The tragedy of Racine could not be performed last November at TNS It gives almost all its measure in its filmed version broadcast on February 22 on the ephemeral channel of Culture box, then on March 5 on France 5 A flamboyant show, carried by the refined aesthetic of the plastic director Eric Vigner and by the limpid acting of Stanislas Nordey, Thomas Jolly and Jutta Johanna Weiss
Funeral journey, poetic journey, journey to the heart of feelings vitiated by the poison of vain wars and betrayed love: Eric Vigner takes us very far with his staging of “Mithridate” The show which could not be performed last November at the National Theater in Strasbourg, due to a health crisis, has become a film to be discovered on Culturebox then on France 5, pending the reopening of theaters.
In this play written in 1672 (between “Bajazet” and “Iphigénie”), Racine imagines the last hours of Mithridates VI, king of Pontus (132 or 135 – 63 BC). JVS), famous for being immune to poisons The monarch, defeated by the Romans, returns to his base camp, where his two sons, who believed him dead, fight over his bride, the beautiful Monime Between dreams of military revenge and settling of scores with his sons (one, the perfidious Pharnace, wants to come to terms with Rome, the other, the tender Xipharès has the mistake of loving and being loved by Monime), Mithridates consumes to the point of self-destruction
The chiaroscuro atmosphere, the sobriety and the magnificence of the decor – essentially composed of an endless tower, a brazier and, above all, a shimmering curtain of Bohemian glass beads who spins and sweeps the stage – bring tragedy to its climax The spectator attends a hypnotic ritual, tense and felted, between phantom opera and death trance The costumes are to match: precious and sparkling The stylized aesthetic of the director, goes very well on the screen If the spectator can at first be confused by the very slow phrasing of the actors, he is quickly bewitched, grabbed by Racine’s verses, detached with precision and clarity.
Eric Vigner relied on a princely team to transcend these long monologues, including two famous theater directors, actors and directors Stanislas Nordey, boss of the TNS, embodies with superb, a weary arrogance and a heartbreaking sadness, Mithridates, this undead king who sees the world escaping him While Thomas Jolly, new master of the Quai d’Angers, encamps a distraught Xipharès of love, both hot and fragile With Jutta Johanna Weiss, gracious and moving Monime, they form a magical tragic trio
The rest of the cast – Jules Sagot, fiery Pharnace, Philippe Morier-Genoud and Yanis Skouta, worthy distraught servants – follow suit We will long remember the close-up images of these kings, princes and princesses poisoned by their disappointed ambitions and their thwarted love, of this tomb palace decorated with shrouds of diamonds. Even on TV, the theater can work wonders
On Culturebox on February 22, on France 5 on March 5 at 9 p.m. Then in replay
For a new episode of its “theater at the table”, coupled with a radio broadcast on France-Culture, the Comédie-Française has also chosen to mount “Mithridate” Eric Ruf ensured the artistic direction, with Blandine Masson (director of fiction on the radio) The administrator of the Frenchman after having attacked “Bajazet”, offers a nervous “concert version” of Racine’s piece dedicated to the King of Pontus
This time, the actors are not seated around a table but in front of desks, in studio 104 of the Maison de la radio et de la musique The tragic quartet and their followers is supported by a prince of the guitar: Olivier Mellano The musician brings in “live” an electric and lyrical counterpoint, made of haunting chords, which would almost transform tragedy into a slam.
Hervé Pierre plays an ogresque Mithridate, formidable and wounded lion Benjamin Lavernhes (Xipharès) and Alexandre Pavlov (Pharnace) are sharp and feverish to perfection Marina Hands does wonders as Monime, majestic, modern, hopelessly in love A beautiful bluish light bathes this radio and television cantata played on a string We no longer wait for the desks to waltz and the theaters to reopen
Listen on France Culture, Sunday February 21 at 8:00 p.m., then in replay on francecultureFr
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Stanislas Nordey, Mithridates VI Eupator, Éric Vigner, Thomas Jolly
News – FR – “Mithridate”: Root in a funeral opera
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– “Mithridate”: Racine in a funeral opera
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