Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Voices of Desire and Despair; OPERA

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Voices of Desire and Despair; OPERA

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK KIMBERLEY

Theatre Francais de la Musique:

La Voix Humaine

Royal Opera House

FOR an opera company, double bills are a headache. Do you yoke works that share theme or style, or do you go for contrast?

Theatre Francais de la Musique's London showcase takes the latter option, in the process showing love at its two extremes. To open, in Poulenc's 1959 setting of Cocteau's La voix humaine, a woman spends 45 minutes on the phone to her (unheard) lover, who wants to ditch her.

Then, lest we descend into existential despair, in an enchanting piece of froth from 80 years earlier, Chabrier's Une education manquee, two newlyweds seek advice on what to do on their wedding night. Unenlightened, they let lust show the way.

The pairing works well, although reversing the order might make for a more satisfying emotional trajectory, especially since Pierre Jourdan's staging of the Chabrier treats it as anodyne drawing-room comedy. …

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