First visit to the Opéra Comédie to mark three weeks in Montpellier. The event: Cabaret Apollinaire, a presentation of Guillaume Apollinaire’s poetry in song and recitation.
Yes, seat B22 put me right up front, barely twenty feet from where the actor representing the poet himself sat — when he was sitting, which wasn’t that often. I like that kind of proximity, even while I’m not sure the poems required quite so much shouting when already amplified. Two cabaret chanteuses provided narration and vocals to the poems set to song, supported by composer Reinhardt Wagner on piano, along with an accordion and saxophone/clarinet. And in the background an “artist” filled in a reproduction of the iconic image of Apollinaire with bandaged head, using words instead of lines.
Guillaume Apollinaire, poet, art critic, soldier, friend of Picasso, Jarry, and other poets and painters of the early 20th Century, died of the epidemic influenza of 1918 just two days short of the Armistice, at age 38.
A book and CD of the show will be released Friday, the 100th anniversary of Apollinaire’s death.
P.S. I ordered the CD the same night, scheduled for release Friday, and it showed up Saturday.