Arts: Timeless Mozart

Arts: Timeless Mozart
At relevant junctures between the scenes, the Take 5 Piano Quintet (above) and four singers from the New Opera Singapore will perform excerpts of Mozart's music.

SINGAPORE - It has been seven years since Quentin Bernard first saw Ma Vie Avec Mozart (My Life With Mozart) at the Theatre du Montparnasse in Paris, but the French actor can still vividly recall how he felt when he walked out of that theatre.

"The set was just very simple and there were few instruments. But the emotion and the feeling, the beauty of what he says and the music that goes with it ...I remember exactly. You don't remember a performance, you always remember the experience," he says.

In fact, that was when he fell in love with Mozart and classical music in the first place. And that's the same effect he wants for audiences at his own upcoming production of Ma Vie Avec Mozart, at the Alliance Francaise next week.

"It would be a great initiation into Mozart, for people who don't know it. Because it will enlighten you and give you a different approach to the music. It can be very modern and timeless - its meaning still makes sense today," he explains.

According to Bernard, who is also the executive producer of the show, he intends to keep the focus on the text and music by making the performance an intimate one. For example, his stage will be kept simple with just office furniture and some changing props to indicate the passing of time.

And instead of having a full orchestra, which Mozart's music was written for, music director Christophe Drag was tasked to reduce the score so that a small group would be sufficient to perform it.

The performance itself is a little more than just your regular play, because of the music that will be inserted between scenes. What will happen is, the protagonist, played by Bernard, will recite lines from letters to Mozart, that have been adapted from the original book by famous French writer Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt (2005).

At relevant junctures between his lines, the Take 5 Piano Quintet and four singers from the New Opera Singapore will perform excerpts of Mozart's music, including Figaro and The Magic Flute.

Since the musicians and singers are from Singapore, Bernard is confident his production will be able to differentiate itself from the one he remembers from Paris, and that it will naturally be adapted to a local audience. "Because of the way they decide to play it, it will already be Singaporean.

This music will adapt to wherever it is. It's very much alive," he says.

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