Francis Poulenc (1959)
Lesley Garrett makes her return to the operatic stage in a work of rare originality and stark emotional honesty.
A woman is sprawled alone on her bed. ‘It looks like the scene of a murder’ said Jean Cocteau, who wrote the play on which Poulenc’s opera is based. But the woman isn’t dead. She gets up and makes to leave, when the phone rings. It is her ex-lover. During the next 40 minutes we hear one side of an increasingly desperate conversation in which the woman tries anything to win him back. But it’s no use – she can’t get through to him. He hangs up, and she’s left whispering ‘Je t’aime’ to nobody.
La voix humaine is short in length, but not on emotional impact. Through the lone voice of the woman, Poulenc expresses all the pain and fear of rejection in the rawest fashion, whilst enveloping her voice in music of caressing warmth and sensuality.
Aletta Collins returns to Opera North to direct this one woman show, which will showcase Lesley Garrett’s talent in this heartbreaking portrayal of a relationship’s breakdown.
Sung in English
Lasts approximately 40 minutes
La Voix Humaine is presented in a double-bill with Dido and Aeneas with a 25 minute interval between the productions.