LE SOLEIL ET LES AUTRES ÉTOILES
Does the opera reflect the major issues of the world ? Ukraine, Black Lives Matter, Taiwan, China, Israël, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and many others… From Massada to Monségur, from Giordano Bruno to Spinoza, people always try to resist to violence and oppression. We must sing of their struggle and their hopes.
Although the story is clearly inspired by the massacre of the Monks of Tibhirine in 1996, the subject is treated without any precise reference (time, place, religion). The discourse focuses on the eternal oppositions: forced submission/consented submission, love/hate, death and resurrection.
In an isolated monastery, monks watch and pray. Scenes 2-5 show three of the major characters responding to each other without actually meeting. The maid reports disturbing events that seem to be approaching, announcing a tragic outcome. The novice comments on this unexplained rise in violence, moving from despondency to disbelief, then from supplication to revolt. The prior wonders what decision to make.
At the invitation of the prior, 3 monks recount the events that led them to choose monastic life (scenes 6, 8 and 9). Example and admiration for the first, metamorphosis of earthly love into mystical love for the second, redemption for the third. Scenes 7 and 10 amplify tension between an increasingly threatening exterior and an interior seeking a way out. The first act ends with painful confessions. Hesitation for the prior, resignation for the novice.
Three women (Parcae? Norns? Angels?) comment on the situation, repeating almost word for word the proclamations of scene 1. Their intervention suspends the evolution of time. The feverishness of the first act gives way to a stretching of durations, carried by the musical treatment. The monks decide to face their destiny without fear, faithful to their vows. This fidelity leads them from servitude to freedom, following in the footsteps of a thousand-year-old Fraternity.
The novice pronounces his vows, he is transfigured by the example of his brothers' courage. Their sacrifice will not be in vain, one of them will bear the seed of a new world.
The profound message is that proclaimed by all those who refuse to submit to arbitrariness. Many cases can be mentioned: the struggle of minorities for the respect of their rights, the struggle of peoples for their freedom, the struggle of citizens for democracy, etc.
In the end, Love, in the sense of the Agapé of the Ancient Greeks, will triumph over negative forces.
The last words are those of the last verse of Dante’s Divine Comedy "l'Amor che move il sol e l'altre stelle ». (Love that moves the sun and the other stars)