Georges Aperghis -

Georges Aperghis - "Le Petit Chaperon rouge"

"Once upon a time, there was a little village girl, the prettiest one that there ever was." 

The storytellers of all ages all agree on this, and on the fact that while passing in a wood, she meets the Wolf. Opinions are divided, however, on what happens next - from the Brothers Grimm to Tomi Ungerer.

Georges Aperghis draws upon the oldest written version of the tale in his latest work of musical theatre, Le Petit Chaperon Rouge: in 1697, Charles Perrault introduced the beautiful child with a red riding hood into the history of literature. Unlike the Brothers Grimm, he renounces the happy ending. No hunter comes to save the Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother from inside the wolf's belly. Instead, a moral warns young girls to beware of ferocious and cunning animals. 

Georges Aperghis sets this ancient version of the tale to music. Using instruments, the voice and the body, the Reflex ensemble reinvents every aspect. Aperghis does not change the text but deconstructs the story piece by piece. Each event is carefully analysed. The same passages appear over and over through different sound and visual contexts, sometimes illustrated, sometimes more abstract. However, the action remains as fluid as a child's dream. 

The characters are constantly changing, one becomes the other, exchanging masks and roles. Suddenly the Wolf wears a Red Riding Hood and the Little Red Riding Hood a wolf face. Enigmatic images appear and disappear. A tuba plays alone, the upright piano turns into a puppet show, a cabbage enters the scene, brought out by a stick of rhubarb stick and a leek. The connection is made in the minds of the spectators. Recurring themes play with the public’s memory and provoke various associations. In 50 minutes, Georges Aperghis makes us discover the creaking poetry hidden within this tale.  

We speak of blockbuster when the big cinema industry offers itself the luxury of poetry. Perrault's tale is perfectly accessible here as the roles move seamlessly from head to the other. A witch turns flowers into cabbage, but that's the minimum. A fairy tale, a musical, an ultimately foul cartoon - we can only note a discreet reference to Tex Avery. For the young and the old, with or without a guide. Any and all depths of reading and listening are permitted. The pleasure of sounds. The six “Reflex” are perfect for these roles. This is undoubtedly a work that will question the reality of tales and today's storytellers ... of musical theatre, therefore. 

Dominique Répécaud

Georges Aperghis - Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (after Charles Perrault's text)
Théâtre musical
24, 26, 27 November 2021
Amphithéâtre de l'Opéra Bastille - Paris
Ensemble Justiniana - Compagnie nationale de théâtre lyrique et musical 
Richard Dubelski, musical preparation
Charlotte Nessi, staging
Axel Delignières, comedian
Arthur Goudal, comedian
Anna Swieton, violin
Carjez Gerretsen, clarinet
Eric Lamberger, clarinet
Patrick Ingueneau, saxophone

Teddy Gauliat-Pitois, piano

More information...