Renaud Machart went to Brussels last month to see a production of Verdi's Macbeth directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski at the Théâtre de la Monnaie. The critic had hated Warlikowski's infamous Parsifal at the Opéra de Paris in 2008 and was surprised, given that his Macbeth was cut from the same directorial cloth, to find himself so impressed. As Machart describes in his review (Le "Macbeth" incandescent de Warlikowski, June 15) for Le Monde, much of the action was set in a hospital ward; for no apparent reason a letter from a soldier in Vietnam to his wife was read before the curtain went up; and in the last act, again for no apparent reason, two half-naked men danced together in one scene, before suffocating themselves together under a plastic sheet. Machart tries to pull the allusions apart (my translation):
Are the men the incarnation of the desperation of these long wars without women, or should we find in the subterfuge of a male friendship the expression of tenderness and sexuality? Are they nothing more than a Viscontian or Pasolinian memory (Ludwig or Salo), or simply the underscoring of the languorous balance of an aria in the form of a slow waltz? A delicious mystery. Warlikowski is decidely better when he suggests rather than imposes.So, big deal, another nutty production that has little to do with the libretto of the work it is purportedly trying to stage. Then, near the end of the review, Machart drops an unexpected and unrelated bomb (my translation):
The director decided to remove the chorus from the stage and positioned them in the theater's highest balcony, the "paradis" -- it worked when they were portraying the witches. Too easy? Perhaps (directors from the world of theater generally hate the burden of choral crowds), but the decision had two happy effects: the female singers truly looked like sorceresses leaning over their evil cauldron; the sound thus obtained had a "spatialized" richness, which, without requiring any electronic aid, could be of interest to Pierre Boulez for the opera that, according to our sources, he will adapt from Beckett's Waiting for Godot, planned for La Scala in Milan in 2015 [emphasis added].Boulez and La Scala General Manager Stéphane Lissner are apparently close friends, which could explain how he could convince Boulez to undertake writing an opera. I read somewhere that Lissner had plans for a Boulez opera at some point in the future, but this was the first time I have ever seen a reference to the subject and specific date. Machart's comment was reported in the Italian press and made the rounds of some French online forums, but I have not seen it confirmed anywhere else. Boulez turned 85 this spring and would be 90 in 2015, which happens to coincide with the possible end of Lissner's term in Milan: if it happens, there is little doubt that a Godot opera by Boulez would be one of the most important opera premieres in recent memory.