As part of a commented recital in the foyer, on a program bringing together Offenbach, Ravel and (among others) Tailleferre, Parisian schoolchildren discover the Opéra Comique from an astute angle with members of the Nouvelle Troupe Favart.
As part of the hearth of thecomical operashared reflections, meditation session and opera (and variety) tunes are on the menu of the “Mécanopéra” at the start of autumn.
But why “Mechanopera”? We had to wait until the end of the recital to get the answer, with the question and answer session between the children, the soloists, and Lucie Martinez (In charge of cultural mediation whose role is to make remarks, observations between each tune to explain , expose to understand the meaning of events). A fusion between “mechanics” and “opera”, this performance halfway between a recital and a lesson (in humour) aims, according to pianist Marine Thoreau La Salle, to “showing the audience behind the scenes, the things you don’t usually see in opera, its different mechanics”.
Chose promised, chose due, a program of fables set to music by Offenbach, Lecocq and Benjamin Godard skillfully sung and even embodied by mezzo-soprano Anna Reinhold and tenor François Rougier. Nine arias in total, with (in addition to the three mentioned above), Maurice Ravel setting Jules Renard to music in The peacockEmmanuel Chabrier putting Edmond Rostand to music in Ballad of the big turkeysManuel Rosenthal setting Michel Veber to music in Grammar. Finally, Boris Vian and his Atomic Bomb Java as well as The gorilla of Brassens. If the laughter of the toddlers is rather mocking at first (because for the majority it was their first time at the opera) as they go along, their ears let themselves be carried away by the performance of the three artists in front of them, they finish everything completely sincere.
Throughout, François Rougier maintains an Olympian calm in the room, imposing himself thanks to his powerful, almost authoritative timbre and his vigorous incarnation of the characters. As nimble in his rich highs as he is in his sultry lows, he stays at ease using his lead voice in “Watch out for the gorilla” by Brassens, to contrast and add a little more comedy to this already hilarious tune.
He even manages to surprise the whole assembly, when he proposes, in the middle of the concert, a meditation/sophrology session aimed at calming his pre-adolescent audience a little, which is beginning to lose patience. Bet won, everyone ends up relaxed, after stretching their legs, their necks, and a few breathing exercises where even the pianist, the commentator and her colleague Anna Reinhold lend themselves to the game.
In the same vein, every two pieces, a series of questions by the mediator aims to make children reflect, both on everyday life and on fundamental issues, from war to racism and more. by harassment. This question-and-answer game where the children respond authentically to the questions related to the themes proposed by Lucie Martinez, also makes it possible to introduce the following tunes interpreted by the two soloists.
Pianist Marine Thoreau La Salle accompanies them on the piano and like them musically interprets the characters, from the turkey who misses a note to signify that he stumbles, to the fly who uses trills to show his speed to the audience. She even goes so far as to give the cue and make her voice heard by the public during the penultimate aria to warn against the gorilla, alongside Francois Rougier.
After continuing the question and answer game by asking the audience what loyalty means to them, Anna Reinhold offers an energetic performance of “No, loyalty” by the composer, too little known to the general public, Germaine Tailleferre. Her dazzling mezzo-soprano voice and her mastery of vibrato, sometimes large, sometimes absent depending on the characters embodied and the registers, do justice to her diction allowing the greatest number of people to better internalize the messages conveyed by her tunes. The last, “The Java of the Atomic Bombs” by Boris Vian, interpreted by the two singers, concludes the morning with humor (very welcome and even cathartic in the global context).
This audience, also very demanding, thanks the three soloists with an ovation that has nothing to envy to those resounding at the moment in the great hall of thecomical opera for Lakmeand the whole thing ends this time with a reversal of roles: it is the spectators, from the youngest to the oldest, who ask the artists questions “Can you rap? Where did this passion for singing come from? Are you embarrassed when you have to perform in front of an audience? So many questions that remain in the minds of children and find answers here that are anything but mechanical.
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Fables, variety and youth in the Mecan’Opéra Comique – News – Ôlyrix
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