French contemporary composer Thierry Escaich and French essayist, politician, and now librettist Robert Badinter transform Victor Hugo’s short story Claude Gueux into an operatic call for human dignity in the 21st century.
Victor Hugo’s 1834 Claude Gueux explores themes of social justice that would later become the backbone of his landmark novel Les Misérables. The work narrates the story of Claude Gueux, a poor uneducated man who steals, is imprisoned for his crime, and, through an unfortunate series of events, is sentenced to death and executed. Hugo accompanied the work with an epilogue criticizing a French society that condemns the disproportionate use of punishment for the crimes of the poor and helpless. In their 2013 opera, Escaich and Badinter transplant the dark fable into the modern day in this production that features a gripping staging by Olivier Py and accomplished performances by Jean-Sébastien Bou as Claude and Rodrigo Ferreira as his best friend Albin.
Photo: © Stofleth