Philippe BOESMANS (°1936)
Garry MAGGEE baritone
Malena ERNMAN mezzo-soprano
Kerstin AVEMO soprano
ORCHESTRE DE CHAMBRE DE LA MONNAIE Chamber Orchestra of La Monnaie
Kazushi ONO conductor
Julie, Opera in one act (2004) - Libretto by Luc Bondy and Marie Louise-Bischofberger from Miss Julie (Drama, 1888) by August Strindberg
Composer in residence at the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie for nearly twenty years, the Belgian Philippe Boesmans (°1936) is without question a major figure in the musical landscape of our time. First performed in March 2005 at La Monnaie, Julie - already revived at Vienna and Aix en Provence - is his fourth opera after La Passion de Gilles (1983), Reigen (1993) and the huge Wintermärchen (1999).
For contemporary music, Boesmans?s operas are impressively successful. Wintermärchen for example, premiered in 1999 at La Monnaie was taken up in France (at Lyons and at the Châtelet), in Spain (at the Liceu), in Germany, in Austria, and it also featured as a CD release in Deutsche Grammophon?s prestigious 20/21 collection.
Julie is a more intimate work, a one-act chamber opera based on the play by the Swedish dramatist August Strindberg, Miss Julie, written in 1888. A quintessentially naturalist play, the plot of Julie unfolds in an aristocratic residence in Sweden on the night of Saint John. The count?s daughter, Julie, draws Jean, his father?s valet, away from his fiancée, the cook Christine. The irreparable then occurs. Jean, fired by ambition, persuades the young countess - haunted by her family past, dreaming of falling from her elevated social position and now destroyed by what has been done - to steal money from her father in order to flee abroad. The situation becomes intolerable for Julie, and Jean pushes her to commit suicide by proving that their union is utterly impossible.
Boesmans?s music is highly individual: his style is dense and precise, rich and colourful, elegant and full of images. He makes a chamber ensemble of 18 players sound positively symphonic: what a feat! Moreover, his vocal writing once more proves that with opera Philippe Boesmans is in his natural element.
The cast is impressive: the British Garry Magee embodies a powerfully resistant Jean. Malena Ernman is the ideal Julie: from a dominant position, she drags us down with her in her precipitate fall. The young Swede Kestin Avemo completes this trio wonderfully, with her limpid, fresh voice. The Chamber Orchestra of La Monnaie is formidably precise, superbly bringing out the musical clarity and the work?s textural details. Lastly, the Japanese conductor Kazushi Ono once again proves his qualities as a great conductor of opera.
DDD | Digipak
Booklet 116 pages, slip case
Libretto and text by Claude Ledoux in English, French, Dutch and German
Live recording at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (Brussels) in March 2005 by Thierry Lekeux and Laurent Graulus (RTBF) | Digital editing: Aline Blondiau | Mixing: Nicolas de Béco (Musica Numeris)
Bar code: 5412217046262
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