How did your collaboration on this opera project with Mathilde Côté begin? Mathilde and I met in our teens, at the Petite-Vallée song camp. Since then, we have collaborated on many projects, and as soon as she told me about La nuit est ma femme, I knew that I absolutely had to be a part of it.
Tell us about the libretto for this opera
The libretto explores the life and work of Kerouac, his relationship with the French and English languages, his identity, his muses, etc. It draws parallels between certain works written by the author to highlight the common threads that run through their themes.
How do you work with the composer?
We have a very close connection, there is a lot of discussion, laughter, sharing of ideas. It’s an enriching collaboration, but above all a great friendship.
What are the stakes involved in writing a contemporary opera libretto?
Like all the living arts in our era, opera is challenged by the fast consumer culture that has taken over our modern societies. Traditionally, librettists and composers were happy to suspend the passage of time, to explore the complexity of human emotions. The greatest challenge today is to strike a balance between a captivating narrative background and moments of suspension and reflection.
Your favourite instrument?
Cello, viola and double bass. I could not choose among the three. I am also very fond of traditional oriental instruments such as the ney flute or darbouka drum.
Latest favourite CD, show, exhibition, series or film?
Without seeking to preach to my own parish, the latest Atelier lyrique performance was truly outstanding. My colleagues provided a rendition of A Turn of the Screw that will make your blood run cold. The interpretation, the voices, the orchestra conducted by the brilliant Nicolas Ellis, the gloomy mood… everything was right on. I love productions where the singers are very close to the audience, so we can feel the vibration of their voices in our bones, it is even more exalting!
An excerpt of LA NUIT EST MA FEMME will be presented at Oper’Actuel – Works in progress 2019.