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|La Voix / Bianca||Nicola Beller Carbone*|
|Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa|
|Production||Gran Teatre del Liceu|
|*Debuting at ABAO Bilbao Opera|
La Voix Humaine
A woman, simply identified as Elle (She), speaks on the phone with her lover, who, after a five-year relationship, is going to marry another woman the following day. The conversation, made up of a succession of moments without a real theatrical link, is interrupted on several occasions by successive disconnections. According to Cocteau himself “it is just a woman who is very much in love, has few intellectual resources, and fights until the end to get a sincere confession from the man so that, at least, the unblemished memory of their past love can be saved”.
Elle is lying on the bed. She stands up and is about to go out but just then the phone rings. She answers it but the conversation is interrupted by interferences and crossed lines. During the conversation, she recalls the day she spent with Marthe and tells him what she was wearing. He asks her to give back the letters he had sent her and she undertakes, with a sinking heart, to give them back to him. He admires her courage, in such a situation, and at the same time perceives her deep despair. He blames himself for having caused their breaking up. She corrects him and frees him from any blame, recalling their meeting. To her surprise, the woman learns that her beloved will come to get the letters the following day. They are cut off again and she imagines her beloved on the other end of the phone: his posture, his clothes. She prevents his playing along on the grounds that he would see a grief-stricken person. They are cut off. She rings again, but the operator informs her that he is not at home: in fact, he is phoning her from a restaurant.
The communication is restored and Elle admits that she has lied: in fact, she didn’t go out and spent the whole afternoon waiting for his call. Desperate, she was about to leave and look for him. The previous day she had tried to commit suicide by taking pills. Then she called Marthe, who called a doctor. Her friend had been taking care of her all day, until she asked her to leave for fear that she wouldn’t let her receive the call she was so looking forward to. Talking to her beloved calms her down. She regrets telling him about such a scene, but she is suffering so much that she can’t help it. Two days before she had slept alone for the first time, glued to the phone. After their breaking up, her life no longer has any sense.
When the interferences of a foreign voice on the line end, Elle remembers the situation, terrified, and regrets the separation. The connection fails once again and is restored a bit later. With the telephone cord wrapped around her neck, she does not have the courage to hang up. Before separating forever, Elle begs her beloved not to go with his wife to the hotel in which they used to stay. He then hangs up while a painful “I love you” can be heard. Desperate, she drops down onto the floor.
Eine Florentinische Tragödie
The action takes place in Florence in the 16th century. When he unexpectedly returns home after an unsuccessful business trip, the merchant Simone is surprised to find his wife with a stranger. He soon finds out that it is Guido Bardi, the son and heir of the Duke of Florence. Although Simone immediately understands the true nature of Guido’s visit, he starts pretending and treats his rival as a noble guest and potential client. Guido is rude in his answers and shameless in the attentions he pays to Bianca, who corresponds to his love insinuations in an unequivocal manner.
Simone’s jokes tinged with irony become more and more threatening and, when Guido is about to leave, Simone challenges him, half jokingly, half seriously, to fight a duel. Bianca urges Guido to kill her husband, but during the fight, first with swords and then with daggers, Simone manages to disarm him, injure him and finally, strangle him. When Simone turns to Bianca, apparently transfigured by the scene she has just witnessed between her husband and her lover, she asks him a surprising question. Embracing her, he responds with another equally unexpected question.