from Vienna to Sainte-Hélène Island

from Vienna to Sainte-Hélène Island
from Vienna to Sainte-Hélène Island

“There are a lot of people at the Grand Théâtre at the moment walking around, watching the rack costumes and who wonder what this show is,” explains with a laugh Émily Wahlman, responsible for dressing the artists of this new lyrical production.

The stage adaptation imagined by director Bertrand Alain, who already directed Don Giovanni two years ago, is indeed far from the ball gowns and tails traditionally expected in this work.

“The French version of the story is set in 1867, at the time of the Universal Exhibition in Paris,” he explains. There, I told myself that I had my luck: it was going to happen in Quebec in 1967.”

The opportunity is ideal to evacuate certain aspects of the booklet which would have aged less well.

“I found that the references to ballet, which are very present in the original version, were less like us. The “young dancer who is looked after by old men” side was more or less interesting today. The long-handed macho… not that it doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s not something that amuses us so much,” admits the director.

“I wanted there to be, in our version, images that would make people remember it,” he adds, confiding that he was often disappointed when seeing the work on stage or in the theater. screen.

“That’s when I said to myself that the bat, for us, could be Batman, but the Batman of the 1960s. The opera therefore takes place in a costume party. Eisenstein is the Penguin and Falke is the Batman.”

Spectators will be treated to something very spectacular in terms of costumes, each singer personifying a more or less known figure from popular culture. “It’s very colorful, it borders on kitsch sometimes,” rejoices Ms. Wahlman. In the second act, the goal is for the audience to say “my god, that’s so and so in the show I listened to when I was young!”

Julie Lévesque, who is responsible for the scenography, also had a great time. “I won’t reveal any punches, but I’m not into conventional colors and proportions,” warns the one who says she was inspired “by certain pavilions that were built on Sainte-Hélène Island during the Expo.”

“I also treat myself to a nice little trip accessories, in order to color things to have a “comic book” side,” she adds.

“Pleasure is really the key word in this production, far from the staging sometimes trash Artwork. Bertrand Alain remembers a particularly sinister French version. “Orlofsky is undergoing chemotherapy, he doesn’t have a hair left, he’s walking around with his IV pole… It’s funny, isn’t it?” he says ironically.

Making people laugh is not given to everyone, admits the man who we have seen as much in the summer theater as in more classic comedies.

“We need to know how we can fill in what may be holes in the story,” explains Mr. Alain. In comedy, there are moments when we act clownish and there are moments when the story has to move forward. We have to find how we manage the transition from one to the other so that the viewer doesn’t lose track.”

The main roles will be played by baritone Dominique Côté (Eisenstein), soprano Jessica Latouche (Rosaline), bass-baritone Dominic Veilleux (Dr Falke), soprano Catherine St-Arnaud (Adèle) and mezzo-soprano Marie-Andrée Mathieu (Prince Orlofsky), all under the direction of chef Nicolas Ellis.



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