Nostalgia 2175 under the ambisonic dome

Concerts 21.06.2022

Nostalgie 2175, one of the six Musiques-Fictions presented by Ircam as part of Manifeste 2022, brings together the author Anja Hilling, the composer Nuria Giménez-Comas and the director Anne Monfort. The work will be premiered in the Paris region under the ambisonic dome installed for the occasion at the T2G in Gennevilliers. 

It was Anne Monfort who directed Nuria Giménez-Comas towards Nostalgia 2175 by the German writer Anja Hilling, one of the major voices of European theatre. Written in 2008, the play was translated into French by Jean-Claude Berutti and Silvia Berutti-Ronelt. For this audio production (which preceded the stage version now running on theatre stages), Anne Monfort adapts the text and tightens it to about an hour, delivering a story that is as terrifying as it is spellbinding, carried by the music of the Catalan composer.

The story takes place in the XXIIᵉ century. Following a disaster in 2101, the temperature on earth has reached 60 degrees, forcing humans to wear protective suits. Women can no longer bear children without losing their lives. In the Nostalgia bar where she works, Pagona met Taschko, a "dermaplast" painter, and fell in love with him. But the young man's skin is totally burnt, following a sexual assault in which he is left unconscious for two hours in the sun, and can no longer be touched: "no touch, no hand, no skin; everything else in abundance", confides Pagona in her frantic quest for the sublimation of love. "Within the limits of affection, I was crazy with happiness," Pagona tells us. It is with this pain, which is forever linked to her love, that she gives herself to Posch, Taschko's boss, in a room at the Hotel Nostalgia. Despite the risks involved, she decides to keep the child she conceived with him, the child she speaks to throughout the story. The voice, superb, is that of Judith Henry, moving through the story with that always observed distance from what is being said and that neutrality of tone which helps to maintain the atmosphere of strangeness of this story. Thomas Blanchard (Taschko) and Jean-Baptiste Verquin (Posch) do not fail, between narrations and dialogues with the heroine whose sound recording differentiates the spaces and modifies the dynamics.

A virtuoso of mixed works linking instrumental writing and electronics, the composer Nuria Giménez-Comas has a familiar link with Ircam software and the sound space she likes to shape to her desire. The electronic part of Nostalgie 2175 combines the recorded instrumental source, that of the flute and clarinet of L'Instant Donné (Mayu Sato-Bremaud and Mathieu Steffanus), with synthetic sounds. The composer has done a very fine job of integrating the music, sometimes leaving the voice bare, especially when it restarts the narrative after the long silences that articulate the different scenes. It can be discreet, a very pure line crossing the space or a slight vibration or even a barely perceptible hum to suggest depth. It will colour itself, densify its textures, leave its mark on the words; evoke images when the text suggests it, without ever forcing the line (the crackling of insects, the sound of a plane's engine), in a way that is more abstract than purely illustrative: eruptive figures to begin the narrative or underline the tension of the dialogue, energetic starters to launch a new scene. It sometimes takes over, deliberately blurring the narrator's voice, such as this multiphonic sequence where humour emerges, expressing Taschko's confusion and nightmare in the midst of hundreds of VHS cassettes listing the titles of well-known films. The composer speaks of a dramaturgy of sound that is added to a dramaturgy of space, visual music and auditory images interfering with the words of the text to embrace its violence and intensity as much as its poetry.

This is the paradox of this story of painting, desire and nostalgia, which swings between reality and fantasy and projects a dark yet poetic vision of the future of humanity.

Michèle Tosi

T2G de Gennevilliers,18-06-2022
Musical creation by Nuria Giménez-Comas (born 1980): Nostalgie 2175, Music-Fiction based on the play of the same name by Anja Hilling (CM); adaptation by Anne Monfort; Jérémie Bourgogne, sound engineering; Jean-Claude Berutti and Silvia Berutti-Ronelt, translation. With the voices of Judith Henry (Pagona), Thomas Blanchard (Taschko), Jean-Baptiste Verquin (Posch); music recorded by the musicians of l'Instant Donné: Mayu Sato-Bremaud, flute; Mathieu Steffanus, clarinet.

Photo Anja Hilling © Doris Spiekermann-Klaas
Photo © Clémence Kazémi


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