Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, January 25, 2013

For the past decade, Ms. Hétu has been involved in a series of thematic works, each one different yet somehow related. The pictures in the 36-page booklet inside the CD show what looks like a serious operatic work involving musicians and dancers. Each of the 21 short pieces on this disc involves a text which is printed in the booklet in French. Most of the texts were written by Ms. Hétu with others taken from Shakespeare, Anton Chekov, Constantin Cavafy and Sophie Calle. Since my French is rudimentary at best, I can’t tell what most of the texts are about. Since Ms. Hétu uses minimal instruments here (melodica, flute, accordion, sax & percussion), most of the sounds come from objects and voices. Still, the overall sound is most impressive, stirring, serious, focused and most often fascinating. There are a few layers of voices used minimally and selectively as well as objects like poured water, toys, dolls, a whistle, bells, a wine glass, assorted unseen percussives and things that we don’t know without bring listed. Even without knowing what the words mean, I was still knocked out by the way this entire disc unfolds and evolves. My feeling is that Ms. Hétu is working towards creating an effective contemporary opera. If she ever gets the funding, she will no doubt be successful at illustrating a wonderful French-language production worthy of serious consideration. Perhaps we will be lucky enough to see and hear it staged at the New York City Opera House. Stranger things have happened.

… the overall sound is most impressive, stirring, serious, focused and most often fascinating