La Bohème Fantasy (flute and piano)

21/08/2023

A source of inspiration for a century in all artistic fields, theatre, cinema, musical comedy..., the novel "La Vie de Bohème" by Henri Murger is also at the origin of two operas composed simultaneously in Italy and bearing the same title : "La Bohème".

"Let him compose, I will also compose. The public will judge." The public judged, warmly welcoming the work of Gioccomo Puccini. The opera was conducted for the world premiere by Arturo Toscanini who, because of his young age, was not yet appreciated by the composer. Some papers of music critics were however more severe. One of them even wrote: "Bohème, failed opera, will not go far". More than the public of the creation (February 1, 1896), history judged. Created the following year, "La Bohème" by Ruggero Leoncavallo was sacrificed, like the friendship between the two men, on the altar of fierce competition.

As a great specialist of the lyrical repertoire, Jean-Christophe Maltot signs with "La Fantaisie sur La Bohème", his fifth fantasy dedicated to the Italian composer, putting his pen at the service of the flautist's musicality and virtuosity. Far from taking the listener into his personal universe, such as Liszt or Chopin in their fantasies for piano or even Paul Taffanel in his fantasies on the Freischütz, all three affixing their aesthetics as a watermark of the initial opera, Jean-Christophe Maltot uses Puccinian motifs and themes until reaching a discretion full of humility. So he seems to tell us: if Puccini had himself written a fantasy on his own opera, perhaps it would look closely or remotely like this one…

From then on, taking advantage of this touching fidelity for the original opera, the performer will be immersed in the atmosphere of Paris in the 1830s - "I don't know anyone who described Paris of that time as well as Puccini in La Bohème" had says Debussy - and will be able to rediscover the moving airs of La Bohème, take turns in the roles of Mimi and Rodolfo, sometimes fiery as in the love duet (act I), sometimes desperate (air of Mimi from act III ) or in a mischievous and sensual Musetta (act II).

Liège, September 1st, 2023

Laëtitia Brault

Composers : Jean-Christophe Maltot / Piotr Tchaikovsky

Duration : 10'