Night Dances

Plath - Britten


  • charlotte rampling

“I first came across Sylvia Plath a number of years ago at the theatre. The play was based on her letters to her mother and was performed by Delphine and Coralie Seyrig.
So I entered her world via her correspondence, then her diaries, before actually reading her poetry.
Her whole life is there in her diaries. Because she wrote constantly. Awe, despair, the people in her life, her relentless quests.
To me, reading her diary is like having a finger on her pulse.
To feel it speed up and slow down with each new day. Perhaps this was the groundwork for the poetry that now faces us on the page, with its searing force.
Her poetry, a song, a cry that goes beyond mere biography, asking questions about her life. Destruction to enable rebirth. To be eternally reborn.
When Charlotte Rampling and I developed the desire to work together, it was this verse that, in my mind, I envisioned her reading. I of course heard Charlotte’s expressive, slightly husky timbre, akin to the cello, but above all, I felt that she was the one who could to take on Sylvia’s solitary and radical voice.
Then, intuitively, I thought of Benjamin Britten. His suites for solo cello. Free and powerful. Such imaginative writing.
From the very first rehearsal there could be no doubt.
Britten’s world had nothing to fear from that of Plath. Her extremes, the crackle of her tongue. Quite the contrary. They went together. He took her by the hand. Always just a step ahead or behind her obsessive pacing to and fro, her deep song, her infinite colours and even her flashes of humour. And her sense of form.
Some things have their own force, their own internal logic. They lead you more than you lead them.”

Sylvia Plath, Lady Lazarus
Benjamin Britten, Suite n°2, Op.80, Declamato largo
Sylvia Plath, The Night Dances
Benjamin Britten, Suite n°2, Op.80, Fuga andante
Sylvia Plath, Edge
Sylvia Plath, Ariel
Benjamin Britten, Suite n°2, Op.80, Scherzo allegro molto
Sylvia Plath, Letter in November
Benjamin Britten, Suite n°2, Op.80, Andante lento
Sylvia Plath, Three Women, extracts
Sylvia Plath, Daddy
Benjamin Britten, Suite n°2, Op.80, Ciaccona allegro
Sylvia Plath, Wintering
Sylvia Plath, Medusa
Benjamin Britten, Suite n°3, Op.87, Barcarola lento
Sylvia Plath, Contusion
Benjamin Britten, Suite n°3, Op.87, Fuga andante espressivo
Sylvia Plath, Love Letter
Benjamin Britten, Suite n°3, Op.87, Introduzione lento

Design : Sonia Wieder-Atherton and Charlotte Rampling
Voice : Charlotte Rampling | Cello : Sonia Wieder-Atherton
Design assistant : Emmanuelle Touati
Director : Sonia Wieder-Atherton
Lighting design : Franck Thévenon
Production : Les Visiteurs du Soir
Photo credits : Marthe Lemelle