PHILIPPE BOESMANS (b.1936): Pinocchio.
Catalogue Number: 03T062
Description: Like the previous operas of Boesmans' that we've offered (01M072, 10J123), this is a fine example of traditional grand opera in an eclectic, contemporary style. As the composer explains, he is "very attached to the archetypes of opera: sadness is expressed, for the most part, in a minor key ... and chromaticism expresses passion and pain, from Monteverdi to today, via Mozart and Wagner ... Berg, moreover, conscious of the restrictions of the dodecaphonic idiom, in the theatre at least, explored exceptions; so he wrote in D minor, and it’s magnificent." He employs all these conventions within an overall neo-romantic idiom, avoiding the more modern elements that he is perfectly happy to use in concert works. It is this special relationship with music for the stage that has made him one of Europe's most sought-after opera composers. Boesmans happily borrows from centuries of operatic tradition, as well as vernacular vulgarity to colour in the seedier predicaments in which the boy-puppet finds himself. In collaboration with his librettist, Joël Pommerat, Boesmans presents Collodi's tale as a series of scenes with linking recitative 'narration' by the ringmaster of the theatrical troupe performing Pommerat's play on the subject, and the emphasis is on the morality tale aspects of the narrative, with the character's evolution clearly intended as a 'rite of passage' from rebellious childhood to adult responsibility. This is not to say that the fairy-tale aspects, or the fantasy and humor of the original are omitted - this is far from some earnest modern-dress psychological reinvention of the story! - but this is a darker take on the story than Jonathan Dove's more family-friendly version (05K100), let alone Disney. Operatically and especially musically, a remarkably successful one, though. French libretto only. The PAL-only bonus DVD is a 75-minute documentary, rather more informative and interesting than these things often are when appended to CDs, centered on Boesmans' work on Pinocchio but with a good deal of biographical detail as well. 2 CDs + DVD (PAL). French libretto. Stéphane Degout, Vincent Le Texier (baritones), Yann Beuron (tenor), Chloé Briot (soprano), Julie Boulianne (mezzo), Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie; Patrick Davin. Cyprès CYP4647 (Belgium) 03T062 $39.98