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Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann|Poulenc: La Voix humaine, Fiançailles pour rire

Poulenc: La Voix humaine, Fiançailles pour rire

Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Frédéric Chaslin

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Francis Poulenc's late opera La voix humaine (1958) seems ideally suited to the age of cellular telephony, and indeed, it is showing signs of revival with several new productions. This 2023 recording by soprano Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann and the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia should contribute to the trend. La voix humaine is an operatic monodrama, but of a modern kind; the single character is a woman, simply named Elle (She), talking on the phone, being dumped by her boyfriend, and hinting at suicide. The text was written by Jean Cocteau in 1930, when dropped phone calls were no doubt common, but it works perfectly in a contemporary setting; the phone conversation is interrupted by panicky "Allô allô" interjections. Poulenc's musical language for dealing with this text is remarkable, and it is not like that in any of his other compositions. The singer is unaccompanied when she is directly addressing her hearer, while the passages in which she narrates events are accompanied by the orchestra. This creates an uncanny impression of an actual phone conversation. Poulenc's harmonic language here is quite modern in comparison to his other works, not quite atonal but shorn of the popular tinge present in so much of his work. Cherrier-Hoffmann's performance is appropriately stressed out, and she is shown in the graphics with her hands splayed across a window as if trapped. Conductor Frédéric Chaslin emphasizes the orchestra's big, operatic sound, and this works; the engineering makes no attempt to disguise the opera house acoustic. Chaslin also contributes orchestrations of smaller Poulenc voice-and-piano works; these frame the opera and return the listener to the usual Poulenc world. This is an unusually satisfying Poulenc release and a fine performance of a work whose reputation is on the way up.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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Poulenc: La Voix humaine, Fiançailles pour rire

Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann

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1
Les chemins de l'amour, FP 106 (Transc. for Soprano and Orchestra by Frédéric Chaslin)
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:04:03

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

La voix humaine, FP 171 (Francis Poulenc)

2
Introduction
Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia
00:00:52

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

3
Allô, allô…
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:04

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

4
Allô ! c'est toi ?
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:14

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

5
Hier soir, je me suis couchée tout de suite
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:56

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

6
Allô ! chéri… Si on coupe, redemande-moi tout de suite
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:13

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

7
Quelle comédie ?
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:36

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

8
Souviens-toi du dimanche de Versailles
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:48

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

9
Demain ? Je ne savais pas que c'était si rapide
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:00:56

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

10
Allô… et comme ça ?
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:50

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

11
Oh ! non, mon chéri, surtout ne me regarde pas
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:02:47

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

12
Allô, allô, mademoiselle
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:02:19

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

13
Allô ! ah ! chéri, c'est toi ?
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:04:20

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

14
Hier soir, j'ai voulu prendre un comprimé
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:02:07

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

15
Il était quatre heures du matin
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:56

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

16
Allô ! J'entends de la musique…
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:10

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

17
Pardonne-moi. Je sais que cette scène est intolérable
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:00:34

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

18
Avant-hier soir ? J'ai dormi
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:04:26

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

19
Allô ! Allô ! Madame, retirez-vous
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:02:51

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

20
Sois tranquille. On ne se suicide pas deux fois
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:57

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

21
Allô !... Allô !... Mon Dieu, faites qu'il redemande
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:04:20

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

22
Alors, voilà… J'allais dire machinalement : à tout de suite
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:02:04

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

Fiançailles pour rire, FP 101 (Transc. for Soprano and Orchestra by Frédéric Chaslin) (Francis Poulenc)

23
La dame d'André
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:39

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

24
Dans l'herbe
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:56

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

25
Il vole
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:59

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

26
Mon cadavre est doux comme un gant
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:02:48

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

27
Violon
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:01:47

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

28
Fleurs
Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann
00:02:06

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Frederic Chaslin, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, Orchestra, MainArtist - Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann, MainArtist, SopranoSolo

2023 Aparté, a label of Little Tribeca 2023 Frédéric Chaslin

Album review

Francis Poulenc's late opera La voix humaine (1958) seems ideally suited to the age of cellular telephony, and indeed, it is showing signs of revival with several new productions. This 2023 recording by soprano Julie Cherrier-Hoffmann and the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia should contribute to the trend. La voix humaine is an operatic monodrama, but of a modern kind; the single character is a woman, simply named Elle (She), talking on the phone, being dumped by her boyfriend, and hinting at suicide. The text was written by Jean Cocteau in 1930, when dropped phone calls were no doubt common, but it works perfectly in a contemporary setting; the phone conversation is interrupted by panicky "Allô allô" interjections. Poulenc's musical language for dealing with this text is remarkable, and it is not like that in any of his other compositions. The singer is unaccompanied when she is directly addressing her hearer, while the passages in which she narrates events are accompanied by the orchestra. This creates an uncanny impression of an actual phone conversation. Poulenc's harmonic language here is quite modern in comparison to his other works, not quite atonal but shorn of the popular tinge present in so much of his work. Cherrier-Hoffmann's performance is appropriately stressed out, and she is shown in the graphics with her hands splayed across a window as if trapped. Conductor Frédéric Chaslin emphasizes the orchestra's big, operatic sound, and this works; the engineering makes no attempt to disguise the opera house acoustic. Chaslin also contributes orchestrations of smaller Poulenc voice-and-piano works; these frame the opera and return the listener to the usual Poulenc world. This is an unusually satisfying Poulenc release and a fine performance of a work whose reputation is on the way up.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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