Described as the jazz show Benjamin Britten and W. H. Auden would have written if their relationship had been turned into a performance using their own words and music, check out the latest English offering at the Grand Théâtre.
W.H. Auden, one of the most important poets of the twentieth century, and the composer Benjamin Britten collaborated intensely between 1932 and 1936. Even when their paths diverged, the collaborations continued. In “Funeral Blues”, director Olivier Fredj rediscovers the poetry of W. H. Auden, making the music of Britten an intrinsic element of the performance, while embracing the task of approaching the poetry from a theatrical perspective.
“The joy of living and loving in a world in distress” is Auden’s paradox, imbued with the humour and derision necessary to give his clinical approach to life just the right amount of tenderness. Fredj stages and embodies Auden’s poetry; there is also a sense of something unsaid. The audience is given a chance to discover the inner workings of the author’s mind by hearing his words as they are made emotional by the playfulness of cabaret songs.
“Funeral blues, the missing cabaret” is in many ways the jazz show Benjamin Britten and W. H. Auden would have written if their relationship had been turned into a performance using their own words and music. Olivier Fredj gives life to an imaginary duet, inspired by their extremely complicated relationship, a mixture of physical attraction and artistic excitement.
With Laurent Naouri (baritone), Richard Clothier (actor) and the unbelievable Gypsy Rose Lee-Cathy Krier (pianist), “Funeral Blues” weaves its dramaturgy through Auden’s most beautiful poems and reminds us of Britten’s jazzy Side. The show will be in English, with French surtitles. It will be performed on 18 January (at 8pm), 21 January (at 5pm) and 24 January (at 8pm). There will be an opportunity to meet the artistic team after the second performance.