The blue note
Chopin through the words of George Sand
Pamela Villoresi & Paolo Restani
Drama by Daniela Morelli
A pianist and an actress play the parts of a musician and a writer: Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin and Aurore Lucile Dupin, also known as George Sand.
On stage Paolo Restani and Pamela Villoresi, who is also directing.
The blue note is a play where Chopin’s music interacts and clashes with a ruthless, yet at times tender, analysis made by an unconventional woman. She loved him, looked after him, took care of him, supported him, took him on strenuous journeys, on absurd excursions on donkey back, in the mundane vortex of Parisian salons, she pampered him in her summer residence in Nohant, she surrounded him with distinguished guests: painters, writers, musicians… and, in the end, she had to leave him.
What does his music tell us about him?
What kind of man does George Sand tell us about?
Their breakup leaves Chopin “…Completely disoriented… dumbfounded, giddy, dazed”. She is furious but still able to write about it with composure and clarity of mind: “Nurse, because that was my mission”.
The blue note (the perfect note that makes music harmonize with painting and that recurs in the conversations during the summer stays in Nohant) has its starting point in this ending and shows us a man in need of a strong woman, who is more economically stable.
Tormented by illness, obsessed with music, self-righteous, fickle and egocentric, shrewd and sarcastic, irresistible entertainer: that’s Chopin.
George Sand, a pseudonym she used for her transgressive novels, was gifted with an extraordinary vitality and curiosity. Divorced, sexually free, forerunner of socialism, explorer, walker and gardener, she was a tireless mistress of the house and, at night, a prolific writer of novels that allowed her to maintain a high standard of living and to look after a musician with demanding needs. A flawed mother, she preferred her son Maurice to her daughter Solange, who, on the other hand, was Chopin’s favourite.
In the end he is the genius and she is the woman who made the creation of his best works possible, a resilient woman, who proved capable of releasing herself from an unbalanced love, recounting it to posterity with the gratitude and strength (or arrogance) that belong to those who can forgive.
His music is intrinsically Polish, but he wouldn’t have become the composer we all know without a French soul; for this reason I like to think of him as a crossbreed. Chopin owes France something that is indecipherable and ineffable.
And what about the things he owes George Sand?
Along with the actress/director who on stage tells about Chopin and with the playwright who arranges and translates our personal anecdotes, we imagine Chopin’s relationship with the female universe, the obsession as well as the fascination and joy deriving therefrom, “Those who never laugh are not serious people”: that was his motto.
“The blue note” is a play that was moulded to let us find our way out through this maze of sensations, feelings, psyches, turmoils and melancholies. A mise-en-scène that grasps the dimensions and the daily routines that define the relationship between the musician and the writer, and that disclose more of a connection based on collaboration, reconciliation, veneration and dependence than a sentimental relationship. A thrilling experience and a devastating one at the same time.
They are a mirror image of each other and, simultaneously, they are diametrically opposed: that’s chilling.
What did Chopin and Sand gave each other?
A 9-year relationship leaves a permanent mark in the short life of a such a fragile man as Chopin was (1810-1849). As a pianist, a researcher, an archaeologist of his music, I feel entitled to say that these 9 years produced the most amazing things that Chopin could have ever achieved in his era, things that will remain in history forever.
Does this have anything to do with the cultural mileu that Sand surrounded him with? Delacroix, Hugo, Balzac… Or with the countryside of Bérry, so reminscent of his Poland, with the “castle of Nohant”? With her commitment? With the ambivalence of their relationship?
A mysterious relationship portrayed by Pamela and me on stage: she as George Sand and I as Frédéric Chopin.
Does this mean I am a crossbreed as well? Musician and actor?
No, just a pianist.
Pamela Villoresi narrator and director
Paolo Restani pianist
Drama by Daniela Morelli
Images by Massimo Catalani
Fantasia in F minor op. 49
Nocturne in E minor op. 72 no. 1
Étude in E major op. 10 no. 3 “Tristesse”
Nocturne in E flat major op. 9 no. 2
Nocturne in C sharp minor op. posth.
Étude in C minor op. 10 no. 12 “Revolutionary”
Nocturne in B major op. 9 no. 3
Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor op. 66
Polonaise in A flat major op. 53 “Heroic”
Polonaise in F sharp minor op. 44 “Tragic”
Biography of Pamela Villoresi
Biography of Daniela Morelli
Biography of Massimo Catalani