A feature by Christiane Craig
The Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's oratorio La Passion de Simone has, over this past year, been re-imagined by Saariaho, adapted specifically for conductor Clément Mao-Takacs’ nineteen-piece Secession Orchestra, vocal quartet, and soprano soloist Karen Vourc’h. This smaller cast, under the stage direction of Aleksi Barrière, provides a more direct and unmediated experience of Saariaho’s sound materials. The expansive tonal force of La Passion de Simone’s first production, an oceanic work for full orchestra, choir, and electronics, has been consolidated but not reduced in the chamber version, its sound colors intensified by a microscopic quality of vision that is perhaps better adapted to the piece’s investigation of human, as well as sonic, interiorities . . .