Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)
Opera in 3 acts & 4 pictures
Stage Director : André Engel
Die Tochter Angela Denoke
Die Dame Hannah Esther Minutillo
Cardillac Alan Held
Der Offizier Christopher Ventris
Der Kavalier Charles Workman
Orchestra & Choir of the Opera de Paris
Conductor : Kent Nagano
An overwhelming masterpiece, Cardillac was added to the repertoire of the National Opera of Paris eighty years aver its composition by Paul Hindemith.
Cardillac is a master jeweler who cannot live without his creations, killing his clients to recuperate them and assert his authorship, and conferring the status of art upon the act of murder. Director André Engel sets his production in the 1920′s, the period during which Cardillac was composed, a time of incredible creativity, and the glorious epoch of silent movies and popular novels. Engel underlines the sordid family story, in which Cardillac pays for his irrepressable pride and criminal insanity. His finely cinematic directing is supported by extremely beautiful costumes and sets.
Hindemith’s score is sung by an excellent cast : the American bass-baritone Alan Held plays the role of Cardillac, and the actress and singer Angela Denoke embodies the daughter of the jeweler-murderer. The English tenor, Christopher Ventris plays the role of the fiancé, and of course, the handsome Chevalier is portrayed by Charles Workman.
Above all, Cardillac is an hour and a half of suspense, accompanied by a music that departs from romantic and post-Wagnerian traditions. For Hindemith, a German composer of the 20th century, the libretto is a canvas which allows for the ample and multiform development of the music. In the most extreme cases, the music is completely independent and detached from the action on stage.
With the esthetic choices taken in Cardillac, Hindemith associated himself with New Objectivity, (Neue Sachlichkeit), a movement which emerged after 1918 in opposition to expressionism, shunning pathos and sentimentality, to attempt a new treatment of reality that was as objective as possible. Conductor Kent Nagano’s natural austerity and “distancing” from the work, align perfectly with Hindemith’s score.