Programming/ French Week – Day 1.
The week promises to be awful – all I have to fight against it is my lightness and carelessness: it’s fine, I’m going to win.
So, just like that, from nothing, I’m inventing my French Week. It’s much more fun in principle than the Fashion Week, where it’s about putting horrible clothes on even more horrible women, and all for prices that make all the stingy people in the world laugh in their vaults.
We have a bad reputation, I think, we French people. We’re grumpy – we’re totally undisciplined – we think we’re the best in the world – our boys are more charming than Italian playboys – and the girls have no sense of loyalty: the little women of Paris, everyone knows.
We kiss each other to say hello, thanks you, see you, you’re a buddy, thanks for the ride, or for nothing at all, we laugh too loudly, we drink wine, we remake the world every time there are three of us at the table, we sing whatever comes to mind: in a word, the French is a charming canary – charming – but a canary .
So one week of French spirit…. will be the Canary Week. And I, all week long, I’ll find shows that have only one goal: lightness.
For the opening of my French Week, I needed a masterpiece of French spirit – without being French.
So how could I miss Cosi Fan Tutte ? I couldn’t.
Here’s a piece whose name is well known – the rest… well, hey, wait and see.
In the category: Opera, impossible to miss Cosi Fan Tutte.
You can tell me all you want about all the musicians of the world, Mozart has earned his place as an indisputable Master. Who else but Mozart to render our futility? A canary, it flies from branch to branch, it’s delighted to find a leaf, and oh but there? there’s another leaf? incredible, I’m going! Futile and classy – so much for my country – and here is the greatest musician in the world who gives a score that is both futile and of immense class.
In the register: Comedy, one can hardly miss Cosi Fan Tutte.
As a story that makes no sense, it also takes a nice place on the podium.
The argument comes from a real fact: once upon a time there were two officers who played at swapping their fiancées… and from then on, the four of them slipped into the happiest anything.
So this is what people of good education call an Opera Buffa, a comic opera, made to make us laugh and entertain us.
Obviously, the basis of all this is appalling – for a woman: the beginning of the story tells (again) that the woman is necessarily unfaithful – and the game will be to demonstrate this without any possible contestation. – I told you: right in the middle of my subject & luckily, I’ve never been able to be a feminist, so it’s a really fun subject.
Here are our lovers who say they are leaving for the regiment – and who return, disguised, each to the other’s fiancée.
They go there without restraint: they drink arsenic, because the lovely ladies refuse them – fortunately, there are antidotes ready, the guys resurrect.
The story begins to go wrong, one of the two girls gives in to the passion of her new supposed lover – and at the time of the boyfriends’ reckoning, inevitably… it doesn’t go well.
As it was still too simple, the girls decide to disguise themselves too to find their real fiancés – and there… you either have to let Mozart’s genius take over and let yourself be carried away by a story that becomes a fantasy madness – or take a little notebook and write down everything that happens to keep track.
Listen: the audience laughs – but yes, we also laugh at the Opera.
It’s another MET production – frankly, it’s going to annoy me at the end. But compare the staging at the MET with that of the Opéra Bastille in Paris: one gives it all – and the other starts with sets that make you look for a radiator to warm you up a bit in all that coldness. – So there you go, I like the MET’s productions a lot more .
We are exactly in the Vaudeville register (French Vaudeville, yes I saw, in the United States, a Vaudeville is not the same thing as in my country), in all those plays that have been the joy of every scene since the invention of the theatre: ultra-light love stories, where love is mostly a hobby, where you won’t find passion at all, but a good dose of futility.
And it is this futility that will make even a woman laugh at the story – while still, once again, we are seen as the evil, heartless and scatterbrained villains – . For my part, I want to fully accept the role of the futile and scatterbrained woman, from the moment there is nothing but playing.
If you want to see love, the real one, the one that nails you down – then you have to go into the register of the Tragic – the Comedy is not based on strong feelings. And besides, we are also excellent in Love Tragedy. Maybe a little less than the Russians. But we too have a real heart – well, I’ll save that for another week: the French Rainy, the one where you feel cold at the Opera, the one where everything is so sad, so serious, so dramatic, so intellectual.
So, the year when it comes to talking about Light Loves, we’ll have to program Cosi Fan Tutte, and Marivaux’s plays, and a few other gems of comedy that I’m going to add to my week here.
The day I find French people who look like that, I promise, I’ll take a photograph and I’ll mail it in large – in the meantime, take off the berets, the moustache and the sailor sweaters because that’s only at Jean Paul Gaultier’s – and it can seem “French”.
Featured Image : Cosi Fan Tutte, M.E.T 2014