Pierre Bartholomee - Oedipe sur la route
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Label: Evidence Classics
Cat No: EVCD011
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 29th June 2015
ArtistsJose Van Dam
Symphony Orchestra of La Monnaie
Evidence Classics presents the world première recording of Pierre Bartholomée's 'Oedipe sur la route', based on the 1990 novel by Henry Bauchau and commissioned by La Monnaie.
An opera in four acts, 'Oedipe' was first staged in March 2003 in a performance conducted by Daniele Callegari with stage direction by Philippe Sireuil. José Van Dam sang the title role with a superb cast of soloists that included Italian soprano Valentina Valente in a disturbingly beautiful contemporary work that explores the themes of man and fate.
'Oedipe sur la route' calls for considerable musical and stage forces: a symphony orchestra, a chorus (generally invisible), 12 solo singers, two silent actors and a few extras. There are four acts. The first has something of a very free sonata form. Oedipus wants to leave, go 'anywhere outside of Thebes'. Antigone follows him. Clios, a bandit, suddenly appears and attacks Antigone. Fight. Oedipus brings him down. Clios tells about Alcyon, enemy clans, the mountains, the drama of his life. Oedipus and Antigone listen, dumbfounded. The story is tragic. Fragile bonds are formed. Clios wants to accompany Oedipus. They will henceforth be three on the road to 'no matter where'.
A sea interlude leads to Act II, a sort of dramatic scherzo. Oedipus works and raves. In the midst of a storm, he works furiously. He wants to sculpt 'a boat and its rowers' in the immense cliff face overhanging the sea.
In Act III, the 'slow movement', Oedipus seeks to return to the community of men. He meets Diotima the sibyl. She wants to deliver him from himself: 'you are clear-voiced'. He sings to her of Jocasta and the Sphinx. It is learnt that the plague is invading the villages. Diotima sends Oedipus to care for the ailing. He soon falls victim to the terrible disease. Death is at hand. In an offering of his whole being, Calliope brings him back to life.
'The night dogs', final interlude, a haunting evocation of one of the most gripping collateral narratives of the novel, leads into Act IV, that of the fulfilment: Oedipus arrives in Colona and enters the Sacred Wood. He is henceforth 'clairvoyant'. The final song, adieus: it is the end of the road.
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