Thursday, 5 March 2015

Performance today : world première of Dai Fujikura's 'Solaris' in Paris

Today, I attended the world première performance of Dai Fujikura's opera Solaris, with a libretto by Sabuto Teshigawara after Stanislas Lem's novel, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris.

It started with silent prelude you had to watch with special glasses. I guess it was supposed to show the journey through the stars to the planet Solaris, but it was rather ineffective. Then the music started, played by the Ensemble InterContemporain (14 musicians ensemble specialized in contemporary music) conducted by Erik Nielsen. The score is an interesting one, not by the pure musical sounds they had to play (as in Le Petit Prince by Michaël Levinas) but by the live electronic device conceived by IRCAM for this opera : it changed original sound to new one that was also projected around the theater through loudspeakers.

Unfortunately, these efforts to design an appropriate sound landscape for this journey to the depths of human sould were ruined by the ineffective staging by librettist-director-choreographer-set-costumes-and-light-designer-dancer Saburo Teshigawara. The unique set was a large box (no props) using all the space stage with the exception of a small part in front of it. The singers were always standing still in front of the box (or at some very specific moments, in the box), while dancers (one for each singer) were 'acting' in the box. The whole evening rather looked like a ballet performance with singers and orchestra, rather than a real opera. This new work definitely deserves a more appropriate staging.

The program book (88 pages) contains :

- complete cast,
- complete crew,
- introduction to the opera,
- synopsis (in French and English),
- an article on the composition of the opera, by Bastien Gallet,
- an article on the opera, by Jérémie Szpirglas,
- an article on Saburo Teshigawara, by Philippe Noisette,
- 'Seeing the unconceivable', by Ulf Langheinrich,
- biographies of all artists, with color photos,
- the complete libretto, in English and French.

A second booklet (48 pages) includes black and white photos of rehearsals.
The two performances in Paris are recorded by France Musique and there should be a broadcast in the next few months, probably on Monday.

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