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Edison Denisov

Publisher: G. Schirmer

L’Écume des Jours (The Foam of Days) (1981)
Work Notes
Translation available to German and Russian. Available in the USA and Canada only
Text Writer
Boris Vian, Edison Denisov
Schirmer Russian Music
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Year Composed
2 Hours 40 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
3S, Mz, 3T, 2 Bar, 2B, 2Speakers, Child’s Voice
Programme Note
Edison Denisov L’Écume des Jours (The Foam of Days) (1981)
Translation Available:
German, Russian


Act 1
1st Tableau: Colin's room

Colin lives together with Mouse, the friend of his house. Colin is waiting for his friend, engineer Chick, whom he invited for dinner. His cook Nicolas is reading the recipes from the cook book. Chick arrives, and Colin shows him the “piano-cocktail”, his own invention – the piano that makes cocktails. Chick plays an improvisation on Duke Ellington themes and then tells him about Alise, the niece of Nicolas, whom he met at the conference of Jean-Sol-Partre (a broad hint on Jean-Paul Sartre). They both go skating.

Intermezzo: Colin dreams about a girl he wants to meet

2nd Tableau: The skating-rink "Molitor"

Chick and Colin meet Alise and Isis, who invites them to the birthday celebration of her dog. One of the skaters breaks up on the wall. They all join the burial liturgy.

Intermezzo: The windy street

Colin repeats: “I would like to fall in love, you would like to fall in love”, and so on.

3rd Tableau: At Isis

Alise tells Colin that Chick does not want to marry her, because he spends all his money on the books by Jean-Sol-Partre. Chloé enters. Colin feels that she is the girl of his dream. They dance.

4th Tableau: The Quarter

Colin meets Chloé and they walk along the streets. Terrified by the absurd shop-windows they went to the forest where surrounded by the pink cloud they are invisible for other people.

Act 2
5th Tableau: Wedding preparations

Two “honorary homosexuals”, Pégase and Coriolan, are preparing themselves for the wedding. Simultaneously Chloé, Alise and Isis also prepare themselves for the wedding.

Intermezzo: The wedding of Colin and Chloé: Hymn of Love

6th Tableau: The honeymoon trip

Colin and Chloé travel by car with Nicolas as a driver. Chloé is frightened by the vision of strange fish-scale beasts, smoke and dirt of the copper mines.

7th Tableau: At Colin's

Colin and Chloé are in bed. Chloé complains about pain in her lungs. They play a record, and the room is transformed into a sphere. The visit of a doctor.

Intermezzo: The Medical Quarter, the channel with some fragments of bloody cotton, the eye gazing to Colin and Chloé

8th Tableau: The pharmacy

Colin and Chick are in a strange pharmacy with a guillotine for recipes and a mechalical rabbit making pills. Colin tells that Chloé has a lily in her lungs, and only flowers can cure her.

9th Tableau: At Colin's

Chloé is surrounded by flowers. The room became smaller. Colin reads her a novel about Tristan and Iseult.

Act 3
Intermezzo: Colin walks along the road; the vision of strange shapes and shadows

10th Tableau: The military plant

Colin finds a job at the military factory. The Director explains that weapons are growing from the seeds if you warm them with your naked body.

11th Tableau: At Colin's

Chloé sleeps among the flowers. Alise enters and tells Colin that Chick spent all his money on the books by Jean-Sol-Partre, and now wants to separate from her. Colin tries to console her.

Intermezzo: Seneschal and eight policemen and are coming to Chick to confiscate his property

12th Tableau: At Chick's

Chick dies defending his books. Paris is on fire.

Intermezzo: Alise sets fire to the bookshops with the books by Jean-Sol-Partre

13th Tableau: Chloé’s death

The dialogue between Colin and Jesus nailed to the cross.

Intermezzo: The empty town. The little girl sings a song about the dead town

14th Tableau: An Epilogue

Dialogue of Cat and Mouse. Mouse wants to die putting its head into the Cat’s mouth. Blind girls walk the street singing a song about Jesus. One of the girls stepped on the Cat’s tail. The Cat shuts its mouth.

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