03 Aug 2005
La Voix Humaine at Glimmerglass
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
In Summer Opera, Smallest Is Best
By Heidi Waleson [Wall Street Journal, 3 August 2005]
The most satisfying opera at Glimmerglass this summer was the smallest -- Poulenc's "La Voix Humaine" (1959) performed by soprano Amy Burton. The intimacy of this piece makes it hard to pull off: A woman talks on the phone for 45 minutes with the husband who has left her (the libretto is by Jean Cocteau), and we hear the stages of her despair. A suicide attempt is mentioned. Some singers turn the piece into a hysterical melodrama, torturing their voices, but with Sam Helfrich's direction, Ms. Burton played the scene with a subtle realism and beauty of sound that was infinitely more wrenching and vulnerable.