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Day by day / June, 2005

Avis de tempête by Georges Aperghis

A storm ravaging the world and inner turmoil. Georges Aperghis’s new opera concentrates on the eye of the storm, an electronic downpour, the flickering of a video, instrumental gestures, the eruption of voices and figures.

"Moby Dick, King Lear and The Lightning-Rod Man, are mere allegories for the mental storm that is tearing the text and the performance apart from the inside. The true storm takes place in the mind, the mind that shatters like a frozen glass of water". (Georges Aperghis)

At the center of the stage, a manned control tower sets off sound signals and images. Stray silhouettes revolve around this tower. Parallel to this, a shimmering harmonic column acts as a pivot point about which the sound effects orbit.

The electronics, or storm machine, create carrousels, vertical circles, thick clouds, textures and assure the transitions between voice, phoneme and sound.

The video, acting as the observation machine, records the movements and actions of the protagonists, projected onto suspended kite-shaped screens. Georges Aperghis has gathered together the forces of all the artists close to him, who have jointly "constructed" Avis de Tempête. Far from an old, lyrical, psychological, and dusky construction, Aperghis perpetuates the idea, or rather the practice of an integral work: all its elements converging together without adding up, an essential equation for an opera. The end of this tragic work is its return: what has been will be again, in the continuum of time.


Libretto: Georges Aperghis and Peter Szendy. Music and stage direction: Georges Aperghis. Assitant stage director: Émilie Morin. Video: Kurt D’Haeseleer / Filmfabriek. Stage technician and lighting: Peter Missotten / Filmfabriek. Costumes: Isabelle Gontard.

Musical director: Georges-Elie Octors. Computer music by IRCAM-Centre Pompidou. Computer music production: Sébastien Roux. Sound engineer: Alexandre Fostier.

With Donatienne Michel-Dansac (soprano), Johanne Saunier (dancer and actress), Lionel Peintre (baritone), Romain Bischoff (baritone), Ensemble Ictus.

Commissioned by Opéra de Lille and Ministère de la Culture

An Opéra de Lille production. A Lille 2004, Opéra de Nancy et de Lorraine, IRCAM-Centre Pompidou co-production. In partnership with Réseau Varèse, in the framework of the European Union’s Culture 2000 program, and Opéra de Paris. Supported by the Fonds de Création Lyrique and the Association Beaumarchais and the SACD

Thursday, June 2 and Friday, 3, 2005, 8:30pm / Ateliers Berthier, Paris

  • Running time: 65 minutes
  • See also: "Aperghis Workshop", Friday, June 3 and Monday, June 6
Copyright Ircam - Centre Pompidou 2005.