THE BERGEN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL, BIT20 ENSEMBLE AND LA CHAMBRE AUX ÉCHOS PRESENT
A chamber opera about a philosopher and political activist.
Philosopher and teacher Simone Weil (1909–1943) grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in Paris but nonetheless sympathized with the radical workers' movement. She joined the Spanish civil war and was a member of the French resistance during World War II.
The main character in La Passion de Simone is a modern-day figure who reflects upon Simone's ideals. What might we learn from someone who, in an attempt to understand and fight violence and oppression, tried uncompromisingly to put herself in the place of its victims?
In the course of the opera's monologue, we hear Weil's own voice, at a distance, mediated through an actor. A vocal quartet represents victims of and witnesses to human oppression. The ensemble members portray each tableau as an inner landscape. The work does not describe the philosopher's life as a series of chronological events; instead, it indicates a way of thinking. It is an agnostic prayer for human values and collective memory.
Kaija Saariaho music
Amin Maalouf text
La Chambre aux échos concept and artistic direction
Clément Mao - Takacs musical direction
Aleksi Barrière stage direction
Pauline Squelbut scenographer/stage manager
Étienne Exbrayat lighting design
Liisa Nieminen costumes
Clémentine Marin production administrator
Sayuri Araida solo soprano
Sandra Darcel soprano
Marianne Seleskovitch mezzo-soprano
Johan Viau tenor
Romain Dayez bass-baritone
Isabelle Seleskovitch actress
KAIJA SAARIAHO (1952–)
La Passion de Simone
No interval. Performed in French. Surtitles in English.
Introduction at 18:45.
Presented by Bergen International Festival, BIT20 Ensemble og La Chambre aux Échos.
Supported by FINNO, The Norwegian-Finnish Cultural Fund og The Sibelius Society of Norway.
Additional information: Who was Simone Weil? A conversation between director Aleksi Barrière and Christine Amadou, Associate Professor at the University of Oslo at Cornerteateret, Wednesday 31 May at 19:15.