NEWSLETTER AUTUMN 2023
The CAIRH news
Archives awarded major grant by the “Direction Régionelle des Affaires Culturelles” (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs)
What are we celebrating?
Congratulations to all our new teachers! Bravissimi!
To what are we listening?
Roy Hart Centre Podcast – A moment with Pascale Ben and “Le poisson d’avril”
What are we working on?
A New Opera!
ZAUBER is complete.
The music of ZAUBER has become richer, clearer: it remains the pulsing heart of the piece where it is no longer necessary to understand, only to hear. It took five years to find this essence but maybe that is the alchemy of time necessary to distill gold. – Linda Wise, co-director of Pantheatre.
I did find two of the performers exceptional: I thought anglo-Italian Rosa Lanati was going to steal the show. The quality of her authority and humour and her ‘forbidding’ voice had Mozart fully under control. Anita Roksvåg was exceptional in an almost opposite manner in being sober and “true”, thanks to first-class complex acting. She drew out my emotionally hoarse “brava!” – Enrique Pardo, co-director of Pantheatre.
Imagi_nation welcomes your proposals for future ZAUBER performances, and in the meantime we are ready for something new, a new opera: we’re going to try Acis and Galatea – from Mozart to Handel.
Acis and Galatea
From October 24-29, 2023 Ian Magilton will be directing an Intensive Seminar of Training, Research, and Creation based on Handel’s English baroque opera Acis and Galatea, with a view to orchestrating a production in the spirit of the Roy Hart Theatre.The work will be accompanied by professional actor/musicians, all with extensive experience in the vocal research of Roy Hart Theatre at Malérargues: Stephen Rivers-Moore, Sašo Vollmaier, and Caroline Boersma. At the time of publication roles are still open for two sopranos, one tenor and one bass.
This partnership between the Compagnie imagi_nation, the association and training organisation Pivoine, and La Régie de coordination de Lasalle, with the support of the Centre Artistique International Roy Hart, is an experimental project.
The most important task of a musician is, like that of an actor, to give life to what is written on the page…
Acis and Galatea by Nicolas Poussin (1627–1628 ), National Gallery of Ireland.
What are we reading?
Two offerings, by Enrique Pardo
The 2023 Myth and Theatre Festival – June 17 to July 02
Fetish – A brief report.
Pantheatre’s annual Festival was created in 1987 by Enrique Pardo under the presidency of James Hillman, and has been working with and studying topics related to Magic for quite some years, and intensely in the last ten; since meeting French philosopher Xavier Papaïs, become a close friend. Very young, he was accepted first, at the École Normale Supérieure, France’s top doctoral institution, but his thesis was rejected! It proposed a contemporary rehabilitation of Magic and of its history.
Fetish is the culmination of a long series of Festival themes, all of them addressing Magic inside the myth and theatre nexus. Today, I see Fetish as the richest and most complex model of artistic creativity, rooted in and mixing deep societal and personal factors, risking uncanny figures and associations, always particular, often peculiar. Picasso and Co. figured this out very early on in the 20th century; Surrealism followed suit. But Modernism and Post-modernism seem to have lost the magical trail and ended up with minimalistic abstract totems and conceptualized (head) reductions. Post-colonial thinking is now fostering the reopening of centuries-old cupboards, bringing out the skeletons of the repression of fetish.
The book that ‘clinched’ the topic was Lorand Matory’s The Fetish Revisited: Marx, Freud, and the Gods, Black People Make (2018).The “Gods, Black People Make” are actually some of Humanity’s most extraordinary works of art. Fetish was the insult the Portuguese colonial navigators transferred onto these divine figures, with a dose of cynical (and Christian) panic.
Regarding the next festivals, 2025 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Roy Hart’s tragic death. (Fifty years is enough to transform someone of his stature into a legend, even a myth.) I would posit that his mode of interpreting dreams, linked, particularly, to his voice philosophy was deeply fetishistic, in his own Talmudic way. These is one of the topics we will take on in the 2024 and 2025 Festivals. (Make sure you are subscribed to Pantheatre’s Newsletter.)
Favorite (& Fetish) Performances – from the Malérargues Summer
Shirley Paucara in Zumbayllu, a jewel solo of Poor Theatre in the fabulous tradition of Cuatrotablas, a Peruvian group who visited Malérargues in the late 1970’s, introducing the work and ideas of Grotowski and Eugenio Barba, crucial influences, certainly for me and the creation of Pantheatre. Shirley’s piece is based on Deep Rivers (of the Andes) by Peruvian author José María Arguedas. Magnificent post-colonial militant standpoints, and very fine poetics. Presented during the Myth and Theatre Festival.
Zauber – after Mozart’s The Magic Flute, conceived and directed by Ian Magilton. An authentic ‘Roy Hart’ diamond in the rough. I say Ian is the last ‘Roy Hart’ in Malérargues, in the tradition of what was, according to Roy Hart, his amateur theater. I am working on these themes… for 2025. Read my CRITIQUE.
A challenge by Israeli rebel Benjamin Rivers, whose great-grandfather was one of Ben Gurion’s right-hand (left leaning) men during the creation of Israel, and then… in charge of expelling the Palestinians! Big, big controversy. Bravo for this courageous riveting piece! A creation in (seriously promising) progress, directed by Linda Wise. RDV next summer.
Le Cauchemar de Méduse (Medusa’s Nightmare), also work in (notorious) progress, by Les Chimistes, a group that forms the core of Pantheatre’s Paris Laboratories. To quote Goya: The sleep of reason engenders monsters. Here, literally: we are subtly taken for a ride along a Corniche of twists and turns, alternating laughter, tears and horror, until the leaden silence after Medusa’s rape.
Enrique is co-director with Linda Wise of Pantheatre and of the Myth and Theatre Festival, founding members of the Centre Artistique International Roy Hart Association, based in Paris and Malerargues.
Poetry by Benjamin Rivers
A personal reflection on our relationship to sound, voice, and transmission in the Wolfson-Hart tradition.
Maverick Concert Hall.
A rough wooden structure built in the woods.
David Tudor sits down at the piano.
The audience settles.
We wait for music.
But already, it’s here.
Even in silence.
Tudor lifts the piano lid.
The field lies quiet.
A winter’s wind.
The morning sun.
All is possible.
In each second
What we thought was death
Is something new.
The audience listens.
Even now, we are listening.
We are all listening.
The piano in her silence is sounding.
Strings that tremble with a cleared throat
A cough, the squeak of chairs.
Outside the hall, the world too.
The soil. The woods.
The slow collision of continents.
And above, small white fires that crackle
Somewhere far across the sky.
Many songs in one verse.
Alfred Wolfson in the trenches.
Bearing bodies to a tent.
Bearing bodies to death.
Bodies that sound.
Voices that haunt.
Voices that travel from there till now.
Alive in us.
Longing for light.
From the forest edge he steps.
Into the snow.
Standing. Alert. Attentive.
Not alone. But alone.
Not alone. But alone.
All of us listening. Right now.
Aching. Turning to the cry.
The word. The chant.
The song. The lullaby.
The anthem. A fiesta.
An eon of voices.
Their breath alive in living wood.
Their breath in us.
The teacher. The guide.
The student and seeker.
The hunter is still.
The hunter listens.
The hunter follows.
The hunter predicts.
The hunter prays.
The hunter bows before their prey.
The hunter weeps.
The hunter howls.
All is possible.
In 1951, John Cage visits an anechoic chamber.
He enters expecting to find total silence.
Instead, he hears sound.
One high sound. One low.
The engineer in charge informs Cage that the high sound is his nervous system.
The low one, his blood in circulation.
At Maverick Concert Hall the wind stirs beyond its walls.
Raindrops patter on the roof.
Music is everywhere.
Our voice, from breath to scream, a song.
An impulse driven forth from muscle, bone, cartilage, culture and consciousness.
Teacher, friend, fellow traveler.
Will you help me speak?
Will you listen?
The sound of our blood, the creak of ligaments.
We reach for the unknown and undesirable.
The croak, a groan, a rasping shriek.
The seed of a lament.
The cry of grief.
A plea to God for this to end.
To be delivered.
Suffering into sound.
Sound that comes from necessity.
Voices born from urgency.
A wish to stay or go beyond.
Chords that soothe, and sway and lift us up, together.
Person. From the Latin, “per” meaning “through”
And “sonare” meaning “to make sound”.
This corporeal presence, our human body
With song at its source.
In Maverick Hall, we hear.
The deity. The demon. The oracle.
Each one’s sound inside.
The whimpering child.
A man in love.
We usher them forth.
Courting them, comforting them, coaxing and cajoling them.
Waiting, generous in the fullness of silence.
4 minutes and 33 seconds have nearly passed.
My friends, will you step with me into the snow?
Copyright © 2023 by Benjamin Rivers. Published with the author’s permission.
Benjamin is a long-time student of voice at the Centre Artistique International Roy Hart and is currently a member of the Advanced Pedagogic Group on his journey to becoming a certified Roy Hart Centre voice teacher.
Photo: Ivan Midderigh