Bees at the opera
Bernard Foccroulle: "One of the first ideas put forward by Matthew [Jocelyn, the librettist], right at the beginning of our discussions of this opera, was to devise three moments (not very long ones) when one would only hear bees. There would be plenty of them in the first scene, around fifteen in the second and only a few would remain in the last one. It was a way to evoke nature and the work of these precious insects whose extinction we now fear. It was also a way to connect with the mythological era, when bees were already considered as essential, almost magical beings, linked to the worship of Apollo. To “compose” these bee scenes, I listened very carefully to the bees in my garden in Brittany."
"At the beginning of 2021, there was a very useful work session with the orchestra: under the direction of Ouri Bronchti, the strings of La Monnaie sight-read the three bee scenes. I also wanted to check the writing in the sixth-tone system, which would enable me to evoke these glissandi that are typical of these insects’ flight. I became aware of the need to space out the musicians’ parts to avoid the risk of cramp, given the speed of the tremolos. Here is a fragment of the first and last of these three scenes, recorded at this rehearsal at La Monnaie in January 2021. The strings are by themselves - they most often play at the bridge, to produce this typical bee sound."