Les Bains Macabres

Video Design

composer: Guillaume Connesson
author: Olivier Bleys
musical director: Arie Van Beek
director: Florent Siaud (also Carmen & Pelléas)
stage design & costumes: Philippe Miesch
with & production of:  l’Orchestre des Frivolités Parisiennes

To live out on love and fresh water is one thing. It is quite another to die of love and thermal waters… Born from the meeting of the novelist Olivier Bleys and the composer Guillaume Connesson, this contemporary opéra-comique combines the joys of repartee with the pleasures of a police investigation , the breath of the thriller, and the dizziness of love beyond death. An old-fashioned modern work, carried out with finesse, humor, and scented with a few drops of phantasmagoria.

“Poétique et loufoque”


A few words about the video design

There were several challenges to overcome when creating the video design for this new lyrical work by Guillaume Connaisson. First, to give texture, personality and mystery to the “World of the Absents”, a space for the dead peoples who lost their lives in the “Bains Terminus”, linked to them by the aquatic element. Mathéo is linked to sand in the libretto, Célia, the other protagonist, naturally became a sea related caracter. I had fun weaving these connections to their element, in small touches, all the way through the opera, up to the final wreaths. For the other challenges, technic and artistic were intimately linked. We had to give fluidity and poetry to a skype discussion between the two main protagonists, Mathéo and Célia.Célia is in her apartment, on the set, the other in the “World of the Absents”, off stage, but projected on the scenography. It is very beautiful virtual love duo, mediated true computers and cameras, where the singer offers us a superb close-up of a naturalness so rare in opera. For this to work, they had to see each other in order to play together, see the conductor in order to sing together, and the video could not be out of sync with the music. Then we had to make it elegant on the set …  For the very beautiful “Sand air”, I took pleasure in creating a particul sandstorm (its a generative work, the elements of which are created directly in the computer, like in video games for example) that to direct it live, as to follow the movements of the music and the singer. Several marine elements are also generative, for the sole purpose of perfectly mastering their rhythm, something more difficult with a pre-recorded video.  Last but not least is the decay of Mathéos body  at the end of the opera, returning not to dust but to sand. I used my body-mapping techniques to adorn Mathéo’s body with a suit of sand falling apart, as if his body itself was losing its reality. For once the body-mapping was not here at the center of the work, loike in Skinstrap or Dualskin, it was just one element of visual narration among others.

“Pétillants Bains Macabres à l’Athénée” (Les Echos)

“Poétique et loufoque” (Forumopera.com),    

“Deux grosses heures de plaisir et un immense éclat de rire final.

Plongez sans hésiter dans ces Bains Macabres ; l’ouvrage tient l’affiche jusqu’au 6 février !” (Concertclassic.com

Full Cast

stage design & costumes: Philippe Miesch
light: Nicolas Descôteaux (also Pelléas et © photos)
1st assistant: Jane Piot
video design:  Thomas Israël
tech director: générale Anna Piatyszek
Make-up & hairs: Fanny Jakubowicz, Corine Blot

production : Les Frivolités Parisiennes
coproduction : Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne
coréalisation : Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet
partenaires : La Caisse des Dépôts, l’ADAMI, la SACD-Fondation Beaumarchais, la Fondation Singer Polignac, le FCL et la copie privée, la Région Hauts de France et la Ville de Paris, les agglomérations de St-Dizier, Der et Blaize.

Célia Verdier: Sandrine Buendia
Mathéo: Romain Dayez
Nestor: Gobineau Fabien Hyon
Miranda: Joule Anna Destraël
Prosper: Lampon Geoffroy Buffière
Aristide: Nubret Nicolas Certenais
les curistes: Benjamin Mayenobe, Jérémie Brocard, Benoît-Joseph Meier
Chorus: Le choeur Les Éléments
Chef de chant: Nicolas Chesneau
Chef de choeur: Joël Suhubiette