Prize for Opera 2018
Trois Contes © Alwyne de Dardel i
Trois contes (Three Tales) is a chamber opera composed by Gérard Pesson, on a libretto written and staged by David Lescot. It is a free adaptation of three narratives: The Princess and the Pea by Andersen, The Devil in the Belfry by E. Poe, and Laura Foschini’s novel Proust’s Overcoat (2010). The three parts of the triptych are separate but share some common elements, themes and symbols (including the figure of the stranger). The stage set will enable to move from one act to another without interrupting the performance. Each act will exemplify a different relation between text and music.
In The Princess and the Pea, a Prince comes back from a trip round the world without having found his dream princess. During a storm, a young woman asks for shelter in the castle. The queen has her sleep on a pile of 20 mattresses and 20 duvets, under which she has placed a pea… The Prince and the young woman will be happily married, and the pea will be displayed in the Carnavalet Museum, where Proust’s overcoat is also kept.
Proust’s Overcoat is an enquiry about the survival or disappearance of Proust’s personal belongings after his death: his manuscripts, his furniture, but also his famous overcoat. We meet the writer’s brother, who looked after the publication of Proust’s novel, his sister-in-law who, once widowed, destroyed everything she judged obscene, the rich collector Jacques Guérin who bent himself backwards in order to gather objects having belonged to his idol. The story starts in the basement of the Carnavalet Museum.
The Devil in the Belfry tells how the routines of the citizens of Vondervotteimittis were broken by the intrusion of a violin-playing devil in their belfry… This tale, full of caustic irony, will have the same structure as the short story: a lecture, with a narrator and a group of six voices which comment on it. The arrival of the devil will be a choreographic moment. Visual and musical elements will reflect Poe’s ironic distance.
As a composer, Gérard Pesson has always been fascinated by literature, Proust in particular. David Lescot, the author of several plays, is also a stage director and musician. Since 2016, they have worked in close collaboration on the libretto and the score. To complete his team (set, lighting, costumes), David Lescot has also recruited video artist Serge Meyer. On stage: - 6 young French singers, whose talent was confirmed in traditional productions but who can also sing contemporary madrigals - Famous Belgian actor Jos Houben, who is also known as a director and who regularly works with contemporary composers - Japanese dancer Kaori Ito, a multidisciplinary artist, a dancer and choreographer but also an actress, drama coach and video artist. The orchestra will be the Ensemble Ictus, based in Brussels. Founded in 1994, it specializes in contemporary music.
Librettist and Stage director
Alwyne de Dardel
De Villoutreys Maïlys
De Hys Enguerrand