Célie, when the Academy asked you to stage Strauss’s operetta, how did you come to take an interest in the episode at the Theresienstadt camp?
Can you tell us about that historic episode?
Fayçal, how did match your musical direction with Célie’s project?
Célie, in your production of Bérénice staged last season, you strove to create a dialogue between Racine’s verses and Césarée, the short film directed by Marguerite Duras. This time, you confront Die Fledermaus with history. In order to stage a work, do you need to displace it or deterritorialize it?
You have chosen to translate the dialogue into French…
C. P.: The spoken dialogue underwent some adaptations. I pruned it to give the text a more timeless, less-dated dimension, while at the same time infusing certain details pertaining to Theresienstadt—including footage that we filmed there—to facilitate an understanding of a line here or a retort there.
F. K.: French was important for repositioning the action, but also for conveying the multitude of accents and the cosmopolitanism of the performers. At the beginning of the performance, the singers and musicians introduce themselves by giving their first name and their place of birth. Since we are at the Academy, everyone comes from all over the world. In Theresienstadt too, there was this mix of nationalities. It’s a very moving moment.C. P.: I needed to move beyond the performers, that’s to say, an absolute present, to allow the performance to be contaminated by discreet quotes from history. It’s also extraordinary to think that some of the performers like Liubov and Danylo were born a few years apart yet one was born in Russia and the other in the USSR. You sense the friction of the tectonic plates of history.
Your reading: Eros in Thanatos