räth.  This...

Agathe Mélinand directs dialogue of Offenbach’s Fantasio

13 Dec 2013

Fantasio, considered one of Offenbach’s most beautiful and refined works, has been given a new lease of life by Opera Rara.  Agathe Mélinand directs the dialogue of a brand new performing...

Agathe Mélinand collaborates with Pelly and Räth in La fille du regiment at Wiener Staatsoper

24 Oct 2013

This worldwide acclaimed production from director Laurent Pelly first took to the stage in 2007 with updated dialogues by Agathe Mélinand.  Stage director Christian Räth returns to Vienna...

Agathe Melinand, Laurent Pelly and Christian Räth revive Massenet’s Manon for Théâtre du Capitol, Toulouse

30 Sep 2013

Following the highly acclaimed co-productions at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala Milan and the Metropolitan Opera New York, Théâtre du Capitol now plays host to Massanet’s...

Les Contes d’Hoffmann at San Francisco Opera

05 Jun 2013

Following a highly successful run at Teatro del Liceu Barcelona earlier this year, Laurent Pelly’s  acclaimed production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann opens this week in San Francisco. ...

ICA trio – Agathe Melinand, Laurent Pelly and Christian Räth - join forces for Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

31 Jan 2013

Offenbach’s masterpiece of French Romanticism blends fantasy, the supernatural and emotion in a trio of tales through which Hoffmann, the narrator and protagonist, describes to his drinking...

New opera productions: Hartmut Haenchen, Stefan Solyom, Laurent Pelly and Agathe Mélinand

12 Jan 2011

Hartmut Haenchen will conduct a new production of Parsifal, directed by Romeo Castellucci at Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels.  American tenor Andrew...

Weill’s Mahagonny - four ICA artists collaborate at Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse

03 Nov 2010

At Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse, four ICA artists join forces in an exciting new production of Kurt Weill’s political-satirical opera The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Directed...

Laurent Pelly, in collaboration with Agathe Mélinand, directs Massenet’s Manon

02 Jul 2010

Laurent Pelly (in collaboration with Dramaturg Agathe Mélinand) directs an eagerly-awaited new production of Massenet’s Manon at the Royal Opera House. In The Telegraph, one of several reviews to...

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“ Our production also includes material that did not appear when Pelly and present production dramaturg, Agathe Mélinand, prepared this performing edition for their 2003 production in Lausanne. Among other things, prepare for spoken dialogue rather than sung recitative, lots more comedy than you’ve grown to expect, and an epilogue that will seem either profound, problematic, or preposterous, depending upon your point of view.”

San Francisco Classical Voice (Les Contes d'Hoffmann, San Francisco Opera) - Jun 2013

“Even the production, a collaboration between Pelly and dramaturg Agathe Melinand that is based on the carefully prepared integral edition of the opera edited by Jean-Christophe Keck and Michael Kaye, has undergone changes since Pelly and Melinand worked together on a different Hoffmann production in 2003. The dialogue is entirely new, the Giulietta act has been filled out, and the epilogue is one big surprise”

The Bay Area Reporter (Les Contes d' Hoffmann, San Francisco Opera) - Jun 2013

“Agathe Mélinand's rewritten and updated script provides crisp French dialogue, and solves a few problems with the plot.”

Bloomberg News (La Fille du Regiment (Donizetti))

“...Agathe Melinand discretely "updates" the dialogues, and rediscovers the vitality of Offenbach by redefining what is caustic and sharp in the music as well as in the libretto.” (Orphée aux Enfers (Offenbach))

“The production works because the singers are meticulously directed through a libretto that is totally way-out-there.”

San Francisco Sentinel (La Fille du Regiment, San Francisco) - Oct 2009

“Agathe Mélinand’s slyly modernised dialogue is amusingly mangled by Dawn French in her speaking role as the magnificently hatted Duchesse de Crackentorp (Marie’s potential mother-in-law) at the end, and the entire evening has the sophistication and entertaining taste of a masterchef.”

La Fille du Regiment, The Royal Opera House - May 2010

“Aided and abetted by his usual high-octane team, Agathe Mélinand for the adapted dialogue and Chantal Thomas for the wonderful sets, Pelly convincingly updates this satire on hedonistic Second Empire morals to the present day.”

Financial Times (La vie parisienne, Opéra de Lyon) - Dec 2007

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Agathe Mélinand enjoys a successful career as director, dramaturg and librettist, in both opera and the theatre.  She is currently Co-Director of Théâtre National de Toulouse.  From 1997-2007 she was Deputy Artistic Director and Director of Communication of the Centre Dramatique National des Alpes (CDNA) in Grenoble and prior to that (1989–1994) Co-director of theatre company Le Pélican.   Recent highlights in Toulouse have included Carlo Goldini’s Le Menteur, for which she wrote a new translation from the original Italian, a staged recital of songs by Michel Legrand featuring Natalie Dessay, Monsieur le Six, Les Aventures de Sinbad le Marin (with Laurent Pelly) , Tennessee Williams – Short Stories and, most recently, Erik Satie -  Mémoires d’un Amnésique, both of which she created and  directed to great acclaim, and which will be revived 2014 at TGP – Saint Denis, Théâtre de Sartrouville and TNT.

In the opera house Agathe works as both librettist and dramaturg and has been responsible for the production of new dialogues from the original language in French, Italian and English.   Current projects include a new dialogue version of Chabrier’s L’Etoile, to be directed by Laurent Pelly at de Nationale Oper Amsterdam at the beginning of the 14/15 season. 

Recent work has included new dialogues for Laurent Pelly’s acclaimed production of Donzietti’s La fille du régiment (co-production Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, New York, Vienna State Opera), and new versions of Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne (Opéra de Lyon) and Les contes d’Hoffmann (Lausanne Opera – also performed in 2013 in San Francisco, Barcelona and Lyon).  She also produced a new adaptation of the dialogues for the Théâtre du Châtelet’s highly-successful production of La belle Hélène, as well as a new translation of these for Santa Fe Opera. 

In addition she produced a new version of Chabrier’s Le roi malgré lui for Opéra de Lyon, which enjoyed revivals in Lyon and at l’Opéra Comique in Paris. Other adaptations include La Périchole (Marseille Opera), La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein for Théâtre du Châtelet, Orphée aux enfers (Geneva and Lyon) and an Offenbach triple bill, also for Opéra de Lyon.  In addition she also established a new version of Le Chanteur de Mexico libretto for Théâtre du Châtelet. 

Current projects include a  revival of La fille du régiment in Madrid, the recreation of La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein at the Grand Théâtre de Genève in 2014, and two concert and recording projects with Sir Mark Elder and Opera Rara – Offenbach’s Fantasio and Gounod’s La Colombe.   

Recent work also includes Massenet’s Manon, a co-production between the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera New York, Teatro all Scala  Milan and Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse, as well as revivals of Les contes d’Hoffmann for San Francisco Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona and Opéra de Lyon (which will tour to Japan in 2014).

Other productions on which Agathe has worked as dramaturg (usually in collaboration with Laurent Pelly) include Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Rameau’s Platée, Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and a double-bill of Ravel’s L'heure espagnole and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi for L’Opéra national de Paris; Rameau’s Les Boréades (Lyon and Zurich); Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel for Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Mozart’s La finta semplice for Theater an der Wien.

July 2014