Five operas in the making to discover during the Oper’Actuel shows

The first 15 minutes of five operas – including one by Keiko Devaux, who was crowned composer of the year at the last Opus awards – will be presented at each of the three performances offered, in addition to the excerpt from Backstage at Carnegie Hall.

For all tastes

Providing a playground for people creating lyrical art and giving them the opportunity to test their work, but also to explore new avenues: this is one of the objectives of Oper’Actuel, organized by the company Montreal lyrical creation company Chants libre.

Marie-Annick Béliveau is an opera singer and artistic director of Chants Libres.

Photo: Free songs

There are many parameters to take into account when composing, and composers have not always had the opportunity to accumulate a lot of experienceexplains mezzo-soprano Marie-Annick Béliveau, who is also artistic director of Chants Libres.

Oper’Actuel allows them to see if their work holds up or if there are pitfalls in the text, she adds. Afterwards, maybe the composer will continue their project, modify it or realize that the orchestrations do not work, or […] prefer to entrust the main role to a male rather than a female voice.

The event also gives young opera singers the opportunity to hone their skills in a contemporary repertoire that they are not used to.

Not only does Oper’Actuel show that opera is renewing itself and that it is not limited to classics such as Madame Butterfly Where La Traviatabut it also highlights the diversity of lyrical creation, which ranges from opera to musical theater through works approaching the register of musical comedy.There is something for every tastesummarizes Marie-Annick Béliveau.

A creation by Montrealer Keiko Devaux

This year, the public will thus be able to get a glimpse of Listening to the Lost, composed by Keiko Devaux and directed by Marie Brassard, who worked for a long time with Robert Lepage. Presented in its final version in 2023, this opera does not follow a traditional narrative structure. It is rather a set of paintings articulated around a collection of texts on the theme of silence, according to Marie-Annick Béliveau.

A woman with long black hair wears a black camisole.

Keiko Devaux is a contemporary music composer.

Photo: Robin Pineda

Other Canadian creation: The thickness of silence. This 15-minute piece, which could become more elaborate in the future, is the fruit of a beautiful encounter that took place on stage during a previous Oper’Actuel between British Columbian pianist Jesse Plessis and Alberta-born soprano Brittany Rae. . The vocal part was created by the singer herself, she points out. Giving a creative role to performers is my workhorse.

Initially, Marie-Annick Béliveau was not to sing this year for Oper’Actuel, but as Marco-Antonio Pérez-Ramirez composed Sprung – mis brujerías led by this mezzo-soprano, the latter will therefore take the stage in a duo with a bass clarinet. It’s going to be a bit primitive and reminiscent of sacred rituals, she explains. We are more in research-creation.

With Future Gamesthe Italian Nicola Straffelini will offer lyrical art approaching the operetta. It will even be quite theatrical, says Marie-Annick Béliveau. The voices are written so as to be close to declamation. The booklet is quite funny.

Finally, The nut and the diamond, composed by the Lithuanian Vytautas Bucionis, will close the march of these five partly performed operas. This composer intends to finish the rest of this fable, which features a princess and a queen.

The three performances of Oper’Actuel will take place on August 27, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and on August 28, at 2 p.m., at the Théâtre Rouge du Conservatoire, located in Montreal. Soloists Sarah Albu, Émilie Daoust-Versailles, Raphaël Laden-Guindon and Frédéricka Petit-Homme will also sing, in addition to Marie-Annick Béliveau and Brittany Rae.

As for the musical interpretation, it will be provided by the Montreal musical ensemble Paramirabo.

Tickets are on sale for $10 on the Chants libres website. (New window).

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