In the ethereal afterlife, there is no time or space. The shades, freed from their earthly cares, celebrate the greatness of the Goddess of Truth. Shrouded in eternal glory, she sits triumphant, flanked by Beauty and Goodness, while at her feet lies Suffering in her mantle of blood. In the midst of this chorus of praise, a discordant lament rises: “To live! Who will give me back the thrill of life?” The voice belongs to Guercœur, who died in the prime of life after falling in love with Giselle and freeing his people from a tyrant, assisted by his friend Heurtal. Unable to rest, Guercœur begs to return to his fleshly form. Truth warns him: two years have already passed on Earth where nothing lasts forever. His fall from paradise could be brutal…
A man with principles, a feminist and a Dreyfusard, Albéric Magnard (1865-1914) was like his character: a hero who died for the freedom of his country. He was killed in September 1914 while single-handedly trying to protect his property from German soldiers who burned down his house in retaliation. Most of his unpublished manuscripts were destroyed, including Guercœur, which was later miraculously reconstructed. After a long spell in the purgatory of forgotten masterpieces, this fascinating opera, whose magnificent score contains post-Wagnerian flashes transmuted by the colours of French music, returns to a French opera stage for the first time since its premiere in 1931, thanks to Ingo Metzmacher, Christof Loy and Stéphane Degout.
Overtitled in French, German