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le Bel Indifférent

Le Bel Indifférent Ensemble Virêvolte, Aurore Bucher, produced by UNIK ACCESS

Le Bel Indifférent

Text by Jean Cocteau
Music by Jean-Marie Machado

Ensemble Virêvolte, Aurore Bucher
Cast :
Vocals and artistic direction: Aurore Bucher
Accordion: Pierre Cussac
Clarinets : Carjez Gerretsen
Cello: Anthony Leroy
Percussion, vibraphone: Ludovic Montet

1 Illustrated CD book label ENPHASES ENP013
Released on 22/09/2023 Distribution OUTHERE

Recording, mixing and mastering at Studios la Buissonne in November 2022 and March 2023.
Sound recording: Gérard de Haro assisted by Matteo Fontaine,
Artistic director: Jean-Marie Machado
Mixing: Gérard de Haro, Franck Jaffrès, Aurore Bucher
Mastering: Nicolas Baillard
Illustrations: Laure Slabiak Laure Slabiak

With this first musical adaptation of Jean Cocteau's text, whose poetic power and energy have retained all their force, the Virêvolte ensemble offers a radically new reading of the play. In this illustrated book-disc, which opens out like an accordion over more than four metres, the wanderings of a timeless heroine are told, sung and drawn. Like a Madame Loyale who is both clairvoyant and sorceress, she seizes the creative force of the silence imposed by this "beautiful indifferent", projects her fantasies onto the walls of an imaginary music hall and transforms the lover's wait into a gigantic, wild and risky firework display. She explores all the colours of her emotions, thanks to Jean-Marie Machado's inventiveness, in a succession of numbers ranging from opera arias to songs.
Her story unfolds before your very eyes and unfolds in music, taking you on a breathless ride through musical genres and aesthetics.






Champagne, Jazz et tout et tout


Lis ton journal




Ta figure de diable


Je t’aime


Un Fantôme




La Patate


Tes mensonges


Ton sommeil


Tu, vous


C’est ta vieille poule


Épilogue 1


Épilogue 2

Le Bel indifférent, J. Cocteau/J-M. Machado/E. Olivier (teaser)


When the Cocteau Committee agreed in 2020 that we should adapt Le Bel Indifférent for music for the first time, I never imagined that I would have such a wonderful adventure.

The play, written by Cocteau for Edith Piaf in 1940, tells the story of a singer who returns home alone from her singing tour and is desperately waiting for the one person who won't listen to her: Emile, the handsome indifferent. It was easy for me to see myself in this role and to want to sing it!

But it wasn't until I met Jean-Marie Machado, that prodigy of melody, that the idea took shape. Then, once the libretto had been brilliantly put together by Emmanuel Olivier and divided into numbers ranging from opera arias to songs, he agreed to take on the staging and develop a dramaturgy cleverly inspired by Cocteau's world. Elisabeth de Sauverzac's perceptiveness and talent enabled us to give silhouettes to our characters and, in particular, to accompany my real 'moult' over the course of the show. Stéphane Vérité created the space and lighting needed to oscillate between the bedroom and the stage without ever choosing between the two. Finally, I needed at least four talented boys to accompany me musically in this fantastical delirium. 

They agreed to act, sing and even dance, coached by the brilliant and patient Victor Duclos, who also knew how to guide my steps on 8 cm heels. The immense generosity of each and every one of us, our mutual attention and attentiveness, enabled us to invent together, in an incessant exchange, a common language to adapt this work happily and give our musical and theatrical vision of it.

To keep track of this adventure and share it with you today, we went to the legendary Studios la Buissonne, where Gérard de Haro brought out the best in us with kindness and exacting standards.

At a time when we are impatient to hear new stories, when princesses are no longer desperately waiting for princes to deliver them, what interests me in this play is the energy of this woman, who is never a victim, her true madness and not her complaint. She seizes silence to draw out all its creative power, to express her vision, her violence, her desire. Psychic or witch, she projects her fantasies onto the walls of an imaginary music hall, like Cocteau with his drawings on the walls of Villa Santo Sospir, or Laure Slabiak along the 4.35 metre length of our leporello.

This woman puts herself on stage, invents her own theatre. It's this theatre that we've sought to unfold here.

Aurore Bucher


I'm delighted to have been able to set Jean Cocteau's magnificent text Le Bel Indifférent to music for the first time. It has been a fascinating task, seeking out the smallest musical details in the service of the words.

The agreements with the publishers stipulated that no cuts or adaptations could be made. So I had to find a way of setting the text to music based on its original writing.

At first sight, this theatrical text, which was not intended for music, did not lend itself easily to a sound setting. But Emmanuel Olivier and Aurore Bucher's cutting of the text gave it an initial 'audible' rhythm, which made it easier to set to song.

Then, as if by magic, certain extracts, Lis ton journal for example, appeared as real "lyrical successes of today".

Other passages remained tricky to 'musicalise', so much so that their content, linked to everyday speech, was the main axis of expression.

In my impetus, I used a variety of writing techniques, varied and colourful recitatives, a mosaic of atmospheric changes that helped to get round the austerity of the situation described and kept the rhythm of the musical narrative.

Listening to the performance after a week's residency at the Cité de la Voix-Vézelay, I realised just how much soul the music had given to the title role, just as you would see in a film soundtrack.

Aurore Bucher's incredible performance and the excellent quartet assembled here gave this first adaptation of Le Bel Indifférent all the strength it needed.

Jean-Marie Machado


Jean-Marie Machado is a classically trained musician with a spirit of improvisation and creation, and a marked taste for unusual orchestral formations. He has developed an original style of writing, sometimes learned but always guided by a concern for lyricism. Born in Morocco to an Italian and Spanish mother and a Portuguese father, he studied piano with the great concert pianist Catherine Collard.
In the 1980s, he discovered jazz and improvisation, which he kneaded and tamed, transforming it into an intimate and original language. His meeting with the Brazilian percussionist Nanà Vasconcelos in 1990 opened up new avenues for him: world music and traditional music were invited into his scores. Friendships were forged with great European and American jazzmen such as Andy Sheppard, Dave Liebman, Paolo Fresu, Paul Motian and Martial Solal. In 2007, he founded the Danzas orchestra. His watchwords are openness and hybridity.
Jean-Marie Machado's music knows no frontiers, and he composes for both classical ensembles and chamber music ensembles, projects at the crossroads of aesthetics between theatre, dance and storytelling. Always between improvisation and writing, the music of Ravel, Debussy, Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk are inexhaustible sources of inspiration for him.

The soprano Aurore Bucher moves freely through musical genres. From Gregorian chant to contemporary creations, opera and improvisation, she invents her own path and collects artistic encounters: Jean-Claude Malgoire, Gérard Lesne, Robert Wilson and Christoph Marthaler. The recipient of numerous awards, she has made a number of recordings with La Fenice, Le Poème Harmonique and the Chapelle Rhénane. She has performed as Micaëla (Carmen) and Armida (Rinaldo) in opera houses and on national stages, but her energy and curiosity often take her far from the traditional framework of the classical concert. What matters to her is telling stories through music and reaching out to new audiences: with the Ensemble Justiniana, she brings opera to the meadows of Franche-Comté; with Opéra Apéro, she performs in hospitals, emergency shelters, prisons and bars.
In her view, music belongs to those who listen to it, and it was with this in mind that she founded the Virêvolte ensemble in 2013, to take classical music out of the concert halls and try out new adventures. The artists she brings together offer original arrangements of a repertoire ranging from baroque to pop songs. Trained at some of the world's leading conservatoires, they blur the boundaries between art music and popular music. By mixing radically different styles and shaking up preconceived ideas, they blur the boundaries between styles and open up the still too closed world of classical music. With their unfailing energy, the ensemble is regularly invited to perform its programmes on prestigious stages as well as in venues far removed from the operatic sphere.

Virêvolte puts its artistic excellence at the service of hybridity, happily straddling 300 years of music: a taste for risk that is also its trademark. Its human and artistic encounter with Jean-Marie Machado in 2018 naturally led it to commission him to write the first musical adaptation of Jean Cocteau's Bel Indifférent, to be directed by Emmanuel Olivier in December 2021 at the Centre des Bords de Marne.

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