OPERA PLACES Renaud Doucet & André Barbe take us to Toulouse, France

by | Mar 23, 2024 | Artist of the Week, Featured, News

Renowned director, choreographer, and set/costume designer duo Renaud Doucet and André Barbe take us to Toulouse, France where they are busy preparing their production of La Cenerentola, a co-production with the Latvian National Opera in Riga and l’Opéra National du Capitole de Toulouse, running March 29 to April 7 (info and tickets here).

This talented team’s productions have garnered them international acclaim including Die Zauberflöte at the Glyndebourne Festival, Die Fledermaus at the Hamburg Staatsoper, La Fille du régiment at the Teatro La Fenice in Venezia, Pelléas et Mélisande at the Teatro Regio di Parma, Cendrillon with New York City Opera, Turandot with Seattle Opera, La bohème with Scottish Opera, Thaïs  at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Florida Grand Opera. Later this season they will be remounting their production of Don Pasquale (most recently seen with Vancouver Opera) in Toronto at the Canadian Opera Company, running April 26 to May 18 (info and tickets here).

Luckily for us, this incredibly busy duo spared some precious moments to share what it has been like working in Toulouse, where to find the best Cassoulet in the city, and how they find peaceful moments walking their sweet dog, Ulisse. Read on to find out more.

City where you’re working?
Toulouse, France

How long are you working on contract?
We came last season for La bohème and have the pleasure to come back this year with La Cenerentola by Rossini. A co-production in between the Latvian National Opera in Riga and the l’Opéra National du Capitole de Toulouse. We are here for 4 weeks to mount the production with a double cast.

What’s the opera house like?
It’s a beautiful warm theatre. For us it is so nice to be in what would be considered a small theater by the North American standard. A 1 100 seats, shoe horse shape. You hear well and can see all the expressions of the singers on stage. Some real theater in music without having to over do it. The theater was originally built in the 18th century and rebuilt in 1923 after a fire. You can feel the art deco influence.

Le Théâtre du Capitole © Christophe Carasco

Where is the most peaceful place in the city?
As director/designer we work from morning to night attending rehearsals, costume fittings, load in of sets, lights levels and many meetings. There is very limited time to go out. For us the peaceful periods are the walks with Ulisse, our dog, along the Garonne river.

Best coffee or tea?
Home. We travel with our little Italian expresso moka maker, a habit we took while we lived in Venezia.

Coolest bar or restaurant you’ve been to?
In Toulouse one has to try the Cassoulet (preferably for lunch if you want to sleep at night). Chez Emile seems to be the place to go. The Florida is a nice brasserie in front of the opera house . The food is great and the location perfect for lunches between stage rehearsals.


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An activity you have done that is unique to the area?
Mostly walking and enjoying the typical architecture of Toulouse. A truly beautiful city. During bohème we went to see Cecilia Bartolli who was performing a splendid concert she gave in town with the wonderful Gianluca Capuano conducting.

Is there something unexpected that happens locally that you discovered?
Last week, an old building collapsed in the old city causing much havoc but fortunately no one was hurt.

How did you find your accommodation?
Cocoonr is an interesting rental website in France.

What’s the most important thing you think of when it comes to finding accommodation as a singer?
Pet friendly – Proximity to the rehearsal space/ costume shop and theatre since our hours are very long – and ideally near a grocery store.

Have you had a chance to explore some galleries or museums?
Except for when we have a longer staging period, during the only day off we prepare the following week, write the notes and take care of a lot of administration. For production teams life on the road is like entering a seminary !


© Barbe & Doucet
Teatro La Fenice
© Barbe & Doucet
Ulisse getting ready for the first run of La Cenerentola. He absolutely loves music.
The Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse

La Cenerentola
Latvian National Opera in Riga /l’Opéra National du Capitole de Toulouse
March 29 – April 7

CONDUCTOR Michele Spotti
LIGHTS Joel Fabing

ANGELINA Adèle Charvet , Floriane Hasler *
DON RAMIRO Levy Sekgapane , Michele Angelini *
DANDINI Florian Sempey , Philippe Estèphe *
DON MAGNIFICO Vincenzo Taormina
ALIDORO Alex Rosen , Adolfo Corrado *
TISBE Julie Pasturaud
CLORINDA Celine Laborie

National Capitol Orchestra

Choir of the Opéra national du Capitole

Co-production with Latvijas Nacionālā Opera un Balets (Riga, Latvia)


The version given by the magician Rossini of Perrault’s famous tale is irresistible.

Tender and burlesque, cruel and touching, the characters are carried away in a frenzied whirlwind of jubilant virtuosity and intoxicating rhythms, where goodness ultimately triumphs. With a breathtaking cast, experienced in Rossinian pyrotechnics and the verve of opera buffa, the new production of Barbe & Doucet , who return after a moving Bohème last season, enchants with its music-hall spirit and its inexhaustible fantasy.

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