A rare opportunity to see L’ÉCUME DES JOURS by Edison Denisov. Oper Stuttgart’s directing team Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito bring out the contemporary drama in a work that moves freely between avant-garde musical styles, opera, jazz and elements inspired by musicals.
For his ‘lyrical drama’, Denisov adapted Boris Vian’s love story L’ÉCUME DES JOURS (FROTH ON THE DAYDREAM), which, after its publication in 1946 under the same name, reached cult status in the Sixties and Seventies. Born in Siberia in 1929, Denisov has been considered as one of the most independent and creative musicians in the Soviet Union. His composition, which he set himself to a libretto in French, was premiered in Paris in 1984. With it he proved his belief that ‘it is possible to compose in such a way that the music can be sung without falling back to old-fashioned traditionalism’.
L’ÉCUME DES JOURS tells the moving story of young and wealthy Colin, who seemingly enjoys his easy-going life with his friends whilst he is at the same time haunted by fear and loneliness. When he meets – and shortly afterwards marries – the lovely Chloé, his happiness seems complete. Not long after the wedding, however, Dr. Mangemanche diagnoses the growth of a life-threatening water-lily in Chloé’s lungs. In order to cure her, Chloé has to constantly surround herself with flowers. After spending all his money on the much-needed flowers, Colin finds himself financially ruined. In order to save his beloved Chloé, he is prepared, however, to go through hell.
Edison Denisov created his protagonists Colin and Chloé along the lines of other famous couples from the world of mythology and literature, like Tristan and Iseult, Romeo and Juliet or Pelléas and Mélisande. In his composition Denisov interspersed the melodious opera scenes with musical-like chorus parts and chansons as well as elements by legendary Jazz musician Duke Ellington. His opera combines liturgical a-capella-movements and a strong presence of chiming bells with the liturgical traditions of the Orthodox Church.