La voix humaine

Opera

Writers: Francis Poulenc Jean Cocteau

Overview

Show Information

Based on the Play/Book/Film
'La voix humaine' by Jean Cocteau
Category
Opera
Number of Acts
1
First Produced
1959
Genres
Drama
Settings
Simple/No Set, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
france, early 20th century
Cast Size
small
Orchestra Size
Small
Dancing
None
Ideal for
All-Female Cast, Chamber Opera, College/University, Professional Opera, Small Cast, Star Vehicle Female
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes young adult, adult characters

Synopsis

Lying alone in her apartment, a young woman waits for a telephone call from her ex. Several wrong numbers come through first, and each time she answers with increasing excitement, until finally she hears the voice she wants to. Through a series of anxiety-laden moments when the telephone call drops, she gradually reveals that she tried to commit suicide the previous night, She called her friend who arrived with the doctor and kept her safe. She has been spending a lot of time with the telephone since their separation.

Over the telephone she can hear music playing in the background and accuses her ex of being with someone else, to which he does not respond. The final time he calls back, she tells him she has wrapped the telephone cord around her neck, and falls to the bed repeating that she loves him.

Poulenc’s one-act opera for solo soprano is an intense retelling of Jean Cocteau’s play of the same name. It offers an important theatrical and musical examination of somebody struggling with their mental health after a difficult break up, and the importance of communication.

Lead Characters