Music theatre (2013)
Two times Gustav Mahler‘s Kindertotenlieder (1901-1904)
and orchestral intermezzi by Richard Wagner
Contralto Oleksandra Turyanska
Masked Noh performance Claude Jamain
Instrumental ensemble Secession Orchestra (15 musicians)
Musical direction Clément Mao-Takacs
Stage direction and lighting Aleksi Barrière
Premiered on March 22, 2013 at the Théâtre de l’Hôpital Bretonneau in Paris.
The Kindertotenlieder are the first-person narrative of a grieving mother’s journey, from the darkness of denial and guilt to the light of acceptance. Gustav Mahler composed them after an authentic testimony, Friedrich Rückert 428 poems about the death of his children. Rückert, one of the great orientalists and a translator or Rûmi, speaks beyond any time or confession, in a simple and graphic language.
This performance offers a double vision (and hearing) of a dense work, through a meditation on grief: first a “chamber opera”, showing the mother, locked up in her appartment, dealing with her loss, followed by a second version, inspired by Noh theatre, where the character’s shadow narrates the stages of her mourning, accompanied by Claude Jamain’s masked choreography. And, in between, the deadly and luminous music of Richard Wagner at the climax of his Buddhist inspiration, so influential to the musical language and the themes of his successor.
Through two visions of a work, two revisited conventions, the aim is to understand how the story of an individual becomes the universal story of any grieving soul.