Guru recording's making of video   .    Opera   .   Synchronized scores   .   The full libretto   .   Photos



Stage Director Damian Cruden
Music Director Laurent Petitgirard
Associate Music Director Jerzy Woloziuk
Hubert Claessens, Guru
Sonia Petrovna, Marie,

Libretto by Xavier Maurel based on an original idea of the composer
State Commission

OSF Productions Publisher

Recorded for the label Naxos in October 2010 in Budapest, music director Laurent Petitgirard





Guru Baryton
Marie Actress
Victor, Guru’s assistant Tenor
Iris, Guru's wife Soprano lyrique
Carelli (« The scientist  ») Bass
Marthe, Guru's mother Contralto

Les six nouveaux adeptes (Ensemble vocal)

New disciple 1 Soprano
New disciple 2 Mezzo
New disciple 3 Alto
New disciple 4 Tenor
New disciple 5 Baryton
New disciple 6 Bass
Mixed choir The disciples

Duration : 2 hours


3 flutes (2nd picc-3thd picc & G flute)
2 oboe
1 english horn
3 clarinets (3thd mostly bass clarinet)
3 bassoons (3thd contrebassoon)
4 horns
3 trumpets
3 trombones (3thd bass trombone)
1 Tuba
1 Harp
1 Celesta
1 Timpanist
3 percussionists
Strings 14-12-10-8-6 (minimum 12-10-8-6-5)

Naxos recording Budapest (October 2010, 8-25 ) - World release August 2012

Guru Hubert Claessens
Marie Sonia Petrovna
Victor Philippe Do
Iris Karen Wzierba
Carelli Philippe Kahn
Marthe Marie-Noel Vidal
New disciple 1 Andrea Csereklyei
New disciple 2 Sára Dezsö
New disciple 3 Gabriella Galbács
New disciple 4 Lajos Fodré
New disciple 5 György Philipp
New disciple 6 Kornél Mikecz
The disciples Budapest Studio Choir
Orchestra Hungarian Symphony Orchestra Budapest
Chorus Master Kalman Strausz
Singing Master Maril Laurila-Lili
Music Director Laurent Petitgirard

This recording is supported by :

Cast at the Castle Opera in Szczecin 28/09-02/10/2018

Guru Hubert Claessens / Stanislaw Kierner
Marie Sonia Petrovna
Victor Paul Gaugler / Juan Noval-Moro
Iris Bo?ena Bujnicka, Magdalena Marchewka

Janusz Lewandowski, Guillaume Dussau


Gosha Kowalinska, Ewa Zeuner

Nouvel adepte 1 Lucyna Boguszewska
Nouvel adepte 2 Iga Caban
Nouvel adepte 3 Sandra Klara Januszewska
Nouvel adepte 4

Pawe? Wolski

Nouvel adepte 5 Tomasz ?uczak
Nouvel adepte 6 Rafa? Pawnuk
Mixed Choir Chœur de l'Opéra de Szczecin
Orchestra Orchestre de l'Opéra de Szczecin
Chorus master Ma?gorzata Bornowska
Vocal Master Mari Laurila-Lili
Assistant Conductor Antonina Bana?
Music Director Laurent Petitgirard
Directeur Musical associé Jerzy Woloziuk
Associate Music Director Damian Cruden
Set Designer Jérôme Bourdin
Costume Designer Dominique Louis
Associate Costume Designer Agata Tyszko
Lighting Designer Maciej Igielski

Avec le soutien de la société Investimo et du Fond de Création Lyrique (FCL)


Guru Composer's notes

A two-hour, three-act opera for symphonic orchestra, choir, six-member vocal ensemble, five soloists, and an actress.

Guru is a charismatic, highly intelligent, seductive, and manipulative character, a depraved mystic of heightened sexuality who has a highly dubious relationship to money and power. He rules over a sect with apocalyptic inclinations comprised of 50 followers living in seclusion on an island.

The opera depicts the descent into madness and death of the protagonist, who forgets that he himself contrived the rites and rituals and starts to believe that he is truly the "chosen one". He looses all sense of reality and leads followers and loved ones into a murderous and suicidal vortex.

The language of this world of madness is song. Marie, a woman who recently joined the sect along with a small group of converts, will be the only person to oppose Guru. But as she is the only person who has not gone mad, she speaks and does not sing. The part is played by an actress; her lines are rhythmic, which calls for excellent sight singing skills.

The other characters are: Iris, the Guru's companion and mother of their child, who dies for lack of medical care; Marthe, the Guru's mother; Victor, his assistant; and Carelli, the ever-present scientific advisor.

The opera culminates in a collective suicide that Marie, in spite of her many efforts, is unable to stop. She alone survives.

While the Guru's megalomania, the seclusion in which the sect lives and the horrific collective suicide all point to Jim Jones and the tragic death of 918 persons in Jonestown, the theories underpinning GURU are more closely related to the "journey after death" beliefs of numerous sects.

GURU is an activist opera, with a clearly identified goal: to speak out against psychological manipulation. Once I had identified and described all of the essential elements of the story, I asked Xavier Maurel to write the libretto. Work on the GURU started in June 2006 and was completed in October 2009. The opera was recorded a year later in Budapest.

Laurent Petitgirard
English translation by Carmen Benito

With Xavier Maurel


The members of a sect lead reclusive lives on an island under the influence of Guru, their master, to whom they have entrusted themselves and their possessions as well as the task of guiding their lives. With Guru are Marthe, his mother, Iris, a now abandoned adept with whom he has had a child, and also Victor and Carelli, respectively the 'financier' and the 'scientist' of the organisation.
Guru wields total authority over his disciples, who are scrupulous in their adherence to the rules of life he has prescribed. They are weakened and fanatical, and their only food is derived by Carelli from sea water, a preparation that is supposed to lead them to 'transparency', the ultimate stage of sanctity before the 'great journey' (death, of course).
When the opera begins, new adepts have just arrived on the island. Among them is Marie, who holds herself apart, keeps her eyes open, and, above all, refuses to sing with the others (this is a speaking role from start to finish). She openly declares to Guru that she has "come to destroy him".
Guru, self-confident to the point of insanity, willingly sees Marie as a trial that has been sent him, and Marthe and Victor are astonished to notice that he has now come to believe in his own power and in what for them is just a ruse intended to delude simple minds.

It is in this context that Iris's child, who had been declared sacred by Guru – and who, as such, had been wasting away in the sect's sanctuary, a veritable living icon receiving scant nourishment – shows signs of being at death's door. Under Marie's influence, the troubled adepts seek to oppose Guru's will and attempt to save the child. When it dies, Guru sends them back, brilliantly using Carelli's fantastical theories as the basis of an electrifying speech.
The event is, however, a catalyst. Guru declares that the 'great journey' must wait no longer and fixes it for the following day. He orders everyone to make ready and prepare themselves for what will be nothing less than a huge collective suicide.

Iris, alone and in despair after the death of her child, is the first to commit suicide, thus managing as it were to escape from Guru's influence. Marthe and Victor, by now appalled at Guru's delirium, try to resist his plan, not having thought it would ever concern them. Yet the first dies by the hand of Guru himself, while the second is left to be lynched by a barbaric mob of frantic adepts.
Everything is ready for the tragic denouement, and all are about to drink the potion prepared by Carelli, supposed to enable them to meet again in purity in the spheres. Marie still wants to avoid the catastrophe, and Guru's final challenge is to tell her that if she finds a single adept who refuses to 'leave' with the others, he will renounce the 'journey' for them all. As he foresaw, she comes up against the stubborn refusal of every adept, and all drink what is quite simply poison. Racked by unbearable pain, the adepts die one after the other as Guru heaps insults on them, commanding them to show themselves worthy of the election of which, by this act, they are the objects.
Guru and Marie now confront each other amid the final death rattles. Before himself drinking the poison, he predicts that Marie also will follow them, the last yet the most precious of the converts. After the death of the mad master, Marie is left alone, prostrate with horror, gazing at the poison…

(english translation by Jeremy Drake)


Naxos 8-660300-01, World release August 2011
You may download GURU in Studio Masters Quality on Qobuz


Classica, September 2011

Synchronized Scores

Cover's painting by Christian C
"La conjuration des imbéciles"
Acte I scene 2
Watch this synchronized score
"Victor et Guru"
Acte I scene 4
Watch this synchronized score
"Monologue de Guru"
Acte I scene 6
Watch this synchronized score
"Les adeptes veulent voir l'enfant"
Acte II scene 2
Watch this synchronized score
"Guru et Marie"
Acte II scene 3
Watch this synchronized score
"Il est mort"
Acte II scene 4 (2nd part)
Watch this synchronized score
Acte III scene 1
Watch this synchronized score
"Préparatifs et mort de Victor"
Acte III scene 4 (Extraits)
Watch this synchronized score
"Le supplique de Marie"
Acte III scene 6
Watch this synchronized score
"Le sacrifice"
Acte III scene 7
Watch this synchronized score

The full libretto

Click on the picture to download the full libretto (PDF file)


Click to enlarge