Opera Philadelphia

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La voix humaine

La voix humaine

Music by Francis Poulenc
Libretto by Jean Cocteau
Based on the play by Jean Cocteau
Performed in French with English closed captions

Star soprano Patricia Racette takes her acclaimed interpretation of Elle from the stage to the screen in this new film of one of opera’s most powerful monodramas. 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 shared through a one-sided telephone call. Racette’s previous stage performances in the role have been praised as “deeply poignant” (Chicago Tribune) and a “sophisticated characterization” (Philadelphia Inquirer on her Festival O18 performance).

Directed by the visionary James Darrah (director, Breaking the Waves; creative producer & co-screenwriter, Soldier Songs) and filmed at the gilded Elkins Estate in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, this new cinematic interpretation imbues Poulenc’s intimate musical creation with even greater psychological insight and nuance.

Opera Philadelphia has partnered with Art-Reach, Inc. and Nicole Sardella to provide Audio Description for this production. Learn more>>

Watch Play

La voix humaine video

Opera Philadelphia Channel

Dates are 2021 - 2022.

The Opera Philadelphia Channel has been made possible by the Disosway Foundation, Inc. and by Wyncote Foundation

Major support for La voix humaine has been provided by Dr. Renée Rollin

Made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation

Additional support has been provided by The Presser Foundation

Audio descriptions for the Opera Philadelphia Channel have been underwritten by PECO

Cast & Creative Team

Patricia Racette
Patricia Racetteas Elle Underwritten by Ellen Steiner
Christopher Allen
Christopher AllenMusic Director & Pianist
James Darrah
James DarrahDirector
  • Michael Elias Thomas Director of Photography
  • Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko Costume Design
  • Tony Fanning Production Design
  • Elise Viola Set Decorator
  • Adam Larsen Editor
  • Wendy Cox Producer
Francis Poulenc

The Composer

Francis Poulenc

The brilliant French composer, Francis (Jean Marcel) Poulenc, was born into a wealthy family of pharmaceutical manufacturers. His mother, an amateur pianist, taught him to play, and music formed a part of family life. At 16, he began taking formal piano lessons with Ricardo Viñees. Learn more.

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