Disillusioned by the mundanity and mediocrity of life and humankind, Loyal Friend and Good Hope journey to the kingdom of the birds where they aspire to exist on nothing but art and love. There they encounter Hoopoe, the apathetic king who reigns over his colorful feathered subjects. Upon learning that the sky is not the birds' exclusive domain, Loyal Friend urges them to seize power. Harking back to a glorious golden age, he incites them to build a great city in the clouds and intercept the smoke from the sacrifices made to feed the gods who, weakened by famine, will be obliged to kneel before the birds! But beware promises of a rosy future: tomorrow can be cruel. A poetic and captivating libretto accompanied by exuberant and lyrical music, The Birds is a post-romantic adaptation of Aristophanes' ancient comedy in the guise of an animal fable. Composed by Walter Braunfels during the First World War and premiered in Munich in 1920, this sumptuous opera relates with tenderness and melancholy human aspirations and the failure of utopias. It is high time that this 20th-century masterpiece is performed in France.
Overtitled in French, German