Working on the opera L'écume des jours (1981) based on the surrealistic novel by Boris Vian, Edison Denisov was composing it “without any commission, just for oneself”. As he later confessed, he was attracted by the tragic story of fragile and tender love between Chloe and Colin exposed to cruel reality of life as much as by the special musicality of the novel. The world premiere performance was given at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1986 and marked Denisov’s absolute acknowledgement in Europe. The magazine L'Humanité Dimanche noticed then that scoring was “transparent and pure as characters’ feelings”, and the newspaper La Croix proclaimed L'écume des jours “The Tristan heard by Mozart and La Traviata heard by Debussy”.
Perm performance of 1989 (conductor Georgy Muratov, stage director Vyacheslav Golod and set designer Viktor Gerasimenko) is the first and still the only staging of this opera in Russia. Audience remembered it first of all as a performance full of light – “Is it the light of transparent music with its world of semitones? Or the light from a play of huge mirror surfaces that set is made of (a coulisse-long mirror ‘dragging in’ all the levels [of the theatre])? Or, maybe, it is the light of the fragile love of our two characters…?”