"Kopernikus", a work in revolution around fantasy


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"Kopernikus" by Claude Vivier, directed by Peter Sellars. VINCENT PONTET

Initiated – in a spiritual sense, if not religious – to the music of Claude Vivier (1948-1983) planning, from September, five vocal and instrumental works chosen with judgment, the faithful of the Autumn Festival could estimate, Tuesday, December 4, who had the privileged keys to access the understanding of the work Kopernikus given, until December 8th, at the Espace Cardin, in Paris. The entire universe of the composer of Quebec is condensed in this work, rich in symbols, both digital (score of 70 minutes for 7 singers and 7 instrumentalists) oneiric (apparitions of angels, "Showy" is "Visionaries").

Read the picture: All the ghosts of Claude Vivier

From the libretto, from which numerous incantations emerge in a language invented by the composer, to the music itself, based on the delicate fusion of the most heterogeneous sources,Kopernikus offers the maximum in the art of Claude Vivier. From this point of view, the work created in Montreal in 1980 could disorient the unsuspecting public. This fear is evacuated as soon as you enter the room. On the stage lit by small yellow lamps, a man is lying, like a liar. There is no need to consult the program to guess while we will participate in "Rite of Death", according to the subtitle of the work.

From the libretto to the music itself " Kopernikus " offers the maximum in the art of Claude Vivier

Once the audience is installed, the performers take place on set, the singers in the foreground around being inanimate and the instrumentalists in the crowns above them, behind small black tables. All are dressed in white. The show begins. The face of a young woman appears in a small television wedged under the bed of the still man, as if to blow a few reassuring words to him. It evokes a bright future, when "A sweet melody, a sweetness always murmured by a loving mother" he will come to awaken the one to whom he is addressed. So it stops and starts the musical action.

Like the sages holding a precious offering in their hands (the partition that runs on a digital tablet), the singers approach the lifeless body in turn to breathe life into it. Returning from words, literally, with many incongruous broadcasts, whistles and beats of the lips, the song imagined by Vivier possesses the hypnotic force of a purifying ritual. And, at the same time, the incredible freshness of a child's game. The instrumental dimension is of the same order, paradoxical. Harmonies and timbres derive from highly sophisticated writing, but their expression resides in the naive.


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