Saturday, April 17, 2021

Paris Opera members take their talents to a different level

PARIS – For the past one year, opera lovers around the world have had little choice to re-show favorite productions and performances through their screens at home, but singers, musicians and dancers at the Paris Opera for an epistemic life All have continued while keeping their peace. Three members of the company described their experiences.

For Jose Luis Basso, The chorus master at the Paris Opera since 2014, even the French pennant had not prepared for the attacks.

“From one day to the next, we stuck ourselves at home,” he recalled in a telephone conversation. “It was dramatic. A singer needs to practice and vocal every day, and this is not so easy in a city like Paris where you have neighbors and building rules. To a certain dismay, he did these short videos as a way of expressing his anguish without work. “

For the most ambitious video, Mr. Basso, who directs and occasionally directs the group, brought 52 of the 110 members of the chorus to record “personal videos”.Nesun DormaFrom “Puccini’s” Turandot. “The performances were cobbled together, named” To Thank You “and dedicated to health and other frontline activists. Then, in September, following a temporary lack of infection in France, the chorus was released from two of the company’s theaters. Recalled in Palais Garnier And Oprah Bastille.

“At first there was real fear, almost hysteria, about passing the virus,” Mr. Baiso said, “but people are more relaxed now. No operas were programmed in the fall, so we were ada ‘ And started preparing for new productions of ‘Involved Faust’, which included several works as the chorus plays a big role in both operas. “

Despite a second wave of infection, which began and continues in the fall, “Ada” and “Faust” are staged and streamed, with all the lead singers wearing masks. “At first we didn’t know what to use the mask for,” Mr. Baiso said, “but eventually we opted for two – one for walking around the theater and the other for singing that would be about voice projection and words. Allows understanding. “

Nevertheless, some medical experts maintain that we should learn to live with Kovid, even when the “normal” opera performance resumes, masks and orchestra pits don’t disappear any time soon. “I have asked myself,” said Mr. Basso, 55, who returns in June to become chorus master at the San Carlo Opera House in Naples, Italy, “Will our choral work be like this in the future?”

Prima Ballerina at the Paris Opera Ballet 32-year-old Valentine Collasante was greatly relieved when his general teachers began taking lessons as soon as the lockdown began. “It enabled us to maintain our routines, with coaching, dancing, muscle strengthening, and morning classes for more specific exercises in the afternoon,” she told in a telephone interview. It also meant that we were in good physical condition when we could start work. “

He came in September when the Ballet Corps returned to his home in Palais Garnier, although still not allowed to perform before the full house. Rather, with opera productions, “La bidaire“In December, Annual festival In January and “Le Parc” were recorded for rebellion in this month. “One is very aware that there is no one there,” said Ms. Colasante, “but you try to like everyone who is working online.”

Kovid precautions also require wearing masks for the rehearsal and “ballet parade” of the gala. “It’s the only solution we have if we want to keep on training,” she said. “When asked for some very intense effort, we can remove the masks, but we keep them on most of the time. This is restricted, but it means that we can return to the Palais Garnier by train. We are artists and we have to be ready when things return to normal. “

Like members of the Paris Opera Chorus and Orchestra, the ballet company found its way of saying “mercy” to health and other frontline workers. In this case, some 60 dancers were invited to improvise at home – in kitchens, halls or gardens – on a passage from Prokofiev’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet”. Using the smartphone, he recorded himself or, as in the case of Ms. Colasante, recorded by a partner. Film director Kedrick Klapik then edited his moves in four minutes, 39-seconds. Video.

“Everyone was very excited about doing this as a sincere tribute to the health workers who briefly appear in the scarlet dressing gowns,” said Ms. Colasante. “I think we can all express our feelings Wanted to express what we were sharing our lives, to tell a story with our bodies. And I have my own four minutes as a permanent record for myself. “

Immediately after a long strike at the Paris Opera with the lockout of last March, “We were already spending too much time at home,” Nicholas Chatenet remembered. Still, perhaps resigned to a new standstill of three months, as the opera’s first solo trumpeter he decided to make good use of the time “what I could not do while I was in the orchestra.”

So when the members of the orchestra decided that they, too, would make a video dedicated to health workers, he was eager to participate. “We wanted to do something that was emotionally and emotionally telling how we felt about the people at home who were working,” explained 35-year-old Mr. Chetnet.

When the orchestra welcomed a small piece, the question of playing was resolvedStorm“” Mr. Cheatnett composed for a brass ensemble in 2014. After a coworker orchestrated and trimmed the score, 71 Instrumentalists were challenged to record it live on a smartphone.

“I thought we would have to help with the sound, but we were amazed that it sounded really good,” he said. Images of nurses, doctors, hospital wards and ambulances finalized Video Called “after the storm”.

In the summer, restrictions on movements were relaxed, and Mr. Chatnett joined the opera orchestra for a live batch concert in September, and in October two concerts by Richard Strauss and Schoenberg preceded a limited audience and the company’s outgoing music director’s baton. Under, Philip Jordan.

The main program of the orchestra for the 2020–21 season, however, was Wagner’s “ring” cycle. When a planned stage production directed by Calixo Beatoito was canceled by Kovid, the cycle was broadcast on radio, again operated by Mr. Jordan. Mr. Chanet’s bad luck was that he caught the virus in the music conservatory where he teaches, and was forced into isolation when his trumpet sounded “Ride of the Vulkries”.

His chance to re-engage his orchestra came with “Ada” last month. “It was strange to be together again,” he said, “to recapture the feeling that we had when we used to play together every week.” But even though Mr. Chetnett never stopped practicing, the break brought an unexpected plus. “We have a 7-month-old baby,” he said, “so I’ve been given a lot of time to get to know him. I was very lucky about it.”

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