Lyric Solitude: 1

5 Nov 7.30pm
Lyric Solitude: 1 5 Nov 7.30pm

English Touring Opera are thrilled to return to live performance this Autumn, with a programme focussing on the voice of the individual in isolation, on the power of song, and of poetry – with responses to that power in dance, image and drama.

La Voix Humaine (Poulenc)
A Waterbird Talk (Argento)

Total duration 90 mins

La Voix Humaine (Poulenc)
Poulenc’s final opera, written for the extraordinary soprano Denise Duval, is based on Jean Cocteau’s play. The opera (45 minutes) is the last conversation between a young woman and her lover, who is abandoning her. Through her little lies, and his thunderous lies, the truth of their relationship becomes clear. It is an overwhelming account of love, and love’s ending. Soprano Paula Sides is ‘the human voice’, partnered by Sergey Rybin on the piano and directed by James Conway.

A Waterbird Talk (Argento)
In the course of an illustrated lecture on the mating habits of water fowl, an ornithologist (baritone Julien Van Mellaerts) describes his oppressive marriage. Each song-like section of the drama describes a different species, and onto each he projects his own feelings – to the evident concern of his wife in the audience, whose bird-like coughs interrupt his lyric digressions. Light hearted and melancholy in equal measure, it is an ideal complement to La Voix Humaine.

Susan Bickley, widely regarded as one of the most accomplished mezzo-sopranos of her generation, makes her directorial debut, and the pianist is Ella O’Neill. Sung in English. Adapted by Dominick Argento from the On the Harmfulness of Tobacco by Anton Chekov and The Birds of America by J. J. Audobon. A contemporary opera, premiered in 1977.

‘impressive and moving’
‘deeply rewarding and highly recommended’
– Telegraph

‘wonderfully lucid singing’
– Guardian

Hackney Empire


Full Credits:

La Voix Humaine (Poulenc)
Singer: Paula Sides
Pianist: Sergey Rybin
Director: James Conway

A Waterbird Talk (Argento)
Singer: Julien Van Mellaerts
Pianist: Ella O’Neill
Director: Susan Bickley

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