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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

La Ville Morte

The poster for La Ville Morte.

Apr 19–21, 2024
566 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

Over the past quarter-century, the catalog of Neal Goren’s productions has included such landmarks as Haydn’s The World on the Moon in a planetarium, Catán’s Rappaccini’s Daughter in a rose garden, and Cavalli’s Eliogabalo in a cabaret straight out of Cabaret. Now his attention is on La Ville Morte (The Dead City), composed by the twentysomething Nadia Boulanger in an unconventional partnership with her erstwhile mentor Raoul Pugno, 35 years her senior. But for the outbreak of the First World War, their joint effort (both are credited) would have received its premiere in 1914, at the Opéra Comique. Exhuming La Ville Morte has taken some doing. “I spent the first eight months of the COVID lockdown cutting the opera to focus its musical power as well as its action,” Goren says. “I cut the entire chorus, which never sings text, only vowels.” A hovering confidante called the Nurse bit the dust as well. Goren’s version clocks in at a trim 95 minutes (plus intermission), and is now on in Athens before heading to New York City. —Matthew Gurewitsch

Photo: © Sophie von Hellermann 2023