Dietlinde Turban-Maazel, La voix humaine, Castleton Festival, 2013
(photo by E. Raymond Boc)
The spoken monologue was delivered by Dietlinde Turban-Maazel, the festival director's wife, in charming German-accented English. In a silken red dress on a set evoking a well-appointed Parisian apartment (scene and costume design by François-Pierre Couture -- a suspiciously appropriate name for a costume designer), she brought the character of the femme délaissée to pathetic life. Gripping the receiver of an old-fashioned black telephone like a lifeline, she wheedled and lied her way through a final phone conversation with the man who has abandoned her, on the eve of his marriage to another woman. Cocteau identifies the character simply as Elle (She), but the coincidence of Cocteau's writing of this play, in 1930, with the publication of Le livre blanc, in 1928, makes one wonder if the monologue is based on something more autobiographical. Le livre blanc, the confession of a man's homosexual attractions, was published anonymously, but it is now generally accepted as Cocteau's work, not least because he later provided a set of illustrations for it. Many of the lines in the play receive interesting twists if the speaker were instead a man, speaking to a lover about to marry a woman.
Karren L. Alenier, The Human Voice: Poulenc via Cocteau (The Dressing, July 21)
Joan Reinthaler, Castleton Festival’s ‘La Voix Humaine’ and ‘Otello’ (Washington Post, June 21)
Tim Smith, Castleton Festival delivers strong lineup of opera, theater (Baltimore Sun, July 17)
Eve Barnett, Castleton Festival: A Musical Meeting of the Minds (The Georgetowner, July 17)
Roger Piantadosi, The Castleton Festival: right turn, no red (Rappahannock News, July 11)
This production will be repeated once more, this coming Saturday (July 27, 3 pm) at the Castleton Festival.