Roles, Instruments, and Space Requirements
Promise can be adapted to fit many settings. Though a traditional proscenium stage and pit work beautifully, because of the relatively small instrumental ensemble, a pit is not required.
The instruments can be placed on the stage. Allowing the violin and clarinet players to enter the scenic action has been very effective. Likewise, performing the opera in museums and galleries has been powerful in terms of the heightened audience awareness of the artists’ world. At times, having the action take place around and amongst the audience and available sculptures has been quite powerful.
Promise is well-suited to college and conservatory opera programs, where its interdisciplinary nature can attract the cooperation of Opera, Theatre, Dance, Music, Art, French, Literature, Psychology, Religion, and Women’s Studies departments. Likewise, the high percentage of women’s roles lends itself to college programs.
The opera is relatively inexpensive to produce, not only because of the low orchestral fees, but also in terms of set requirements. Slides, simple platforms and lighting effects can help suggest the rapid changes in time. The stage directions in the libretto include suggestions for various ways to stage the destruction of the sculptures.
The Roles for Promise
Camille Claudel: Soprano or High Mezzo
Louise Claudel: Mezzo
Rose Beuret: Mezzo
Paul Claudel: Tenor
Auguste Rodin: Baritone
Louis-Prosper Claudel: Baritone
Ensemble: 4 women
Sculptures: 2 women, 2 men
Instrumental Ensemble: B-flat Clarinet, (doubling on B-flat bass clarinet and soprano saxophone), violin, cello and piano.