Yesterday, Willy Demeyer, President of the Board of Directors of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège, announced the death of Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera, General and Artistic Director since 2007.
“Under the leadership of Stefano Mazzonis, the Opéra Royal de Wallonie has experienced an unprecedented development in terms of artistic quality, international renown and public support,” Demeyer said. He thanked Stefano Mazzonis for his relentless commitment to the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, its artists and culture.
Demeyer: “The artistic world of Belgium loses one of its most brilliant servants, and Liege mourns one of its great sons.” Stefano Mazzonis was named an honorary citizen of the city a few years ago for his outstanding work.
Liege has always been, and hopefully will continue to be, a safe haven for the sincere opera lover. An opera evening in Liège was always an international event, and in addition to the Belgian opera lovers, there were also visitors from surrounding countries, who went there in one or two-day asylum, fleeing the opera abuses in their own country. No wonder such an evening was rather like a gathering of Dutch expats in Belgium.
As a director, he always had the composer, the librettist and the singers in mind, against the madness of the day. Whether it was Otello, Manon Lescaut, Rigoletto, Macbeth or Aïda, his direction was always about the opera, the composer, the singers, and thus: about his audience. No wonder that famous singers liked to come to Liege to sing.
The captain of the bastion of Liege has fallen, let us hope that the bastion will remain standing.
The death of Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera is not only a great loss for his loved ones, his collaborators and his countless admirers, but also a disaster for what remains of artistic integrity in Western European opera houses.