A Paris Opera commission, inspired by Paul Claudel’s celebrated stage play— from the spectacular Palais Garnier!
The Satin Slipper is a tale of forbidden love between Doña Prouhèze (played by the marvelous Ève-Maud Hubeaux) and Don Rodrigo (the great Luca Pisaroni). Though the duo’s love is the plot’s chief concern, however, the two rarely appear onstage together: Doña Prouhèze, indeed, seeks to save Don Rodrigo from an adulterous passion by pushing him to wander the world all throughout his life—the work takes place across decades and continents, creating an intense and vertiginous atmosphere that draws the spectator in little by little.
For composer and conductor Marc-André Dalbavie, Claudel’s play is utterly singular: lasting nine hours, it is the product of diverse influences, from Spanish theatre (in its format, spread out over four “days”) to Japanese Noh (in the variety of genres, tragedy coexisting with levity, even comedy). The language is musical, the framing and characters grandiose, and the composer set himself the task of adapting the source text while maintaining the uncommonly long running time—an indispensable part of the experience, in his view: “This story cannot be told in one or two hours,” Dalbavie says, “it takes time to make a unified whole out of such divergent styles and genres.” He then composed the music (incorporating traditional instruments from many different nations and cultures to evoke the world travels of Don Rodrigo), while librettist Raphaèle Fleury set the text, a Herculean feat of adaptation.
This world premiere by the Paris Opera represents the third installment in their French literature cycle begun in 2017. Under the baton of Marc-André Dalbavie himself, the impeccable Paris Opera Orchestra allows the sublime soloists to shine in a production for the ages.
Photo © Elisa Haberer / Opéra national de Paris