I’ve seen Francis Poulenc’s monodrama La voix humaine many times and always find it troubling despite that the fact that it is often a vehicle for rather good performances. I was intrigued then by VOICEBOX’ decision to present alongside the Jean Cocteau play on which the opera is based. It really helped me get to grips with what I find uncomfortable about the work.
Poulenc’s La voix humaine is a monodrama for voice and rather large orchestra based on a play by Jean Cocteau. There’s just the one character “Elle” and all we, the audience, hear, is one end of a telephone conversation between Elle and her, recently, ex-lover. It’s a highly emotionally charged piece and not easy to pull off. Last night, Christina Campsall and Brahm Goldhamer presented it in piano arrangement at Mazzoleni Hall with Oliver Klöter directing. It’s a piece that needs directing too as, in a sense, not a lot happens. It’s just a telephone call!