Concert Opera

Dusapin / Penthesilea

Orchestre de Paris - Chœur de chambre Accentus - Ariane Matiakh - CONCERT DIFFUSÉ SUR PHILHARMONIE LIVE

Direct PenthesileaDirect Penthesilea © DR
Ariane MatiakhAriane Matiakh © Marco Borggreve
Pascal DusapinPascal Dusapin © Jérôme Bonnet / Modds
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Friday, 27 November 2020 — 8:30pm
Saturday, 28 November 2020 — 6:30pm
Grande salle Pierre Boulez - Philharmonie


  • Dusapin
  • Opéra avec prologue, onze scènes et épilogue
  • Livret de Pascal Dusapin et Beate Haeckl, d’après Heinrich von Kleist


  • Orchestre de Paris
  • Choeur de chambre Accentus
  • Ariane Matiakh, conducting
  • Georg Nigl, Achilles
  • Christel Loetzsch, Penthesilea
  • Marisol Montalvo, Prothoe
  • Paul Gay, Odyssus
  • Noa Frenkel, Oberpriesterin
  • Richard Wilberforce, choirmaster
  • Thierry Coduys, Dispositif électroacoustique

A tragedy of love, as well as urges and bestiality, the story of Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons, and the hero Achilles is hoisted by Kleist to horrific heights, with the queen devouring her lover after slaying him.

For this paroxysmal tale, which is not without moments of tenderness, Pascal Dusapin weaves a fascinating and obsessive orchestral tapestry, celebrating the ritual of brutality and love. He weaves dark layers of sound streaked with rhythmic flashes, through which the colours of the soloists emerge (cymbalom, alto flute, muted trumpet), supporting a vocal expressiveness both savage and sensual, in which the purity of song is opposed to talking and screaming.
It was in 2015 at La Monnaie in Brussels that Pascal Dusapin, faithful to his fascination with Greek myths, premiered his Penthesilea. Born of a collaboration with German playwright Beate Haeckl, the libretto is a ‘rewriting/variation’ on one of Heinrich von Kleist’s most complex and violent plays, Penthesilea (1808), which had already inspired a symphonic poem by Hugo Wolf.

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