Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) still fascinates us in the era of turbocapitalism. His humble, sunny disposition, his tender love for creation, the audacity of his vocation rooted in the Gospel are all part of the mythical image we have of Saint Francis of Assisi today. The French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908.1992) wrote this opera about this “poor little monk” and great seeker of God’s truth in 1983. The piece resonates deeply and singularly with all the characteristics of the believer, composer and committed Roman Catholic that was Messiaen: “I’ve always preferred to work with what could contain miracles, colour and birdsong.” Saint François d’Assise, a work of awe-inspiring ambitions and proportions, will be staged by world-famous French contemporary visual artist, Adel Abdessemed, born in 1971 in Constantine (Algeria). The work of this artist rips up polarities. It gravitates between peace and adoration, hope and damnation, hell and heaven, with heaven remaning the only antidote against the barbarity of our times. This first performance in Switzerland of Messiaen’s only opera will be conducted by Jonathan Nott, musical and artistic director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.