Drömmen om Thérèse (‘Dream about Thérèse’)
- Elizabeth Forbes
(‘Dream about Thérèse’)
Chamber opera in two acts by Lars Johan Werle to a libretto by Lars Runsten after Emile Zola’s short story Pour une nuit d’ amour; Stockholm, Royal Opera (the Rotunda), 26 May 1964.
Told in flashback as Thérèse (soprano), a beautiful coquette, prepares for her wedding, the opera deals with the infatuation of Julien (baritone) for the haughty and unattainable Thérèse; however, when she kills her servant and lover Colombel (tenor) during the brutal love games in which they indulge, Thérèse in desperation promises Julien a night of love if he will dispose of the corpse by throwing it in the river. Julien does as she demands; then, overcome with horror and self-disgust, he drowns himself.
Staged in the round with the 26-piece orchestra arranged in groups outside the audience, the opera uses stereophonic tapes of electronic music, broadcast through speakers strategically placed to blend in, or contrast with, the live sound. If in the orchestral writing Werle follows the stylistic path of Boulez and Stockhausen, his own personal characteristics emerge most strongly in the highly dramatic and very singable vocal lines....