The Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège and the Institut Royal Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie (IMEP) are stepping up their collaboration in the field of opera.

Founded in 1970, theInstitut Royal Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie (IMEP) occupies a campus in Namur specially dedicated to the teaching of music, and singing in particular. A place for exchange and encounters that defines itself as open to the world and current musical and social practices, the IMEP is a major player in the training of young artists in French-speaking Belgium.

The Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège has enjoyed a close working relationship with IMEP for many years, giving their students, both singers and instrumentalists, the opportunity to take part in a number of productions. By immersing themselves in the rehearsal process, in contact with conductors and members of the Orchestra or Choir, the students are able to familiarise themselves with their future profession and its specificities, while perfectly integrating the IMEP motto “Practice at the heart of learning”.

The two institutions wished to intensify their already fruitful collaboration by setting up a Professionalization Partnership in the field of opera.

Corresponding to the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège’s desire to develop its investment in the training and support of young artists, this ambitious project follows on from the opening by the IMEP of a new Advanced Class in Lyric Art entrusted to the soprano Patrizia Ciofi from the 2023-2024 academic year.

Patrizia Ciofi is a leading opera personality, a regular on our stage and an experienced teacher. She will be the link between the two institutions and will be responsible for coordinating a comprehensive programme of support for students, based around high-level courses and master classes.

Alongside the teaching organised by the IMEP, the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège will offer students enrolled in this section and selected on the basis of their artistic qualities the opportunity to put their learning directly into practice in several productions, during rehearsals and performances. Working closely with Patrizia Ciofi, the students will be integrated into the performances, thus playing a full part in the Opera’s dynamic. In particular, they will have the opportunity toperform small roles in operas and shows for young audiences, but also to devote themselves to in-depth study of roles as close as possible to their creation. In the immediate future, several roles in the productions for young audiences Figaro, le Barbier du Bois joli (January 2024) and Patiente, mon cœur (May 2024) may already be entrusted to them. This approach will be intensified in the seasons to come.

The Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège will also be involved in the jury for the admission tests, which will be held on the Opéra stage at the beginning of September. Having the Opéra as a venue for the auditions will provide an ideal context for the collaboration between the two institutions, and will also give it greater visibility.

Finally, the IMEP has proposed to the Namur Cultural Centre that 8 productions a year be relocated to the Grand Manège. In this context, productions in collaboration with the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège could also be envisaged for the greater benefit of young artists and both institutions.