Montréal, Thursday, February 14, 2013 — Chants Libres is inviting you to (re) discover one of the masterworks of its repertoire, L’Enfant des glaces (The Ice Child) , an electr’opera by Zack Settel and Pauline Vaillancourt, lauded by the critics at the world premiere in September 2000 at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and in 2002 at 6 Tage Oper in Düsseldorf, Germany. The opera will be presented for 3 nights only at the Gesù, February 28, March 1 and 2, 2013 at 8 PM during Montréal/ Nouvelles Musiques and Montréal en Lumière festivals.
Chants Libres’ Artistic Director, Pauline Vaillancourt, thought it was timely to remount this opera, a piece that she conceived and directed based on an archaeological discovery made in 1999 at 6 739 meters of altitude, in the Andes mountains, and which was covered by the media throughout the world: 5 centuries after the sacrifice of three children by Incan priests on an Argentinean summit, three tiny mummies were found intact, immortalized in the ice. One of those three children will be brought back to life in this opera.
The result is an impressive contemporary and timeless allegorical fresco on the state of the world and the impact of humanity. The libretto is made up of fragments of two poems by the 17th century Spanish writer, Francisco Gomez de Quevedo and the French poet Gérard De Nerval. Translated into Armenian, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Finnish and Pular, the two texts have been modified and transformed into sonic material, and integrated into the refined electroacoustic score by Zack Zettel. The voices of the two singers, processed live via specially designed software, create a dramatic environment that is both captivating and dramatic.
The lighting designed by François Roupinian and the videography designed by Yves Labelle are projected rhythmically onto the two protagonists and the water screen. At the centre of this surrealist set imagined by Pauline Vaillancourt and Martin Boisjoly, we find an impressive sculptural machine festooned with gears designed by Alain Cadieux, and operated by the two performers, Ghislaine Deschambault, mezzo-soprano and Jean Maheux, baritone, with choreography by Johanne Madore and costumes by Caroline Mercier.
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