Given for the first time at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Moses and Pharaoh of Rossini, far from the food vein with which is too often associated – but not without reason – the composer of Barber of Seville, monopolized the second of the evenings at the Théâtre de l’Archevêché on Thursday 7 July.
A proposal entrusted to the German director Tobias Kratzer, author of Faust of anthology which ends the season at the Paris Opera (until July 13), where the vast Rossinian fresco was created in 1827 (at the time, Le Peletier room), French adaptation with obligatory ballet, from Moses in Egypt Neapolitan of 1818. Monumental work which testifies to Rossin’s vitality, opening the perspective of Meyerbeer’s grand opera, while the Hebrew choirs announce the Nabucco He also gave.
We admit we were scared when we saw Charlton Heston’s clone appear on stage in The ten Commandments (1956), by Cecil B. DeMille, – the same hairy head and patriarchal beard, the same striped purple coat, without forgetting the famous staff capable of prodigies – transforming the water of the Nile into blood, the dust into mosquitoes and, finally , split the waves of the Red Sea. But the reference to biblical imagery stops there. Kratzer has split the set into two parallel worlds: à jardin, the camp of the Hebrews, migrants held in slavery, à cour, the connected technocracy of our modern world. Clothing bric-a-brac on one side, archetypal suits and ties and suits and pumps on the other, between computers, office chairs and meeting tables.
In the background, the reproduction of the Espéluque fountain, place de l’Archevêché, installs on the stage the hic et nunc of our contemporary migratory dramas. While Pharaoh breaks his liberating promise, blindness and night take hold of the world, under the gray flashing of a huge screen that has become useless. If the amusing appearance, in an influential way, of the Syrian princess Elegyne, supposed to divert the son of Pharaoh, Amenophis, from an impossible union with Anaï, the niece of Moses, may seem anecdotal, the end of the opera operates a reversal blood-curdling situation.
Once the migrants in rubber dinghies and life jackets have gathered in the audience, a huge video invades the stage, projecting the drowning of our Western world. These men and women struggling before coming to rest in the swaying of the waves do not come from elsewhere. They wear our designer clothes and our dress shoes, jewellery, briefcases, handbags. A parable more powerful than a humanitarian plea and a form of response to the tonic and elegantly choreographed ballet in which the Egyptian power selfishly reveled, indifferent to the drama.
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