Darius Milhaud

Darius Milhaud


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Milhaud and Broomhill Opera

Among the projects discussed with Mark Dornford May and Charles Hazlewood during the weeks following David Drew's appointment in April 1999 as Dramaturg of Broomhill Opera, was a double bill whose main feature would be one of Milhaud's least-known operas, Esther de Carpentras. This remarkable work was to be preceded by the better-known Les Malheurs d'Orphée, of which Ravel had been an early admirer. The usual companion piece for Orphée has been Milhaud's Le Pauvre matelot - a work with which it has no thematic connections, but one that has always enjoyed a certain popularity, thanks in some measure to the much admired libretto by Jean Cocteau.

The fact that Armand Lunel is the author of both the Esther and the Orphée is only an indication of a much deeper bond between the two works. Their affinities and contrasts are such that a finely produced and performed double bill could prove revelatory. Of this possibility, there is no hint in the available literature.

The following synopses and notes were prepared in the form of a memorandum to the Broomhill management, dated 5 May 1999.

The Milhaud project had no greater supporter than the composer's widow, Madeleine Milhaud, with whom there were numerous illuminating discussions at her Paris home. It remained on the agenda of Broomhill Opera for many months, and found widespread support - but not, unfortunately, with funding bodies, either in the UK or abroad.


Material Copyright © 2002 David Drew.