Lear – You are men of stone

Lear - solitude, madness. © Elisa Haberer/Opéra National de Paris
Lear – solitude, madness. © Elisa Haberer/Opéra National de Paris

The partition of a kingdom, jealousy leading two sisters to orchestrate the death of a third, a cold-hearted father, a conspiration of an illegitimate son against his brother, another father losing his eyesight, blinded by his foes – those are the ingredients of William Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”. Those are the building blocks of Aribert Reimann’s opera “Lear”, that I saw two days ago in Paris at the Opéra Garnier. I finally made it into that prestigious opera house and I saw and heard an utterly stunning performance.

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Butterflies fluttering out of the piano

Fragile life. © Charles Thibo
Fragile life. © Charles Thibo

Right behind my house, there is a butterfly bush, a Buddleja. It is huge. And in a few weeks, it will be full of butterflies, like last year. I can sit there for hours and do nothing but watch the sky and the butterflies. There are about eight or nine different types: small tortoiseshells, peacocks, emperor moths, small whites etc. They flutter from blossom to blossom and live a happy, albeit short life. Robert Schumann’s Opus 2 is a lovely cycle of poems called “Papillons” (butterflies). When the sun shines upon my face, and when I listen to these pieces with my eyes closed, I can see the butterflies dance in the air. So nice.

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A genius emerging from the shadow of Beethoven

Brahms - balance and contrasts. © Charles Thibo
Brahms – balance and contrasts. © Charles Thibo

Balance. Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 is perfectly balanced. Solo parts and orchestral parts. Elegance and vigour. Joy and exasperation. Tranquility and loudness. Zen-like flows and fast paced accents. You know how excited I get each time I listen to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (op. 61). It was written in D major too, but 72 years earlier (1806). Brahms’ only violin concerto brings me close to that state of mind. And I heard it yesterday at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg, performed by Leonidas Kavakos and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg. It was fantastic!

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Tears shed in a dream of blue light

The blue sky - a place for dreams. © Charles Thibo
The blue sky – a place for dreams. © Charles Thibo

A warm spring day. A sky as blue as you can imagine it. Close your eyes. Can you feel that breeze, light as a feather? The sun  is bathing your face. Can you feel it? Clouds. Shadows. Dark, light, dark, light. The clouds are passing by. The first movement is called a “Barcarole”, and that term usually denotes a song sung by the Venetian gondoliers with an accompaniment suggesting the rocking of the gondola on the water. Lean back, drift away! Alpha and Theta waves are traveling trough your brain and make you dream like in a daydream.

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