Performed at the 'Federal Underground Club'
LONG BEACH OPERA has made performing in strange places—parking structures, municipal pools, National Guard armories and the like—a part of its profile. For its latest musical adventure, the company requisitioned the basement of an old bank building downtown, vault and all. Now known as the Underground Club (and part of the Federal Bar), the space operates effectively enough as a black box theater. Patrons were seated at tables and served sliders as part of the ticket price. Drinks from the bar were extra. –– Opera News
The setting for “La Voix Humaine” (The Human Voice) is a disheveled room, presumably a walk-up off on a side street adjacent to one of Paris’s grand boulevards. Photos are scattered on the floor, a small bookcase sits to one side with a half-empty bottle of Scotch and two glasses, one partially filled and from which Elle occasionally sips. Nervously, she lights up one cigarette after another. An armchair with her lover’s clothes strewn over the back is front and center, an open suitcase is on the floor, and near the armchair is a small stand or table with a red telephone.
Andreas Mitisek’s direction, though sometime too frenetic, skillfully defines the rise and fall of the drama and the whipsaw fluctuations of Elle’s emotional state whether she is inhaling the lingering aroma left behind on her lover’s sweater, frantically trying to reconnect with him when the line is broken, or systematically laying out pills for a potential suicide. It is a painful process to watch.
Elle: Suzan Hanson
Pianist: Kristof Van Grypserre