José Evangelista, music | Alexis Nouss, libretto | Joseph Saint-Gelais, Pauline Vaillancourt, stage direction and stage design | Marianne Thériault, costumes | Jacques-Lee Pelletier, make-up
Ghislaine Deschambault, mezzo-soprano | Huizi Wang, percussion
Collaboration with Homage Series to José Evangelista, initiated by the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ).
June 1, 2, 8, 9, 19, 2018, Salle de concert — Conservatoire, Montréal
“If you can’t pray, tell a story. If you don’t know one, sing. If you don’t know how to sing, learn silence.” In the middle of a desert, a dream or a memory, an old wise man imparted his secret to anyone who would listen. For everyone else, the wind blew and drew shapes in the sand of days gone by.
— Alexis Nouss
I find myself thinking about and dwelling on these powerful phrases, excerpts from the libretto by Larry Tremblay.
Monodrama for voice and percussion by composer José Evangelista, with libretto by Alexis Nouss, La Porte draws inspiration from the tales of various traditions found in Franz Kafka’s famous text Before the Law. In an atmosphere of Pagan ritual, behind 25 candles to complete the setting, the singer brings these poetic fables to life to the mesmerizing rhythm of the percussion.
Created by soprano Pauline Vaillancourt and by Julien Grégoire on percussion for a LES ÉVÉNEMENTS DU NEUF concert in 1987 in Montréal, the opera was performed many times in Canada and in France (at La Péniche Opéra among other venues) until 1998.
Thirty years after its creation, the work is being reprised in June 2018 by two young performers, mezzo-soprano Ghislaine Deschambault and percussionist Huizi Wang, in a stage production by Pauline Vaillancourt inspired by Joseph Saint-Gelais’ 1987 version.