Passion is a short (85m) opera by the prolific French composer Pascal Dusapin. It was first performed at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2008 where the soloists were Barbara Hannigan and Georg Nigl.
Passion is an extended duet for two singers. Named only Him and Her (originally Lui and Lei), the composer wrote the libretto in Italian and fashioned the vocal style (perhaps as an homage to Monteverdi’s Orfeo) to the old story – the failed rescue of Euridice by Orpheus, though here their relationship is subtly examined within the context of modern psychology. Music Theatre Wales always perform in English, but the composer was at first uncertain that such a minimal libretto would sound as effective in translation, but he agreed that in the UK it was wiser to perform in the audience’s language. Michael McCarthy (of MTW) and Caroline Finn (of the National Dance Company of Wales) co-directed it as a Dance-Opera. The two soloists, Jennifer France and Johnny Herford sang and moved superbly, accompanied by a small chorus of voices from EXAUDI and the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Geoffrey Paterson. I have seldom felt that words were so convincingly just one of several equally important components; the opera emerged as a genuine Gesamtkunstwerk.
MTW/NDCW took the production on an extended tour of England and Wales in October-November 2018
`Dusapin’s libretto, sensitively translated by Amanda Holden…’