This project marks the first collaboration between Fuoco Jazz, a branch of Opera Fuoco’s Young Artist Program, and the Fondation des Etats-Unis. What was originally going to be a live concert for Jazz à la Cité, postponed to the spring, eventually became a wonderfully creative film project for which the FEU opened a several spaces that are generally closed to the public. The film will be be released on International Jazz Day on April 30.
The imagery that is evoked by the word palimpsest allows us to bring out the intertextuality of each poem and transform it through improvisation. With the meeting of Art Song and Jazz, we are faced with two “parchments”, the written poem and the written composition. Both are subject to interpretation while leaving traces of the original text. The project title also allows us to explore themes of memory and loss of identity. With the passing of time, the character’s identities have been replaced by new ones, written over each other like a palimpsest.
With the selection of the seven Art Songs below, we have created a video mosaic. Each of the songs has been filmed in a different space of the Fondation des États-Unis: Toothbrush Time is set in one of the dorm rooms, Eve-Song: Snake is set in the community garden and The Monk and His Cat is set in the library. I wanted to focus on the “living” aspect of the Fondation des Etats-Unis. The theme common to each piece of music is that of connecting, or of the inability to do so. Each song shares a feeling of isolation and loneliness, and each character goes through a journey to self-discovery. Each scene starts with a singer moving into the space and leaving the space through a shared door, which will be used as a transition to the next scene. Using this effect I want to suggest a strong relationship and similarity between the six different narratives . Bringing back the idea of Palimpsest, each character “re-writes” the former story, a constant cycle of erasure and rebirth.
~Talia Stern, Film Director
The Monk and His Cat by Samuel Barber
Song My Mother Taught Me by Charles Ives
Benoît Rameau, baritone
Toothbrush Time by William Bolcom
Heart We Will Forget Him by Aaron Copland
Sophia Stern, mezzo-soprano
Vocalise by Prévin
Eve-Song: Snake by Heggie
Axelle Fanyo, soprano
Only by Morton Feldman
The Creative Team
Fuoco Jazz is a new branch of Opera Fuoco’s Young Artist Program, which aims to stretch the boundaries to explore a new range of expression.
Working with experienced specialists, the singers focus on improvisation, jazz standards, blues and bossa nova, but also on how to approach classical repertoire accompanied by a jazz rhythm section.
Talia Stern, film director
Talia Stern is a young French-American stage and film director, passionate about directing work that experiments with the musical form and which holds up a mirror to today’s society. Having grown up in a family of musicians, she studied violon for eight years. She recently received her bachelor’s degree in English and Film from King’s College London, where she directed her first musical production Title of Show.
She has worked as the resident assistant stage director and stage manager at Morley Opera School in London and was offered a directing apprenticeship at the Royal Opera House last season. She has interned with New York City Center and Crested Butte Opera Festival. She recently worked recently for the company Opera Fuoco as stage manager in 2020 for a production of Lady in the Dark and as director and cinematographer for Palimpsest, a jazz project conceived in the Spring of 2021.
Axelle Fanyo, soprano
After studying musicology at the Sorbonne and winning awards as a violinist at the Conservatoire La Courneuve, Axelle decided to focus on life as a singer. She studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSMDP) with Glenn Chambers and obtained her Masters Diploma. In the course of her studies, Axelle had the chance to work with the likes of Anne Le Bosec, Susan Manoff, Emmanuelle Cordoliani and Vincent Vittoz.
As a prize-winner at the Fondation Royaumont, she also had the opportunity to study with singers such as Mireille Delunsch, Waltraud Meier and Dame Felicity Lott.
Sophia Stern, mezzo-soprano
Paris-born Mezzo Soprano Sophia Stern is currently studying voice with Prof. Carola Höhn at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. She previously completed a Liberal Arts degree at King’s College London with a major in Comparative Literature, while studying voice privately with Philip Dogan at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Since 2013, Sophia has been an active member of the Opera Fuoco Young Artist Program for singers in Paris, with whom she has taken part in master-classes on themes varying from Monteverdi to Bernstein, Gershwin and the jazz standard repertoire (2015-18).
Benoît Rameau, tenor
The young tenor Benoît Rameau is a singular artist. After studying saxophone and piano at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg, he became interested in various vocal disciplines and obtained a
diploma in choral conducting and singing in parallel with a degree in musicology. He joined the “Atelier Lyrique Opera Fuoco”, directed by David Stern and Philippe Jaroussky’s Music Academy.
Benoît is a graduate of the CNSMDP
Thomas Lavoine, piano
Thomas Lavoine, a young French pianist who oscillates between Paris and Berlin, performs, composes and improvises, guided by a desire to share music and an ambition for excellence.
A confirmed improviser, he perfected his skills with Thierry Escaich and Jean-François Zygel in the Piano Improvisation class at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he obtained his Master’s degree, which marked the beginning of his career. Constantly collaborating with other arts, he can be heard accompanying silent films in prestigious theatres, sharing the stage with dancers, singers, with orchestra, or creating music for the theatre. He participated in the realization of a collection of modern arrangements of traditional American songs under the direction of David Stern for the Opera Fuoco ensemble.
Phelan Burgoyne, batterie
Phelan Burgoyne (1994) is a British drummer and composer currently based in the U.K. Age 16 he began attending the prestigious Purcell school for young musicians in London where he studied composition, conducting and percussion, then going on to study a full time bachelors degree at the Royal Academy of Music for 3 years with Jeff Williams and at the Jazz Campus Basel, Switzerland for a further 2 years with Jeff Ballard and Guillermo Klein. Burgoyne has gained an international reputation playing many festivals and clubs all over Europe with musicians including Jorge Rossy, Bill McHenry, Kit Downes, Emanuele Maniscalco and Ben Street.