“Romeo et Juliette” from Pascal Dusapin's World


Pascal Dusapin, who was born in Nancy on May 29, 1955, was enthusiastic about the clarinet from the music he heard at an early age, and entered the music world by discovering the organ at the age of 10. Dusapin, who studied art and aesthetics at Paris-Sorbonne University, met Iannis Xenakis at that time and attended his seminars between 1974-78.                

                                    'Xenakis asked nothing of her, but gave her everything.'

Pascal Dusapin started to compose in his own world in line with his knowledge and abilities. Many disciplines such as literature, philosophy, architecture, photography and theater were of interest and reflected in his compositions. When he started to wonder about his world, each piece he composed came to the fore with its difference. The composer, who is still wondered, admired and rewarded today, took a special interest in opera.

Pascal Dusapin, in 1985-1988 'Romeo and Juliette' he wanted to enter our lives with a familiar story. Trying to tell the story in his own world, Dusapin introduced us to the revolution of his age and a Romeo and Juliet beyond the lyrical form he wanted to make us feel. The piece, whose libretto belongs to Olivier Cadiot and was composed to celebrate the 1969th anniversary of the 200 French Revolution, consists of two parts, before and after the revolution.

Disk 1


Le début (initial)

Le matine (morning)

Avant (before)

Disk 2

La revolution

Apres (after)

Le soir (evening)

La fin (end)


Composed between 1985 and 1988, Romeo et Juliette lasts 1 hour and 25 minutes. It premiered simultaneously at the Montpellier Opera and the Avignon Festival in 1989 and toured internationally. We hear Juliet 1 (Françoise Kubler) as mezzo-soprano, Juliet 2 (Cyrille Gerstenhaber) as soprano, Romeo 1 (Nicholas Isherwood) as baritone, Romeo 2 (Julien Combey) as baritone. We also hear voices as solo ensembles (soprano solo, mezzo-soprano solo, countertenor solo, tenor solo [or baritone martin]), 4-voice mixed choir (8 soprano, 8 contralto, 8 tenor, 8 bass). Composer, 3 flutes (plus 1 piccolo flute), 2 oboes (plus 1 English horn), 2 clarinets (plus 1 bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (plus 1 double bassoon), 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, tubas, drums , 12 violins, 10 violins II, 8 violas, 6 cellos, 6 double basses.

Romeo et Juliette is distinguished by its free music composed from the traditional story. The glissandi and sliding tones in it show that Dusapin handles music just like an architectural work. A quiet chorus, deep-seated bassoons, a free movement accompanied by a double bass tell the story.

The part that caught my attention the most while I was listening, we hear a song that Dusapin added from his own world in no.6 (Apres) and is supported by this type of clarinet, which is similar to traditional music. In the first episode of No.7 (Le Soir), a calm chorus greets us as if we are listening to the farewell of fireflies by the lake. When it comes to the final episodes, we listen to the compressed chromatic progression movements.

Dusapin bids us farewell to the end of eternal love with Romeo et Juliette.



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