AJAX opéra

Is it daring to call a work an “opera” today ?

Yes, in the sense that this term, with its history, must convey an intention that does not totally coincide with what one believes are the characteristics of an opera:
The evolution of a dramatic knot, the construction and/or resolution of a conflict, the presence of the soloist’s voices, of musical-theatrical characters, all of this encompassed by the composer’s own musical system and the means of his time. The fact that this opera is “interrupted” is no doubt a sign of subversion of a term with many connotations.

Moreover, every composer today seems to me to owe something to the notion of «continuous development ». This is a notion that comes from the post-romantics, from the Viennese school by way of the radical purification of the fifties.

If this notion is common to every compositional process (which is what I believe), let us leave it to its destiny, somewhat as the « serials » renounced the systematics of the series to devote themselves more particularly to its consequences.

I take from the opera one of the characteristics that appears to me to have been the object of extensive speculation. It is precisely this idea of continuity (that is, the coherence of the series’ structure), but this time as a consequence of a previous intention that « forces » a text that does not always respond to fabricated manipulations.

It is less the tragedy of Ajax as « representation of terror and pity », as stated by Aristotle in « Poetics », than the systematic representation of the ancient choir in the Greek tragedy in general, particularly the fact of interrupting the course of the « drama », of allowing reflection from outside of the story-line and the characters (even if despair may seem not to be « reflexive »), that has brought me to construct another « musical » system, in order to suggest this continuity, despite the text’s « interruptions ».

It was thus a question of using the six parts, the six pieces, as a complete proposition, and of giving a coherence of another nature where there existed « only » the unity of the choir’s theatrical representation.

Only the impression produced will tell whether the intervention is valid or not : attending two performances simultaneously, seeing the coherence of the one prevailing over the other, or perceiving a new dimension in this artistic proposition.

D. Cohen