Louis Paul Boon, a Flemish writer known for working-class novels, often with a hint of eroticism, published Menuet in 1955.
It is the story of a married couple of modest means—he is a factory worker specialising in the chemical industry, she is a dissatisfied, adulterous housewife who hires a young maidservant of around twelve, full of energy and the freshness of youth.
However, an early life of hardship has taught the girl to be canny, as well as cynical and perverse at times. It is she who calls the tune with a master racked with desire for her and a jealous mistress who wants nothing more than to throw her out
of the house.
The impact of this opera, composed by Daan Janssens and directed by Fabrice Murgia, comes from seeing the same psychodrama three times from the three protagonists’ unique and subjective viewpoints, a device that may remind some of the diverse narratives in Rashomon, Kurosawa’s masterpiece.