Régine Saint-Laurent—played by the exceptional Quebec soprano Lyne Fortin—has lived like a recluse in her apartment ever since she had to give up on her career because of cracks in her voice. An encounter reawakens the demons of the past: André Letourneur, journalist, comes to interview her about her career and her favourite role, Eleanor of Aquitaine, written specifically for her, at the height of her glory. Who's hiding behind this tragic character? Maria Callas, Régine Crespin? Inspired by the intimate and artistic tragedy that haunts every singer, Prima Donna isn't only based on actual people. This opera, written in French and performed by the Orchestre regional Avignon-Provence (conducted by Samuel Jean), is about something deeper: the loss of one's voice seen as a destruction of one's identity. That may be what convinced photographer Cindy Sherman to play the diva in Francesco Vezzoli's film, shown before the concert, and followed by Rufus Wainwright and his piano. A show that alternates between the lyrical and pop repertoires so dear to the singer, conceived as a “lover letter to the great melodies of romantic music,” from Shakespeare's sonnets to Jeff Buckley or Antony and the Johnsons...
Founded in the 18th century, the Orchestre régional Avignon-Provence wasn't always a pit orchestra: it originally accompanied travelling opera troupes throughout the South of France. It was only in 1825, with the building of a theatre where the current Opéra Grand Avignon stands, that the orchestra settled in one place. Since then, the ensemble has become internationally renown for its eclectic repertoire—from baroque to contemporary music—and the remarkable work it does to attract younger audiences. Its guest conductor, Samuel Jean, himself a leading pianist, is one of the foremost specialists of the French repertoire.
First part Prima Donna
Conception, composition Rufus Wainwright
Video Francesco Vezzoli with Cindy Sherman
Artistic direction Clo'e Floirat
Conductor Samuel Jean
Sopranos Lyne Fortin, Pauline Texier
Tenor Antonio Figueroa
With the musicians with l'Orchestre régional Avignon-Provence
Concert : Piano, singing Rufus Wainwright
Production Rufus Wainwright & Prima Donna LLC, Francesco Vezzoli, Les Visiteurs du Soir
With the sponsorship of Mr. Pierre Bergé