Published29 Jul 2021
New film of Poulenc’s La voix humaine starring Patricia Racette and directed by James Darrah premieres September 24 on the Opera Philadelphia Channel
The role of Elle, the lone character in Francis Poulenc’s La voix humaine, has been called a true tour de force for Patricia Racette, who has brought her “deeply poignant” (Chicago Tribune) characterization of the one-act opera to life in productions in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, and other cities over the past five years. This fall, the star soprano takes her acclaimed interpretation of Elle from the stage to the screen in a new film adaptation of the French monodrama, streaming on the Opera Philadelphia Channel beginning on Friday, September 24.
Described by Poulenc as “a musical confession,” La voix humaine tells the story of one woman as she grapples with grief, denial, and anger in the face of unrequited love, all expressed through one side of a telephone call. Filmed in June 2019 at the gilded Elkins Estate in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, this new cinematic interpretation imbues Poulenc’s intimate 1958 musical creation with even greater psychological insight and nuance.
The new film is directed by James Darrah, called “the pandemic’s go-to director” by the LA Times. Darrah has brought a cinematic lens to opera over the past 18 months as creative producer and co-screenwriter for Opera Philadelphia’s film of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs, director and co-creator of Boston Lyric Opera’s The Fall of the House of Usher animated film and desert in streaming television series, and creative director of digital projects with LA Opera and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
His collaborators on La voix humaine include music director and pianist Christopher Allen, costume designer Chrisi Karvonides, production designer Tony Fanning, and film editor Adam Larsen.
“La voix humaine is absolutely perfect for the language of cinema,” Racette said. “The ability to look into the psyche of this character and offer a level of nuance that perhaps might go unnoticed on the stage but certainly is amplified and celebrated through the lens is very exciting. It’s what we need in this art form, it’s what we need in this world, to be able to really immerse ourselves in the detail of these stories without any sort of a barrier.”
The film will be available for rent for $20 as well as unlimited viewing with an annual Channel Pass beginning September 24. Visit operaphila.tv to start streaming the Opera Philadelphia Channel.
About Opera Philadelphia
Opera Philadelphia, the only American finalist for both the 2016 International Opera Award for Best Opera Company and the 2020 International Opera Award for Best Festival, is “the very model of a modern opera company” (Washington Post). Committed to developing opera for the 21st century, the company is recognized as “a hotbed of operatic innovation” (New York Times). For more information, visit operaphila.org.
The Opera Philadelphia Channel creates a digital space in which artists can perform and explore, through a series of new commissions by visionary composers and dynamic performances produced for the screen. Season subscriptions priced at $99 are offered along with pay-per-view rental options for individual performances. The channel is available for viewing on computers and mobile devices, and on TV screens via Chromecast and the Opera Philadelphia Channel app on AppleTV, Android TV, Roku, and Amazon FireTV. For more information, visit operaphila.tv.
The Opera Philadelphia Channel has been made possible by the Disosway Foundation, Inc., and by Wyncote Foundation at the recommendation of Frederick R. Haas and Rafael Gomez. Major Support has been provided by Ms. Robin Angly, Maureen Craig and Glenn Goldberg, Joel and Sharon Koppelman, and Ellen Steiner. Additional Support has been provided by Al and Laura, Mr. Jeffrey P. Cunard and Ms. Mariko Ikehara, Katie Adams Schaeffer and Tony Schaeffer, and the Howard and Sarah D. Solomon Foundation.