La surprise est aussi venue de la musique. Passés les moments monumentaux et sonores propres à attirer le public lyrique ordinaire (mais je ne boude pas mon plaisir, ces séquences offrent une grande satisfaction acoustique), l’étonnement est venu des passages plus intimes dont il se dégage une mélancolie fort sensible. C’est dans ces morceaux que cette musique répétitive disparait. Elle devient plus simple, assez mélodique, et surtout expressive. Avec une impression de s'excuser d'être si simple, presque enfantine, qui est très touchante. Akhenaton est à l’évidence un ouvrage ambigu, mais dont la découverte sur scène était nécessaire. Ne serait-ce que pour expérimenter à frais nouveau ce que le théâtre peut dire et faire lorsqu’il n’est pas bourgeoisement décoratif.
Une fois n'est pas coutume, les images du spectacle sur le site du Vlaamse Opera rendent peu compte de la mise en scène. Désolé. Le trailer dit quand même quelque chose de l'impact sonore de l'oeuvre: https://vimeo.com/119346949
With Steeve Reich, Phillip Glass is an important figure in contemporary American music, especially the so-called repetitive music. This sort of music is constructed from rhythms, varied and constantly differently instrumented, whose nagging movement produces an effect that can be almost hypnotic. Akhenaten, his third opera, created in 1984, is part of a trilogy, and portrait with "Einstein on the beach" and "Siddhartha" men who transformed their world. Repetitive, choral, sometimes monumental, the work seems, listening at, to lack theatricality. So, it was an obvious interest to see on stage what happens ...
Pharaonic Egypt and the figure of the religious reformer make a hieratic subject that can easily offer some nice clean and sober images. The stage director Nigel Lowery cleverly circumvented this double danger, that of platitude and hollow images (although we know well how the "sublime" is difficult to show, even a little). He offers a dense aesthetic and political vision. The turning scenery shows the black varied silhouette of a city designed in a very "German Expressionism" style in which wander all the lost creatures of the society. It is for them that Akhenaten engages in the famous reform, to a new world. But Nigel Lowery is not fooled of utopias and clearly shows that totalitarianism hunting the other. Remarkable expression of the subtext of the opera, and that makes it much more interesting than expected.
The surprise also came from the music. Past the monumental and loud moments, likely to attract the ordinary operatic public (but I do not sulk my pleasure, these sequences provide great acoustic satisfaction), the surprise came from more intimate passages of which emerges a very sensitive melancholy. It is in these pieces that repetitive music disappears. It becomes more simple, melodic enough, especially expressive. With a print to apologize for being so simple, almost childlike, and it's very touching. Akhenaten is a ambiguous work, but the discovery on stage was necessary. Just to experience again that theater can say and do when is not "bourgeois decorative".
Just this once, pictures on the Vlaamse Opera's site make little account of the staging. Sorry. But the trailer says something of the sound effet of the work: https://vimeo.com/119346949