La Voix Humaine

By Poulenc

OperaUpClose return to Kings Place this summer with a new production of Poulenc and Cocteau’s astonishing La Voix Humaine.

An intense 50-minute tour de force for solo soprano, this one-woman opera is short in length, but not in emotion. Alone in her flat, Elle is unravelling. Cradling the phone, she tries to put on a brave face for her ex-lover on the other end of the line, but despair and loneliness overwhelm her.

This is opera at its rawest and most intimate, a deeply personal work by a composer going through his own heartbreak. Poulenc and Cocteau had shared the perils and pleasures of early-20th-century gay life – including Nazi occupation – for decades by the time the composer tackled his friend’s hit play, and the result is a perfect marriage of words and music.

Performed by soprano Sarah Minns (OperaUpClose’s Olivier Award-winning La Bohème, The Marriage of Figaro and The Elixir of Love) and Richard Black on piano, and directed by OperaUpClose’s Artistic Director, Robin Norton-Hale, this is a devastating musical portrait of a human being on the brink of disintegration.


Music: Francis Poulenc
Words: Jean Cocteau
English Libretto: Joseph Machlis
Musical Director and Piano: Richard Black
Director: Robin Norton-Hale
Designer: Kate Lane

Soprano: Sarah Minns

© Ed. Ricordi S.A. 
Photography by Christopher Tribble




Evening Standard
'Pathos and bathos are held in perfect balance.’

Broadway World
'an artistic triumph'

The Stage
'a roller coaster of emotions in just 50 minutes'

British Theatre Guide
'Minns is in fine voice, her crystal clear diction making this intimate opera easy to follow.'



5/5 A triumph musically and dramatically. Sarah Minns and Richard Black were outstanding in this absorbing production.
5/5 An excellent production of a rarely seen piece. 50 minutes of hope and anguish beautifully portrayed.