Un chant d'amour et de mort by Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen's final song cycle for solo female voice and piano comes to life performed by mezzo-soprano Leslie Ann Leytham and pianist Brendan Nguyen, with video and staging by Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli.
Combining his own symbolist poetry and elements of Quechua, an indigenous language spoken by Quechuan peoples living primarily in the Andes mountains of Peru, Messiaen weaves together his lifelong fascination with non-western language and Wagner's representation of love-death in Tristan und Isolde. The narrative is driven by representative imagery—eyes, stars, mountains, green doves—layered with color and poetic device on a path to illuminate a bloody cosmic death in order to unite the souls of two young lovers. While the structure is representative and intensely dramatic, video will not echo but counterpoint the emphatically rendered drama of darkness and light, the representative and the abstract—it will layer in elements of the mundane. Applying the dramatic narrative to our existing tensions between the urban and the natural, through the surreal suburban. Merely touching on elements of the represented, employed to construct the cosmic within the hyper-local surreal, an acid trip in a far-too-in-love teenager’s bedroom.