Robert le Diable, the first opera in French by Giacomo Meyerbeer, was inspired by the medieval legend of the Norman duke Robert, with at its heart the eternal struggle between good and evil. With its supernatural subject matter, the libretto by Scribe and Delavigne brings together many of the themes that were so characteristic of the spirit of the Romantic era. The long-awaited opening night in 1831 was an unparalleled triumph. Balzac described Meyerbeer’s operas as ‘the temple of illusion and miracles’, an apt description of this grand opera à la française, which demanded all the resources of the stage on a grand scale. The orchestral score, full of powerful contrasts and impressive choral passages, is in good hands with the conductor Evelino Pidò, making a contribution to the Meyerbeer revival of the last decade. With Robert le Diable and Frankenstein on the bill at La Monnaie, supernatural phenomena and fantastic creatures will be to the fore this spring.