STUDIO ANDREW TODD

Concert and Scenography

Palais de Behague

Paris, France

2011

The Hotel de Béhague on the Rue Saint Dominique in central Paris was one of the largest private residences in the city, with extensive gardens. Built for Martine de Béhague in 1866 (contemporaneously to the Palais Garnier and Bouffes du Nord), it became a centre for artistic expression and meeting. Featuring in-situ works by Symbolist visual artists, it had –extraordinarily- a private opera house which was amongst the most technically advanced in the world.

 

Co-conceived by the designer Mario Fortuny and influenced by Adolphe Appia, the auditorium featured a mechanised orchestra pit, the earliest electric theatre lighting (still in place) and a quarter-sphere backlit screen around the whole stage which foresaw modernist mise-en-scène restoring the human body to the position of autonomy and presence it had enjoyed in the Greek and Shakespearean Theatre.

 

Proust, Rodin and Puvis de Chavannes frequented the Hotel; Fauré premiered his Requiem there; and Adolphe Appia directed and designed Carmen and scenes from Wagner. In 1947 it was bought by the Romanian government as their Embassy in Paris, and has continued its life as a space of performance.

 

In 2011 we used the whole building for a concert-ceremony mixing the music of Martine de Béhague’s time with compositions by our creative entourage. In a quartet setting plus voice, we played the music of Enrico Pieranunzi, Jason Domnarski and Billy Strayhorn. Andrew Todd wrote original lyrics for Strayhorn’s tune ‘Chelsea Bridge.’ Tormod Lindgren invented a dynamic scenographic setting inspired by Appia and Fortuny’s inventions in the space: a virtual cyclorama of orange elastic threads which was assembled during the concert (by ‘throwing’ the lines across the stage from bridges) and then cut to disappear at the end. Alex Wardle conceived and ran a lighting rig using Appia-esque flat panels, within the constraint of  the 2KW supply available.

Drummer Daniel Humair and Romanian violinist Florin Niculescu joined Domnarski and Emmenau for the concert finale.

 

Creative team:

Jason Domnarski, piano

Darryl Hall, double-bass

Michael Emmenau, vibraphone

Andrew Todd, drums

Rebecca Cavanaugh, voice

 

Chantal Stigliani, piano

Daniel Humair, drums

Florin Niculescu, violin

 

Tormod Lindgren, scenography

Klaus Kruse

Madeleine Kate McGowan, performative scenography

Culinary art: Emmanuel Giraud and Studio Andrew Todd

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