Dramatic oratorio based on a poem by Paul Claudel
Performed in French with Russian subtitles
Co-production of Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, Opéra de Lyon (France), Théâtre de la Monnaie (Belgium) and Theater Basel (Switzerland)
First performance of this production — January 21, 2017, Opéra de Lyon
Even during her lifetime, the iconic image of Joan of Arc as a bellicose virgin-saviour, holding in her hands the fate of all France already became well-established. Over more than five centuries, the image acquired new details, shedding its figurative historical features and becoming a mythical or even mystical character, appearing as though it had been detached from itself for a long time.
At the end of the 1930s Joan of Arc stormed triumphantly onto the French stage — in Ida Rubinstein’s performance of the famous Cleopatra and Zobeide given by the Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes — the latter himself the one who decreed that Honegger’s dramatic oratorio incorporate the rhythmic prose of Claudel.
The torments of "Joan of Arc at the stake" were portrayed in a sequence of eleven episodic flashbacks, taking the spectator back to the character’s childhood, something that became a form of "spiritual armour" for the French people, during the Nazi occupation.
The new production by Romeo Castellucci and Teodor Currentzis combines elements of performance, art and post-drama theatre. Depriving his character of the family name, "Castellucci does not offer a new truth about Joan. He offers an opportunity to look at what stands behind her — the national hero — as well as the war heroes, migrants, Holocaust victims, miners and all other images that we hold onto for our own reasons." (Anton Flerov, Colta.ru).
Despite the cinematographic nature of Claudel's text, the director easily departs from the usual visual patterns. "Joan" as performed by Audrey Bonnet does not in any way resemble Bergman’s open-visored warrior nor does it bear any hint of the martyrdom of Falconetti, and because of that, the actress's nudity does away with these sorts of interpretations, in so doing disarming the viewer.
Jeanne d’Arc — Audrey Bonnet
Brother Dominique — Denis Lavant
Perm Opera soloists
musicAeterna orchestra and chorus, children's chorus of Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre