Marie-Josée Lord and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt in the workshop of Bizet

Marie-Josée Lord et Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt dans l’atelier de Bizet

Photo: Valérian Mazataud The Duty
The musical starring its author, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt (in the role of narrator, but also in the role of Bizet’s), and, to interpret the character of Carmen, none other than the divine soprano Marie-Josée Lord.

Passionate about classical music, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt manages to make it accessible, to assert, as he himself says, ” the essential nature of all spiritual lives “. After having declared his love, to Mozart, to Chopin and to Beethoven, the writer, fascinated by the deeds as well as by the authors and their contexts of creation, a tribute to the destiny paradox of Georges Bizet in a concert-reading given at the Opera Bastille in 2012. It is from this text that Lorraine Pintal, brings to the stage The mystery of Carmen, a show that will be presented at the TNM before travelling through Quebec.

When the Paris Opera house has given him carte blanche, the writer has spontaneously set his sights on the composer of Carmen. “Bizet is a unknown famous, writes Schmitt. This is a man of tragic fate, death at the age of 36, a few weeks after the creation of his masterpiece, one of the most performed operas in the world, thinking that he had made a flop. I’ve been wanting to conduct a survey on the composer, on his journey incredible, that of a genius frustrated by his careerism and his time, an artist who has only known failure. I’ve done it to try to understand how he arrived at this end curious, if difficult to explain. Imagine what would music be French if Bizet had lived up to 60 years. We have a Verdi, a Wagner, this would be the equivalent of this would be as giant as that. “

Investigation on an unknown famous

Between the fate of the composer and that of her heroine, a female character of the most subversive, Schmitt ensures that demonstrate the similarities, what he considered to be ” very close proximity “. “Carmen is the only “superman” nietzschean of the history of literature, he believes. She lives totally in the moment. It is out of the scope, entirely free of the past and no anxiety for the future. Solar, it is consumed every moment of his life and until death : “Ever Carmen will not pass ! Free she is born and free she will die !” There is no more beautiful than the death of Carmen, because this is a death want : “Hit me so or let me pass.” I believe that little by little, Bizet became its heroine, it has come to adopt its moral force, its independence, its total absence of compromise, that it is in some way went to join her. “

Transmit the music

The musical showcases the author (in the role of narrator, but also in the role of Bizet), the pianist Dominic Boulianne, tenor Jean-Michel Richer, and, to interpret the character first envisioned by Prosper Mérimée, but also shaped by Célestine Galli-Married, the mezzo-soprano French, who created the role of Carmen, none other than the divine soprano Marie-Josée Lord. “There are characters that you never stop to want to embody,” she says. Because these are women who have an intensity, a character, a story that might make you want to get involved, to embrace and defend the role. As for me, Carmen has always been one of those. “

This is after having seen Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt (play Ibrahim and the flowers of the Koran on the stage of the TNM Marie-Josée Lord has been convinced to take part in the Mystery Carmen. “His approach joins me a lot,” she says. It’s like my way of presenting the concerts, to experience the classical music to the general public, to transmit it to the people so that they can receive the works, that they do not feel excluded. Discover the opera Carmen the story of Bizet, I think it’s just as sublime as exciting. “

Carmen, this is a character completely anachronistic. Just like Bizet, moreover, certainly ahead of its time.

— Marie-Josée Lord

The narrator of the show goes as far as to say that the music of Carmen is so beautiful that it could have been the work of Mozart, the libretto of Meillac Halévy and is so inspired that it could have been written by Nietzsche : “According to me, it is Mozart, the Mozart of Don Giovanni, which is returned to earth to compose the music clear, cheerful, pure, vital. As for the booklet, it was written by a contemporary that Bizet does not know, but soon it will love it : the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche. “A way of saying that the creators have been touched by the grace.

“Before Carmen, says Schmitt, it has what one might call nuggets in the music of Bizet. There are in The pretty girl of Perth, The pearl fishers, in the chromatic Variations and the melodies, including the Farewell of the hostess Arabic. These pieces are made to hear in the show, one does not hesitate to involve the public in the workshop of the masterpiece. “

Oiseau rebelle

In 1875, the character of Carmen — a gypsy rebel, a free woman, independent and sensual — has been very badly received. “The scandal has been total, reminiscent of Schmitt. The press review of the show, this is an anthology of the bullshit ! Critics were initially shocked by the woman, amoral according to the criteria of the time, especially for the audience of the Opera Comique, fond of, love bourgeois. “

“Carmen, this is a character completely anachronistic, comes Marie-Josée Lord. Just like Bizet, moreover, certainly ahead of its time. “Fortunately, many of the great composers, like Brahms and Tchaikovsky, have supported the work, which gave him the fame that we know, the glory as of the Bizet will never be known. “Carmen, it was dynamite in 1875 and it is still dynamite today, ” concludes Schmitt.

A diva like no other

In 15 years, Marie-Josée Lord has carved out a place of choice in the middle of the classical music, just as in the heart of Quebec. With her solo shows, often with an album, the soprano evolves in its own way. “In the world of opera, I learned good things and I found things disappointing,” she says. I had to determine where I wanted to go, the path that I wanted to borrow, that I was planning to remove it. You know, when we do not take these decisions, others will take our place. “To be happy, be at peace with itself, the soprano has fled,” the regulations and the terms odd ” : “If the artist no longer has its reason for being. You become a mime you mime something that has existed in the past. Amalgam of all the arts, the opera fascinates me because it gives me a freedom that I didn’t find as a pianist. This freedom, I get it with words, with gestures, with the music, holding me away from rules and conventions. I don’t think I’m a rebel, I just believe that I’m an artist, defined. ”

The mystery of Carmen

Text : Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt. Directed by : Lorraine Pintal. A co-production with the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and Didier Morissonneau. The TNM from 26 February to 16 march, then on tour in Quebec from 19 April to 15 may.


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