“I love Paris in the springtime” says a well-known song. It is indeed through song and music that Paris has taken on new colours this month of May, thanks to John Adams’ opera A Flowering Tree, still showing at Chatelêt Theatre until May 13 (read our informative article on A Flowering Tree here).
Vishal Bhardwaj has beautifully directed a southern Indian folk tale by Indian writer AK Ramanujan in one of the world’s most renowned theatres. As a member of the audience, the experience of watching A Flowering Tree has definitely been emotional and enlightening.
For an enthusiast of Bhardwaj’s film and music work, viewing an opera directed by him has opened a door towards a more deep and attuned understanding of the artist’s aesthetic sensibility. The soft spoken charm that emanates from the mise-en-scene of A Flowering Tree speaks volumes of Vishal Bhardwaj’s unique taste for the beauty of the subdued. Based on an Indian folktale, many an opera viewer might have expected to encounter a series of lavishly colourful scenes. Instead, A Flowering Tree puts the opera’s expressive music, its performers and its choir at the very centre of the story, mainly using neutral hues and minimalistic props unless required for a more local, intense or dramatic effect. Vishal Bhardwaj (together with choreographer Sudhesh Adhana and puppet designer Dadi Pudumjee) thus seems the best man to bring Ramanujan’s tale to life on stage, as he succeeds in matching the refined aura that gives A Flowering Tree the elegance of a classic.
Enjoy a video of the opera’s rehearsals below and do not miss this rare gem of Indian and Western talent in Paris if you have the chance: Purchase tickets to A Flowering Tree
Source: Theâtre du Châtelet