La Voix Humaine

Open Bodies for Opera

Using improvisatory acting informed by the Lecoq technique, Poulenc’s sensual music will be brought vividly to life, in an opera here two lovers are attached through a telephone cord, each totally alone, yet talking, without seeing or touching each other.

Opera. Age 16+

Open Bodies for Opera (OBFO) creates performances with an exploratory and uncompromising approach to physical theatre in the operatic context.

£14.00 (£12.00)
Mon, 5 Aug
6:45 - 7:30pm
Wed, 7 Aug
6:45 - 7:30pm
Fri, 9 Aug
6:45 - 7:30pm
Sat, 10 Aug
6:45 - 7:30pm



I’m running out of superlatives – this is my third five-star show today…and it could hardly be more different from the first two. Portuguese soprano Filipa Portela gave a stunning performance of Poulenc’s one-act opera, showing extreme emotional and physical versatility in the role of ‘Elle’ [Her], superbly accompanied by award-winning pianist Kristine Donnan – both names to look out for in future.

Thunder and lightning followed us up towards Edinburgh’s Quaker Meeting House, nestling below the Castle, as much rain bouncing up as coming down – a proper storm drenching the Tattoo visitors and Fringe event queues, but a perfect setting for Poulenc’s taut one-act opera La Voix Humaine, strikingly performed by Open Bodies for Opera in a version for soprano and piano accompaniment...

This intriguing and powerful one-woman opera (music by Poulenc, text by Cocteau) is performed at the Quaker Meeting House by Filipa Portela (soprano, a graduate of the Royal Scottish Conservatoire) and Kristine Donnan (piano), in French with English captions.

As the woman (‘Elle’) moves through a series of fragmentary telephone conversations with her ex-lover, we learn that she is deeply distressed by the ending of their relationship, and yet unable to relinquish the tenuous connection afforded by the telephone. They are apart physically and emotionally, yet they remain linked by the apparent intimacy of the telephone call. Truth and lies intertwine, and of course we only hear one side of the conversation.

Filipa Portela is an accomplished and expressive performer who is utterly convincing as Elle, and the interplay between singer and pianist is exquisite. Warm lighting and rich colours of costume and staging complement this tale of loss and passion; highly recommended.