La Passion de Simone

Concert Version with Images

Visual Part Premiered in Helsinki’s Musiikkitalo, October 19th, 2012,

commisioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Music: Kaija Saariaho
Libretto: Amin Maalouf


Soprano: Dawn Upshaw

Text spoken by Dominique Blanc
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen, cond.
Tapiola Chamber Choir, Hannu Norjanen, cond.

Visual Part Conception & Direction: Jean-Baptiste Barrière

Choreography: Luca Veggetti
Dancer: Gabrielle Lamb

Cameras: Isabelle Barrière, J.B. Barrière, Alex Barrière

Computer Images realization: J.B. Barrière & François Galard

with the help of LE CUBE for studio filming (thanks to Carine Le Malet) & CITU for cameras

La Passion de Simone, an oratorio for solo soprano, choir, orchestra, and electronics,

more informations on Kaija Saariaho’s website

Originally premiered in a staged version directed by Peter Sellars, this oratorio about the life and work of French philosopher Simone Weil,  has been developed in new version for live video, premiered at the occasion of the 60th birthday celebration of Kaija Saariaho, and offered to her as a surprise gift in Helsinki’s Musikkitalo on October 19th, 2012, with Dawn Upshaw singing, and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, which commissioned this visual part to Jean-Baptiste Barrière.

Jean-Baptiste Barrière filmed the dancer Gabrielle Lamb, choreographed by italian director Luca Veggetti, in what is left of the ruins of the gigantic industrial complex of Renault (in which Simone Weil worked), on ïle Seguin, on the river Seine, in the west suburb of Paris.

He edited and processed these materials, together with archives documents and synthetic images, working, as usual in his visual works, very closely with the structure of the musical score by Kaija Saariaho.

In the performance situation, the prepared materials are modified according to the live computer analysis of the concert interpretation of the score, in order to link various musical and visual parameters (for instance vocal and orchestral timbres and colors), in complex relations evolving all over the time span of the piece.