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La Damoiselle élue / Jeanne d`Arc au bûcher

Claude Debussy 1862-1918
Arthur Honegger 1892-1955

LA DAMOISELLE ÉLUE
Poème lyrique. Libretto by Dante Gabriel Rosetti (1850), translated into French by Gabriel Sarrazin
First performed April 8th 1893, Société national de musique, Paris
First ever performance in Frankfurt

JEANNE D'ARC AU BÛCHER
Dramatic oratorio. Libretto by Paul Claudel
1st performed (in concert) May 12th 1938, Großer Musik-Saal, Basel
1st staged performance (in German) June 13th 1942, Stadttheater, Zurich
A co-production with the Teatro Real Madrid

Performed in French with German surtitles 

LA DAMOISELLE ÉLUE
The Chosen One Elizabeth Reiter
Narrator Katharina Magiera

JEANNE D'ARC AU BÛCHER
Jeanne d'Arc Marion Cotillard
Brother Dominique NN
The Blessed Virgin Kateryna Kasper
St. Margaret Elizabeth Reiter
St. Catherine Katharina Magiera
Porcus, Herald, Scribe Peter Marsh
A Voice, Herald, Farmer Dietrich Volle / Barnaby Rea

Two contrasting works which have never been performed together before: Debussy's cantata about a young dead woman, looking down from heaven at her sleeping lover, aching with nostalgia about their lost happiness, is followed by Honegger's oratorio about the Maid of Orléans, in which historical facts and theatre symbolism combine to produce a vivid portrait of France's national heroine in the hours before her death. Claude Debussy wrote his delightful early work for two female singers, female chorus and orchestra in 1889, when he was completely under Richard Wagner's spell. Distant echos of Kundry and the Flower Maidens can be heard. He managed to encapsulate a moment of sensuous strength and tender melancholic mourning. The poem he set to music was written in 1850 by the English painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who later painted the »Blessed Damozel« on her heavenly throne. The French translation by Gabriel Sarrazin (1883) breathes the spirits of Baudelaire, Verlaine and Mallarmé, Debussy's main sources of inspiration.

The Swiss composer Arthur Honegger collaborated with the French dramatist Paul Claudel in 1934 to write an oratorio about Jeanne d'Arc. After early hesitations it was a vision which inspired Claudel to develop his own view of the the Maid of Orléans, burned as heretic in Rouen in 1431 and canonized by the Pope in 1920. The main roles are partly sung, partly spoken. Incredible scenes alternate with powerful choruses and the moving dialogue between Jeanne and the monk Dominique, while she relives her life for the last time at the stake. The Catalan theatre maker Àlex Ollé, member of the board of directors of the La Fura dels Baus, famous for their circus spectaculars, is directing at Oper Frankfurt for the first time. The French, Oscar winning, actress Marion Cotillard is Jeanne.