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Opera Academy of California – September 18, 2016

Francis Poulenc La voix humaineMaurice Ravel Lheure espagnoleLa voix humaine, an unusual work subtitled “Lyric Tragedy”, was created ten years after Dialogues of the Carmelites. Francis Poulenc composed this operatic monologue for Denise Duval, his favorite singer, who created the role under the direction of Georges Prêtre, with staging and scenery by Jean Cocteau, who also wrote the libretto. Putting to music his friend Cocteaus monodrama, the composer creates an extraordinary tour de force. Lheure espagnole, a sex farce about a lusty Spanish woman juggling lovers while her husband is preoccupied with clockwork mechanisms, evokes a Spanish flavour through Ravels use of native dance forms including the jota, the habañera and the malagueña.