The Peter Sellars staging of Vivier's Kopernikus provided the grand finale to a season of the Canadian composer's works at the Festival d'Automne in Paris
Claude Vivier’s ‘ritual opera of death’, Kopernikus, provided the climax to a major Parisian focus on his music at the Festival d’Automne. The staging by Peter Sellars, featuring the vocalists of Roomful of Teeth with Ensemble l’Instant Donné, was presented at the Espace Cardin and in Montreuil, travelling on to the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse. First German performances of the Sellars production are scheduled at the Herrenhausen Arts Festival in Hannover in May.
The Festival d’Automne series was praised in Télérama for giving audiences the rare opportunity to explore Vivier’s works: “intense, poignant, spiritual and engaging... this is an important meeting for the composer and his public, who are discovering a poetry, a light which is highly original.”
“Kopernikus offers the ne plus ultra of the art of Claude Vivier… The whole universe of the Québécois composer is condensed in this work, rich in symbols, at once both physical and dreamlike… Copernicus, who is at the heart of this opera, revealed the double motion of the planets, on themselves and around the sun. It’s the same with this Vivier masterpiece, in revolution around his star of choice: fantasy.”
“Time flies beyond the narrative tread, thanks to Vivier’s subtle melodies and intervallic games… The brass, woodwind, percussion and voices, adopting various modes of delivery, embroider an exquisite canvas of timbres. One is happy to discover this music - beautifully dreamlike, incantory, descending from the starry sky – thanks to the flattering Sellars staging, in the year that the meteoric Vivier would have celebrated his 70th autumn.”
A further production of Vivier’s Kopernikus by Wouter van Looy was presented by the Staatsoper in Berlin in January with performers from the Staatskapelle and the International Opera Studio. This spring brings performances of Lonely Child in Ottawa and Stockholm with soprano Erin Wall joining Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Photo: Festival d'Automne/Vincent Pontet
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