Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose return to The North Wall this autumn with a new production of Poulenc and Cocteau’s astonishing La Voix Humaine.
Alone in her flat, Elle is unravelling. Cradling the phone, she tries to put on a brave face for her ex-lover on the other end of the line, but despair and loneliness overwhelm her.
This is opera at its rawest and most intimate: a deeply personal work by a composer going through his own heartbreak. Poulenc and Cocteau had shared the perils and pleasures of early-20th-century gay life – including Nazi occupation – for decades by the time the composer tackled his friend’s hit play, and the result is a perfect marriage of words and music.
An intense 50-minute tour de force for solo soprano, this one-woman opera is short in length, but not in emotion. Performed by soprano Sarah Minns (OperaUpClose’s Olivier Award-winning La Bohème, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Elixir of Love) and Richard Black on piano, and directed by OperaUpClose’s Artistic Director, Robin Norton-Hale, this is a devastating musical portrait of a human being on the brink of disintegration.