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DA CAPO(Opus 32)
June 19761h 10'Mixed music


Associating theatre, which lives and breathes only (Hi)story(s), with music, which so easily dispenses with them, may seem an unnatural rapprochement. The good thing about the opera formula was that it deliberately sacrificed the libretto to the music; but the text still carried a weight that has crushed dozens of scores. Accustomed to practising a dialectic between musical imagination and the deciphering of a sound model, I was in turn tempted by a dialogue between gesture and sound. There are two main options in this field today: consider the musician’s gesture as a performance in itself, and organise it, but the theatre runs the risk of being formal. Or to put music on show, to illustrate it, and ballet does this very well. My attempt is also based on this twofold concern: to make the music visible and the gesture audible. But this is neither a concert nor a ballet, despite the invaluable collaboration of a choreographer. The choice of an allegorical action is first and foremost a musical choice. No longer constrained by the text to the lengths inherent in sung theatre, I looked for simple situations that would correspond to the distribution of high and low points that I wanted for the music. Allegory and myth have an open relationship with the imagination, and music is a privileged agent in this relationship. Each scene can therefore be read in several ways, just as each piece of music can be heard according to your mood. As for spoken language, it no longer acts as the bearer of meaning, but as music, or as the scoriae of music.

[Read further]
In this ‘story’ of a human couple promised happiness, then crushed under constraints, and this confrontation between the turbulent fantasy of a ceremonial clown and the heavy presence of a monument to determinism, the show does not claim to demonstrate anything or, above all, to teach anything. These are simply the contrasting elements that music needs to live on stage, and the meaning they deliver is ultimately the one that each spectator attributes to these great commonplaces of human life. To say that since its inception it has practised “da capo” (going back to the beginning) is not to wage war on Progress, but to underline an obvious fact that has first and foremost a musical meaning: music is the art of tricking with repetition. Everyone is free to see this as the image of an art of living…


1 positive organ, 2 drums, 3 medieval reed players, 10 actors, sound set, fixed sounds

First performance

07/15/76 Avignon, Cloître des Célestins, Festival, Atelier Lyrique du Rhin


Commissioned by

Festival d'Avignon, France-Culture, État

Dedicated to

aux autonomistes du monde entier


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