Tartuffe

Stage 1, Sara Kulturhus, Skellefteå

In the American composer Kirke Mechem's opera Tartuffe from 1980, Molière's comedy is portrayed with a playful tone language that with singable melodies leans towards the play's witty drive and indispensable timeing.

The libretto is written by the composer himself and gives the female roles more leeway, even if it follows Molièr's action very closely. Director Anne Barselevs focuses on the coincidence of a family and lets it literally fall apart during the performance.

The concept mixes anachronistic present with French baroque, which becomes visible in Annsofie Nyberg's costumes and Stine Martinsen's scenography. Here, the family as a unit will be dissected and the singers' acting abilities will be used to a maximum. Together it will be a fun, upsetting and moving performance.

With Tartuffe, or the Deceiver (Tartuffe, ou l’Imposteure), Molière entered the absolute world drama. As the actor he was basically, he understood the power of how an audience can fill in the shape they see with a self-interpretation. In Molière's morality, an upper-class family is portrayed, which piece by piece is torn apart by the influence of a religious demagogue.

The contemporaries understood that that family was a metaphor for society and Tartuffe, the deceiver, a metaphor for the church. The play had such an impact that Ludwig XIV, under the influence of the archbishop, banned it shortly after its world premiere in Versailles. Molière made enemies within the church for the rest of his life and the play could not be played.

Molière reworked the text and had the king appear at the end of the plot (a textbook example of Deus ex machina) to put everything right. That version was played under the title The Deceiver and also became the banned group that, despite all the fuss, continued to protect its favorite playwright. Thanks to this, Molière escaped being banned by the church and further revisions of the script were required in order for it to be performed again - then mostly in private contexts. However, the play gained cult status and the name Tartuffe is forever associated with hypocrites who seemingly and excessively pretend to be virtuous.

Sense morality is crystal clear: do not be fooled by dogmatists who want to use your faith for their own gain. Due to all the controversy surrounding Tartuffe, Molière mostly refrained from writing such politically incorrect plays as this one again.

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Facts

Duration: 2 hours and 40 minutes including 30 minutes break.

The opera is played and subtitled in Swedish.


Composer: Kirke Mechem
Libretto: Kirke Mechem after Molière's play.

Swedish translation by Harald Leander


Artistic team
Conductor: Fredrik Burstedt
Director: Anne Barslev
Set designer: Stine Martinsen
Costume designer: Annsofi Nyberg
Lighting designer: Max Mitle
Mask designer: Angelica Ekeberg

Participating
Tartuffe: Linus Börjesson
Orgon: Peter Kajlinger
Elmire: Susanna Levonen
Damis: Martin Lissel
Mariane: Amanda Liljefors
Valére: Per Lindström
Dorine: Tessan-Maria Lehmussaari
Mrs. Pernelle: Ulrika Tenstam
Flipote: Oskar Bergström