Next Thursday sees Tim Benjamin’s Radius ensemble return to the Purcell Room in a concert of two one-act operas, Poulenc’s La voix humaine and the UK premiere of Benjamin’s comedy Le gâteau d’anniversaire.
Le Gâteau d’Anniversaire was conceived as a theatrical investigation of two subjects. First, the oppression of, and liberation from, accepted convention and custom (why must we all declare our love on St Valentine’s Day? Why must we all send cards at Christmas to those we otherwise ignore?). Secondly, the power of the subconscious to influence the conscious self through the medium of dreams. While we are asleep, we are free from custom and public displays of conservatism and convention.
I chose to combine these two subjects in a farcical comedy combining linguistic puns with poking some fun at the sometimes pompous and self-absorbed traits of the serious bread enthusiast (or “paniphile”).
Le gâteau d’anniversaire received its premiere in March at the Opéra Marseille, and the full score of the opera is available to download from Benjamin’s (rather good) website via a Creative Commons license. More info and booking details for the Purcell Room concert can be found here.
Update: For links to reviews of this concert, please go here.