Toronto’s Opera 5 is doing a unique thing and bringing the opera to Ottawa Fringe. La Voix Humaine is about a young woman on a phone call to her lover of five years, who’s abandoned her and one day away from marrying another woman.
Should you see it?
La Voix Humaine is a French, one-woman opera. So a unique find. Even with the surtitles I don’t think I got it all but basically it’s about a woman being dumped by a long-term boyfriend who now lives in Paris and has a new belle. Or were they already broken up? Or… I dunno. It confused me because if they were already broken up, as seemed to have the case, the guy had the patience of a saint to stay on the line as long as he did and through her kind of crazy mood swings.
Anyway, yes, it’s a one woman show. The entire conversation happens via phone call with us only ever hearing the woman’s side of the conversation, in broken operatic surtitles.
Aside from being a bit confusing, the other miss for La Voix Humaine was energy. I feel that the draw of opera is high-emotion, big energy, and power. In several scenes, performer Rachel Krehm did get there, and in those moments, La Voix Humaine was very engaging and enjoyable – Krehm does have a wonderful and powerful voice – but those were unfortunately far between. Understandably, Krehm couldn’t maintain that power and emotion for a full hour (both vocally and because the mix of ups and downs are a necessity) but that’s what other cast members are for. To help build energy and create different kinds of energy. Without that, when Krehm was in a lower ebb, there was nothing to keep the energy going and so the show itself felt low.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think? Were you engrossed by Krehm’s vocals in La Voix Humaine? Does the phrase ‘bitches be crazy’ apply here? Tell me in the comments below.