Elle, La Voix Humaine by Poulenc

8th Jun 2016

Elle In Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine, With BBC Concert Orchestra / Hampstead & Highgate Chamber Music Festival

OPERA NOW choice
la Voix humaine
“A revelation…conjuring heavily oppressive atmosphere from little more than darkness, a few bedside props and some taped passing trains, with the audience gathered in close on three sides and the piano lost in the shadows.
La voix was turned into a squalid, bedsit drama, unadulterated by heroic grandeur, with the audience on its knees, not just emotionally but morally. It felt like we were peering at this little drama through a keyhole, voyeuristically and shabbily.
I’ve seen a lot of La Voix Humaines but this was the first to leave me on the edge of tears. It was superb. Ilona Domnich, the young uk-based Russian soprano in the solo role, gave, the most compelling performance of the piece I’ve ever witnessed: not big in gesture- she had no gallery to play to- but minutely observed, utterly credible, and sang with disarming, jewel-like beauty.
That her English had a Slavic sponginess in the consonants only added to the sense of vulnerability and pathos. And her pebble-in-the throat vibrato did the same, its edginess of the endearing rather than excoriating kind. This was a wonderful affecting little show, and one that ought to launch Ilona Domnich on a serious career.
Michael White, Opera Now 2007

‘.. Ilona Domnich was unforgettable in this lengthy, demanding and harrowing role, responding skillfully to every nuance in the text (her voice finding countless varieties of light and shade), and adroitly and sensitively to Sebastian Harcombe’s sympathetic direction. I felt I was watching something natural and real a human being in distress, desperate, trying to cope with the ugliness of a life that held out no hope for her.
I liked the bareness of juxtaposing a single musical instrument with a single human voice.. Even the silences spoke. The style ranged from gruffness to tenderness, from brusqueness to delicacy.
Classical source 2007