As a way of celebrating the 80th birthday of Philip Glass this year, Opera Parallèle is staging a production of his hybrid ‘dance-opera’ Les Enfants Terribles, based on the novella by Jean Cocteau. It’s scored for three pianos, and Artistic Director and conductor Nicole Paiement says the story is told by the four singers, as well as two dancers, who extend the roles of brother and sister Paul and Lise.
There’s more information about the four performances, from this Friday night to Sunday afternoon at the Opera Parallele website.
The story was adapted as a film in 1950 by director Jean-Pierre Melville, and for this production director Brian Staufenbiel decided to incorporate yet another layer of storytelling, with footage from a film shoot with the two principal singers in a private home. “It was perfectly natural to make a hybrid-hybrid opera by filming our singers,” Staufenbiel explains, “who are going to be in the film while the dancers are dancing the dance sequences…” Paiement adds: “The way that we’re doing it, the two dancers look quite identical to the characters, so you can actually very much see that they’re just an extension of these characters.” Multimedia is nothing new for O/P, but Staufenbiel says it’s especially useful here: “We’re always showing a type of film, so there’s always something playing with it. It’s not distracting, but actually helping us tell the story, which is a complicated story. So it really helps us tell backstory, and create the environment that they’re in.”