Saturday 29 October 2022

Cherubini - Medea (New York, 2022)

Luigi Cherubini - Medea

Metropolitan Opera, 2022

Carlo Rizzi, David McVicar, Sondra Radvanovsky, Ekaterina Gubanova, Matthew Polenzani, Janai Brugger, Michele Pertusi, Christopher Job, Brittany Renee, Sarah Larsen, Axel Newville, Magnus Newville

Met Live in HD - 22nd October 2022

Livestreamed opera and opera on DVD are obviously something quite distinct from live opera but the Met live broadcasts with their presenters and backstage interviews during the intervals are something else again. The Metropolitan Opera have of course long been innovators in presenting their opera to the world in live radio and then livestream broadcasts to the cinema, so they're obviously very good at it. They have it down to such a fine art now - with flawless uninterrupted High Definition image and sound - that you do however wonder where the priorities lie; whether the image, presentation and star attractions of big productions take precedence over the actual musical content.

That's maybe just an idle thought, as I have rarely had any doubt about the quality of the performances I have seen streamed from the Met, but the format certainly makes me think differently about how I review such a production. It's not like live opera, or even opera on DVD. I'm sure the primary consideration is a striving for excellence for the audience in the theatre - whether you think they achieve it or nor - but I get the impression that for some productions they do seem to have an eye to how it will look in its cinema broadcast. Those considerations are largely on the camera placements and shots, and Gary Halvarson ensures that the Met Live in HD broadcasts have a very distinctive and impressive look.

Which brings us to the Met production of Luigi Cherubini's Medea. If it merely looked impressive however and didn't also live up to that in performance, you'd have more reason to be critical, but there are few concerns on that front. Throughout the broadcast we were reminded by Joyce DiDonato and Peter Gelb that this was the first time Medea has been performed at the Met, which is incredible, but also welcoming as a sign of the Met striving to expand their range. It's not a minor work by any means, made famous by Maria Callas, but as one of those works belonging to that in-between period between classicism and romanticism, it has perhaps been somewhat left in the shadow of the twin titans of Mozart and Verdi.

Mainly however the stated reason for not performing Medea before now, is that - as a showpiece of Maria Callas demonstrates - it indisputably requires a soprano of tremendous force to deliver it and do justice to the role of Medea. It wasn't until Sondra Radvanovsky suggested that she would love to sing the role that the Met felt it would be worth exploring.

Whether Radvanovsky is good enough to sing it, I have some reservations, but by and large it was a successful account that certainly emphasised and made obvious the attractions of the work. There's no doubting Radvanovsky's comittment to a challenging role, but she didn't totally win me over. There were some weaknesses in her delivery and the strain showed in the demanding third act, but in the moments where it counted, especially in the delivery of the extraordinarily powerful and demanding finale, it was genuinely spine-tingling.

If Sondra Radvanovsky wasn't totally convincing it seemed to me that she was maybe trying too hard. The blame for that falls on director David McVicar who forced her into all kinds of gymnastic writhing on the stage, pacing, ducking, diving, rolling, crawling, stretching. Most of this is completely unnecessary since all the force of the role of Medea is there in the libretto, in the music and in the terrific writing for the voice by Cherubini. All this movement undoubtedly tired Radvanovsky much more than was necessary and clearly affected what is already a challenging vocal performance. That should not happen. It is simply bad direction, and that's the kind of thing that makes me wonder where the priorities in presentation lie.

McVicar's production has its obvious attractions - primarily aesthetic - but it didn't entirely convince on a human emotional level. It looked stunning but was way over the top, going for shock and awe. It didn't adhere to any historical period other than generic operatic past, which works well enough. Classical stone steps lead up to huge tarnished steel doors that resemble stone walls, emphasising just how much Medea is cut off and excluded from the world of Colchis. To make sure you didn't miss a thing in the huge expanse of the Met stage, a huge tilted mirror at the back reflects and expands the area for the drama, permitting the viewer to see the full grandeur of Giasone's wedding to Glaucis' while Medea writhed around in anger, jealousy and rage outside of it.

Halvarson's cinematography captured all this superbly with low angles foregrounding Medea against the beautifully lit backgrounds. Aesthetically it was striking but emotionally it was utterly redundant. With McVicar's stylistic mannerisms and Medea's eye-rolling and writhing around the stage, all amplified by the dramatic camera angles, it overwhelmed the true heart of the musical drama. Act III was the worst offender. Flames flickered earlier than expected, flames of fury presumably since Medea has not yet started to enact her fiery revenge. The gory death of Glauce doesn't need to be shown, nor do the deaths of the children, at least not in the cinematic gore fashion shown here (we had the same problem with Met's Tarantino-meets-Werther). The raging thunderstorms and circles of flame that accompany Medea's final descent into insanity are spectacular, but overly emphatic when you have that vocal finale, which Sondra Radvanovsky delivered superbly.

Musically Carlo Rizzi matched the fireworks on the stage, but I found the busy stage and overacting too much of a distraction, so I can't say say for sure if it really got to grips with Cherubini or whether this was also smothered by McVicar's indulgent production. Matthew Polenzani brought a more sympathetic side to Giasone in a lower tessitura than he is accustomed to. He sang well but didn't make a great overall impression, overshadowed as his character is by the dominance of Medea and by the production. The other roles were well-handled; Ekaterina Gubanova an excellent Neris and Janai Brugger giving a good account of Glauce.

There was a lot to enjoy here, but how much of it was genuine opera and how much was pure stage spectacle is debatable. Even that might not really matter, as spectacle has its place in opera and it was certainly a feature of the opera's original French production in 1797. I enjoy high production values in opera as much as anyone and am certainly in favour of new technology and theatrical techniques being employed, but I was left with the feeling here that as impressive as this was, as much money and effort has been put into impressing you, it just didn't connect on an emotional level. Worse, the production actively hampered the qualities that are there in the opera itself and was detrimental to the delivery of the singing, and that should never happen. 

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Mitchell - Propaganda (Belfast, 2022)

Conor Mitchell - Propaganda

The Belfast Ensemble, 2022

Bob Broad, Conor Mitchell, Joanna O'Hare, Darren Franklin, Rebecca Caine, Matthew Cavan, Oliver Lidert, Celia Graham, Sean Kearns

Lyric Theatre - 15th October 2022

Musicals are not something usually covered in OperaJournal as a rule, but there are exceptions to every rule, and I will certainly make an exception when it comes to Conor Mitchell and The Belfast Ensemble. In fact, there are apparently no rules as far as Conor Mitchell is concerned. Whether it's a symphonic mass, musical theatre, operetta, opera, or some undefinable cross between music, video and texts, Mitchell will use whatever means is best suited to the subject he is dealing with, permitting no distinction between what is high art and what is popular entertainment; all of them vehicles capable of putting across serious messages about social, personal and political issues.

I mean, for a start, when was the last time a Belfast composer wrote a musical? Has there ever even been a musical written by a Belfast composer? New opera is not unheard of here - NI Opera Shorts in 2012 provided a platform for several local composers, and Brian Irvine has had several successful new works produced (Least Like The Other). Mitchell, who also contributed Our Day to NI Opera Shorts, has also made a major impact and stirred up some controversy with the brilliant Abomination: A DUP Opera, but I don't think anyone has had the nerve to imagine that a musical would be the best way to present views on local topical issues.

Not that Propaganda 'A New Musical' deals directly with local issues. Set during the Berlin Blockade and Airlift in 1946/47, it hardly seems in any way connected with contemporary or recent Belfast, but indirectly it very much relates to local and more universal issues. It's not that difficult to see some parallels between Belfast and a city that will have its people divided by a wall as a consequence of the events that take place during this period, so that is at least a starting point for recognition, even though any such is not laboured or even made explicit, other than hinted at perhaps in one or two scenes and in the spoken accents.

The reason why it's understated - although understated is perhaps not quite the mot juste for describing any aspect of this production - is that the libretto or storyline keeps things simple and largely on a human level. The plot really involves little more than the difficulties for one family doing whatever is necessary while struggling to survive and keep on the right side of the authorities in a Berlin almost utterly destroyed after the war, living in the Russian sector of the city that is already in a precarious position. For Hanna, that involves being a model for some provocative pictures, although her photographer husband Stanislav/Slavi, has more artistic aspirations.

Even in that there is clearly some personal commentary on questions of popular entertainment and art, and that is reflected in the music, which bounds along with big melodies that would grace any great American musical. It is however actually also subtly layered, so you will hear Russian composers referenced and even Irish lilts that suggest other connections. There is something perhaps ironic with the opening 'New York, New York'-like swing of 'Like What You See, Boys?' being applied to war-torn Berlin (if you can make it there, you can definitely make it anywhere), but that opening song already reveals layers in the human struggle and freedom of sexual expression against repressive laws that is teased out in Hanna and Slavi's relationship problems and elsewhere.

There's definitely nothing romaticised about dressing up these personal, social and political differences in catchy memorable melodies. The central love story was born out of difficult circumstances, it lives through difficult circumstances and it ends in difficult circumstances. But change does occur over the course of the drama in the central figure of Hanna, who asserts the determination of the individual to refuse to submit to power of social, political gender expectations and accept that the circumstances of her position should involve any compromise of her integrity. It's more than that even, Hanna in a way refusing to live the lie that she is the photographer to save Slavi, but becoming confident enough to choose her own way forward.

What is particularly brilliant about Propaganda is the way that Mitchell uses the format of the musical - as a popular entertainment with wonderful songs - as an almost subversive undercurrent to draw out these other underlying layers and issues. You could just enjoy this as a historical entertainment and it works brilliantly on that level, or you can dig deeper if you want. And as ever, Conor Mitchell fearlessly provides plenty of provocative material and is not afraid of courting controversy to make serious, relevant and meaningful social and political points. One scene even relates the struggle for Irish independence with the socialist struggle of Soviet Russia, with huge Soviet banners, the singing of the Russian national anthem, and large projections of Uncle Joe Stalin dominating the stage.

The production and stage design is critical in getting across both these elements, presenting the human story taking place against the backdrop of huge adversarial forces. The production design is simply just stunning. The central home of Slavi, Hanna and her mother is on a raised stage on a framework of scaffolding, representing very much that they are an island in the ruin of Berlin, while all around is the might and threat of Russia. Despite the adherence to period costumes and some projected footage and announcements, it still feels very relatable and applicable to anyone from Belfast who has struggled to assert their own identity within an intolerant society.

The writing, the music and the stage production are all top notch, and with Bob Broad conducting the impressive Belfast Ensemble orchestra everything flows beautifully between the music and drama. The singing and delivery is the other critical element that contributes to the success of Propaganda in its opening run at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Everyone gives an outstanding and fully committed performance, with Joanna O'Hare evidently carrying much of the duties in the central role of Hanna. It's very much an ensemble piece without a single weak element, but I was also impressed with Rebecca Caine as Hanna's mother, Magdalene von Furstenberg, who was perhaps the one true operatic voice on the stage. Just to show that this is by no means essential, actor and drag artist Matthew Cavan - who despite appearing in many Belfast Ensemble productions is not usually noted as a singer - was just superb here, singing with conviction and bringing personality and personal character to the role of Gerhardt.

As primarily an opera review site, I have nonetheless previously praised the Belfast Ensemble for being the true progressive musical force in Belfast, willing to push boundaries that NI Opera was failing to do in the post-Oliver Mears years, as they turned away from opera in favour of musicals at the Lyric Theatre like Sweeney Todd and Kiss Me Kate. Ironically, while opera is back on the NI Opera agenda, the scheduling of one opera a year - La Bohème in 2021 and La Traviata in 2022 - even with high production values (and equally high ticket prices) are by no means signs of a superior art form pushing a progressive musical direction. It's again the Belfast Ensemble and a musical at the Lyric Theatre this time that shows real artistic creativity and imagination.

Links: Lyric Theatre, The Belfast Ensemble

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Mahler - Von der Liebe Tod (Vienna, 2022)

Gustav Mahler - Von der Liebe Tod

Wiener Staatsoper, 2022

Lorenzo Viotti, Calixto Bieito, Vera-Lotte Boecker, Monika Bohinec, Daniel Jenz, Florian Boesch, Johannes Pietsch, Gabriel Hoeller

Wiener Staatsoper Live Streaming - 7th October 2022

To somewhat stretch a metaphor, the idea of a Mahler opera is a bit like waiting for a bus around these parts. It can feel like you are waiting for a hundred and fifty years and then suddenly two of them come along together. Since of course there is no such thing as a Mahler opera that's even more unexpected, and it's perhaps no surprise that the directors daring to stage Mahler's symphonic and lieder works as opera are two of the most ambitious and controversial of contemporary directors; Romeo Castellucci and Calixto Bieito. As strange as it might be to imagine Mahler staged, it's even stranger that such an idea in these times is deemed controversial enough to upset a few sensitive souls who don't even have to watch it or let it impinge upon their favourite Mahler recordings on CD.

While that might not exactly be the primary intention of these directors to upset anyone, there is certainly something of a desire to stir things up - but in a good way, or perhaps a necessary way. Because these are indeed the times we are living in; a time of war in Europe, a time of global pandemic killing millions, a time of looming environmental crisis and climate change that does indeed affect everyone. It's not enough in these times for an artist to remain detached from that, but there should be some recognition that great art is drawn from such dark times and experiences, and it should reflect them and not gloss over them.

In the case of Castellucci's production of Resurrection, for example, it's not enough to just put on a work of such sublime creativity and feeling as Mahler's Sixth Symphony as a concert performance for a wealthy audience at the Aix-en Provence festival. It would almost be an injustice to Mahler to present such a work as a rich indulgence. It's a profound work that has deeper meaning and if it can move an audience - whether to applause or booing - then it ought to provoke such a reaction. Anyone however who boos the imagery of the digging up of a mass war grave while such atrocities are happening for real at that moment not so far away should really think twice about their understanding and purpose of the arts.

The same goes for anyone who manages to work themselves into a state about a creative artist taking a similar approach to this Vienna State Opera stage production of another Mahler's work. Von der Liebe Tod actually consists of two Mahler works brought together, Das Klagende Lied, a cantata from 1879/80 based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, and Kindertotenlieder from 1901/04, based on a poem by Friedrich Rückert. Calixto Bieito employs similar techniques to Romeo Castellucci, the two directors almost crossing over as they progress from what were not ever exactly conventional opera stagings in the first place to rather more abstract presentations of works that were never intended to be fully staged.

I say never meant to be fully staged, but the question that arises immediately when watching the first part of this production, the cantata Das Klagende Lied, is why not? It has a clear fairy tale narrative and powerful accompanying music and singing that is dramatically attuned to the developments and deeper sentiments of the story. It's mostly narrative based admittedly, and doesn't even have clear individual roles that you might find in an oratorio, but it is filled with imagery that deserves to exist more than in the mind of the individual listener. In fact it is the role of a director - much as some would seek to not credit him or her with any importance - to explore a work closely and relate it to universal concerns that any listener will recognise and identify with.

Calixto Bieito then evidently doesn't go in for straightforward naturalism or literal illustration of the story in the way of Otto Schenk's The Cunning Little Vixen at the same opera house, for example. The imagery Bieito devises for this fairy tale opera/cantata however is exactly what a director should do when confronted with a work of great art and that is to dig deeper into the underlying meaning of the fairy tale and relate it to more universal concerns. Using the red flower of the fairy tale, the imagery of the willow and the nightingale, all of them witnessing the killing of one brother by another, the overriding idea - for me at least - appears to be the impact violence has on individuals, on society, on nature. And yes, that is something we can see in many aspects of the times we are living in.

As he is wont to do, Bieto simultaneously makes this beautiful to look at but harrowing at the same time, refusing to prettify the underlying horror at the heart of the tale (see also his response to the not dissimilar fairy tale story of men dying for a cold hearted queen in his version of Turandot). In the story, the minstrel comes across a gleaming bone in the woods that he carves into a flute, but here he hacks off an arm, cuts out a bone from within the flesh and plays on a blood spattered bone. It's not the 'flute' that sings either, but the grim spectacle of the dead boy with a bloody hacked off arm singing of his fate. Evidently, this will not be to everyone's taste, but it is necessary.

The dead boy slayed by his brother over a flower leads beautifully into the second part of Von der Liebe Tod, the ruins of the wedding feast turning into an abandoned playroom for dead children in Kindertotenlieder. Conceptually this is marvellous, the earliest of Mahler works - Das Klagende Lied his Opus 1 composed when he was 19 - brought together with the later, final work of a composer capable of committing all his lived experience in the meantime into it; a fairy tale turned into reality and that reality and horror concentrated and transformed into something beautiful through art. That is the purpose of art, or one of its many purposes. It's that same art in musical performance and interpretation that ensures that such work lives on, remains vital and alive and connected not to past events, but to what people are experiencing today. Sometimes life mirrors art in shocking and unexpected ways. One need only think of another recent tragedy in Thailand to see how deep feelings run in Kindertotenlieder. The idea that anyone could even think of mindlessly heckling artists on a stage after viewing this is unconscionable.

It helps that musically this is a glorious affair. The influence of Wagner on the youthful Mahler is most pronounced in the considerable orchestral forces and choral arrangements employed in the service of emotional and dramatic content of Das Klagende Lied. The conducting of the works by Lorenzo Viotti also comes to the fore in Kindertotenlieder, with intense, heartfelt singing from Florian Boesch and Monika Bohinec. How much more alive does this become when such performances are aligned with visual imagery and artistic direction that meaningfully connects the work with reality, that doesn't sugarcoat it or diminish its sentiments, as some might be tempted to do with these two particular works. Welcome to the opera stage of the 21st century, Gustav Mahler.

Sunday 2 October 2022

Mitterer - Dafne (Paris, 2022)

Wolfgang Mitterer - Dafne

Opéra-Théâtre de l’Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet, 2022

Aurélien Bory, Geoffroy Jourdain, Clotilde Cantau, Adèle Carlier, Anne-Emmanuelle Davy, Jeanne Dumat, Constantin Goubet, Floriane Hasler, Michiko Takahashi, Amandine Trenc, Virgile Ancely, Safir Behloul, Renaud Brès, Mathieu Dubroca, Alfred Noblet-Rousseau Bory

Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet, Paris - 29th September 2022

Opera can be many things to different people, so it's understandable that not everyone enjoys the idea of contemporary opera. One of the defining characteristics of opera for me however is that, like any essential art work or art form, it needs to be universal and transcend time. Opera is performance art, which means that it lives in the moment and not as notes on music score sheets, or even in a recorded performance. That's why modern opera is important, that's why new approaches are necessary, and that's why it needs to be reinvented, reinvigorated and not remain merely an historical artefact that preserves the past in amber.

That approach is one that Wolfgang Mitterer wholeheartedly embraces in this stunning and beautifully conceived new work Dafne, 'a madrigal-opera after Heinrich Schütz'. Conceived in collaboration with musical director Geoffroy Jourdain and stage director Aurélien Bory, Mitterer's Dafne spans the space between gods and mortals, antiquity and modernity, opera of the past and opera of the present. He takes an old practice, one that is not common nowadays, and resets a 17th century libretto to new music - you don't for example find too many Metastasio-penned libretti being used in contemporary opera. It's not just an academic exercise either, but one that is necessary since the Heinrich Schütz's original music is now lost, destroyed in a fire at a library in Dresden in 1730.

The idea of reconstruction of an opera based on a libretto isn't even a new practice either. Most of the early operas only have basic basso continuo markings and the score largely improvised upon them by the musicians. In the case of reconstructions of several lost Vivaldi's operas, the music is at least derived from other music by the composer, but in the case of Dafne, there is nothing that remains. Wolfgang Mitterer, noted for his experimental electronic music might seem a composer least likely to adhere to fidelity to the source, but in fact he does produce a beautiful work that combines his sound experiments with traditional instruments and a beautiful 12-part polyphony vocal setting of the libretto.

There are actually several reasons why the project would attract a sympathetic and suitable approach from Wolfgang Mitterer. The composer has spoken of performing Monteverdi and Schütz in a vocal quintet in his youth. As 2022 marks the 350th anniversary of the death of Schütz, who is considered as the German Monteverdi, it seems like the right time to revive what is considered to be the first work of German opera. Composed in 1627, based on a libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini adapted into German by Martin Opitz, only the libretto to Schütz's Pastorale survives. That needed to be reworked by the creators for a modern stage performance, but in keeping with the tradition of a madrigal opera from the period, they have chosen to use the idea of a chorus relating the drama, but also using the individual fach of the singers on alternate lines so that each of the gods have a multiplicity of voices.

The libretto doesn't appear to be anything exceptional, it has to be said, or at least with little to distinguish it from other typical Baroque opera or the tragédie lyriques of Lully dealing with mythological subjects and pastorals. Dafne deals with the legend of Daphne from Ovid's Roman retelling by classical Greek mythology in his Metamorphoses. It even has the traditional prologue where the gods are in dispute, although here it's Ovid who provides the prologue, while the dispute between Apollo and Venus takes up the rest of the opera. Full of pride over his defeat of Python, the beast that has been terrifying the island of Delos, Apollo denies that any other gods have power such as his. Despite the warnings of Venus, Apollo mocks Cupid's bow and arrow only to be struck and fall in love with the nymph Daphne.

Like another recent contemporary opera based on Ovid's Metamophoses (Sivan Eldar's Like Flesh), the modern relevance of ancient Roman mythology can be seen in the folly of disrupting the course of Nature. The immortality of Daphne, who turns into a laurel tree to escape the advances of Apollo, can be seen as representing the power of art to transcend time and death, to set oneself outside the power of the gods. Much like Orpheus, the subject of many operas, that can also be testament to the nature of opera itself. As another modern opera Detlef Heusinger's Die Zeitreisemaschine suggests, opera itself is a precious time machine. Even more so here in the case of Dafne, the original opera destroyed, but recreated, reinvented and metamorphosised to survive even beyond its destruction. That alone testifies to the power and relevance of Dafne, not least through the performance and staging choices made here, but there are many other ways that the opera can speak to us.

What struck me as noteworthy about the concept here is that aspect of it returning to the roots of opera, which was conceived as a response to the mistaken belief that it was ancient practice to sing Greek drama verse. Here Mitterer extends that idea, bringing back an ancient tradition, putting an existing surviving ancient text of Greek myth to music and singing. In doing so with the music of our day, he bridges the past and the present. "Not the music of my day" a lot of traditionalists might cry and certainly Mitterer's sonic art approach to music isn't for everyone. The electronic music for Dafne is prerecorded and uses Mitterer's usual mannerisms and techniques, including sampling of orchestral music, with speeded up effects, clicks and electronic juddering, so there was little conducting required on the part of Geoffroy Jourdain for that.

This however only forms a background, the basso continuo to the composer's beautiful writing for the voice. It gives the chorus's telling of legend an otherworldly setting, swirling and haunting, truly lifting it into the mystical realm of the gods. Traditional instruments are used in sections, very much in the style of the period and informed by the music of Heinrich Schütz, those instruments played by several of the singers. Singing and playing as individuals, but also as a chorus, the gods indeed have a multi-voiced form, as if a single voice would not be enough. The conception of this, as well as the blending of ancient and modern in the music, is impressive and striking, giving Dafne a character quite unlike any other opera. It is truly befitting of an opera that seeks to do justice to an important historical work in German opera and through it aspire to represent the idea of immortality.

The staging is an essential element of any opera and Aurélien Bory's presentation has a major part to play here, one that is also commensurate with its ambitions. If it doesn't perhaps bring any allegorical or contemporary reading out of the drama, it at least illustrates its abstraction and otherworldly qualities. The thirteen singers of the Jourdain directed Les Cris de Paris have a complicated choreography to perform on concentric rotating wheels of the stage, itself a reference to the rotating stage devised by Tommaso Francini in the 1617, in the same period of the opera. It brings movement and circularity, chase and distance. Other stage effects, such as the hunting arrows dropped from the sky onto the circular 'target' that are then used to form the crown of Apollo, the appearance of 'Venus' on wires and the transformation of Dafne into a tree are superbly realised all within this circularity. The coherence of concept and execution ensures that there are no slow or dry passages here; everything comes together, flow and movement, music and ambiance, harmony and dissonance, past and present all made one.

When many question the point of contemporary opera, question the abandonment of traditional tonal musical forms in contemporary music and illustrative traditional stage productions, Mitterer, Bory and Jourdain show the importance of keeping music theatre progressive and experimental, while still using the past as a touchstone for reference and for informing the present. The original opera of Dafne, were it even to still exist, would probably remain obscure, of historical curiosity value and rarely performed for a modern audience, incapable even of having the same impact in that form that it would have had on an audience of its time. Here it is given new life, and if the libretto and its subject might feel like they have little to do with contemporary issues, Mitterer's Dafne at least allows us to consider what it tells us about the arts, on the higher universal themes that can be found there, the necessity of carrying their message through to the present day, and in how great art can still speak to and move a modern audience.

Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet