THE COUNTERFEITERS (Les Faux-Monnayeurs)
Opera by Pierre Thilloy based on a text written by André Gide
André Gide (1869-1951) was already a famous writer, well-known for his provocative and scandalous positions, when he published his first real novel, The Counterfeiters (Les Faux-Monnayeurs) in 1925 in the Nouvelle Revue Française. With its many characters and intertwining plotlines, it is a subtle play on mirroring: a novel-within-anovel with Edouard (the alter ego of Gide) intending to write a book of the same title. In the middle of the novel we read: “I invented the novelist who is the central character; the subject of the book is the fight between what reality offers him and what he would do with it instead”. The complex structure of the novel interweaves stories of young people, their falls and achievements. The common thread in Gide’s kaleidoscopic reality is the revelation that humankind has a moral and spiritual responsibility. This world of illusion, the 'dream-within-a-dream', that André Gide so loved is mirrored in the composition technique and execution of Pierre Thilloy, commissioned by the artistic direction of the 39° Cantiere for this ambitious new production which joins live musical execution with virtual expression in a multimedia project rich in originality.
“This opera intends to be un peu du vent” explains Thilloy – it is an airy opera because everything lives through illusions. This perspective is the connection with the chosen theme for this year’s Cantiere: Air.
As Ramuz said in his Souvenirs sur Stravinsky, it is practically impossible to produce a show entirely faithful to André Gide's original work, if for no other reason than the sheer number of characters which would automatically make it impossibly expensive. For this reason the Fondation Catherine Gide, the show's commissioner, invited the French playwright J.P. Prévost to write an adaptation.
Thilloy's composition for I falsari is perfectly coherent with the novel's structure and enhances its continuous illusions by proposing a new sound concept for opera: the voices are reworked using an electronic support.
The previously recorded performances are digitalized and modified in postproduction: the tracks are played during the theater performance in an audiovisual version and are fully inserted into the live performance. Even the acoustic interpretation of the strings and piano is enriched with electronic sequences, in an attempt to both explore and reach beyond the limits of the various musical styles. This is, therefore, a creative analysis by the composer Thilloy who imagines various languages describing themselves and as Gide's text is influenced by mathematical theories, in particular by the fractal theory, the composer has given us scientifically inspired music, closely connected with the intrinsic characteristics of electronic structures. At the same time, the video projections interact with the live performance, revealing an artistic short circuit which requires sound planning in the composition phase and precision in the performance phase. The opera is at one and the same time both real and virtual: in fact, some of the roles have been previously filmed and the registrations have been integrated into the video material as have the stage scenes painted by Christian Gardair who also produced the video base and provided the off-stage voice of Gide and all the epistolary parts of the libretto.
THE COUNTERFEITERS (Les faux-monnayeurs)
by Pierre Thilloy
based on a André Gide text
Vincent Monteil, conductor
Guy-Pierre Couleau, direction, scenes, costumes
Coproduction Fondazione Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte
and Comédie de l’Est-Centre dramatique National d’Alsace
in collaboration with Fondation Catherine Gide e Kords
MONTEPULCIANO, Teatro Poliziano, July 24th ore 9,30pm