Teatro Massimo in Palermo opens its season with a rarity: Jeanne DArc au Bcher by Arthur Honegger (until 26 Jan). It is a dramatic oratorio which recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of its first performance. Honegger believed the future of opera lay in cinema, a development that did not come about; nevertheless, his oratorio borrows many elements from film: the alternation between song and acting, the use of flashback and fade-outs. It may be in recognition of this characteristic that the part of the protagonist will be played by Irene Jacob, a French screen actress who has worked with Michelangelo Antonioni and Krzysztof Kieslowski. Her task, and that of the director Daniele Abbado, will be all the more difficult because they will have to reckon with a previous, successful production of Honeggers Jeanne dArc, staged by Roberto Rossellini with Ingrid Bergman in 1953 in Naples and then in Milan, Paris and London.
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