THE HUMAN VOICE: a story for our times

The agony of failed love. The coldness of the machine. The voice of humanity.

The Human Voice is a contemporary adaptation of the 1928 stage play by Jean Cocteau, and the 1958 chamber opera by Francis Poulenc.

It is a radically new production of La Voix Humaine. In the original, a lone soprano sings into a telephone, frustrated by a technology that fails and distances and impairs any prospect of intimacy. Her lover advises that he has found another woman.

The Human Voice presents a flip of gender, and a metaphor of global pandemic. Now in English, Isaiah Bell sings to his male lover, and into the abyss of COVID. In a Zoom call impaired by lag and freeze and dropped signals, technology is once again enemy to intimacy. The agony of failed love is heightened by the necessity of distance, by the anaesthetic of the machine.

Starring Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell, with pianist Roger Parton, it will initially appear as a series of seven webisodes, each going up at noon for a week.

On 18 January 2021, it will appear entire, and stay online for one year. The complete chamber opera runs 49:00. It is presented without charge, and was filmed at The Historic Cultch Theatre.

Thanks to the Griffin, Hamber and McLean foundations, and our many private donors, we present this chamber opera without charge.

Only available at City Opera Online /

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