Francis Poulenc: La voix humaine - opera in 1 act
Interval
Tim Benjamin: Le gâteau d'anniversaire - opera in 1 act (UK premiere)

Radius present two contrasting one-act French operas - the dark tragedy of Poulenc's classic La Voix Humaine and the fresh comedy of Tim Benjamin's Le Gâteau d'Anniversaire, recently premiered to great success at the Opéra de Marseille. Sung in French (translation provided).

La Voix Humaine
A young woman is on the telephone to her lover, who has just abandoned her and is to marry another woman. This is their final conversation. The tense and harrowing conversation is interrupted several times, with crossed lines and dropped connections heightening the tension.

Le Gâteau d'Anniversaire
Louis - an artisan baker - is sleeping, and amid fond dreams of his singular passion (bread), he 'wakes' to find two women, Marie and Antoinette, emerge from hiding under his bed to torment him - he must give up bread and make cake instead. Eventually, after various threats and a recitation of the Déclaration des droits de l'homme, he succeeds in banishing them. He is woken up (now for real) by his sisters, the twins Théroigne [de Méricourt] and Olympe [de Gouges]. It is their birthday, and he has forgotten to make them a promised birthday cake.

'The performance by the young contemporary music ensemble Radius was exceptionally assured' (Classical Music)

'An enviable assortment of gifted young players ... this concert was brilliantly executed and conceived.' (New Notes)

'If you're in London, if you're listening, go.' (The Guardian)

'Brilliant musicality, an immense display of technical prowess' (The Gazette and Herald)

Performers

Rebecca Lea director, soprano
Laura Sheerin soprano
Emma Hall mezzo-soprano
Jonathan Ainscough baritone
Jamie Thompson piano