The 65th Annual Festival d'Aix-en-Provence Will Run July 4 to 27
At the historically appropriate Théâtre du Jeu de Paume, musical director Leonardo Garcia Alarcon and stage director Jean-Yves Ruf recreate the first production in three-and-a-half centuries of Elena, a dramma per musica by Francesco Cavalli. The Helen of the title is the face that launched a thousand ships, but in the libretto by Giovanni Faustini, Menelaus, Theseus and Menestheus compete for the object of their desire. The 1659 Venice premiere of this opera was a success, and was revived in Palermo two years later. But though the libretto was published and the score copied at Cavalli's request, the complete opera was never performed again. The cast includes Emöke Barath, Valer Barna-Sabadus, Fernando Guimaraes and Solenn' Lavanant Linke.
The 2013 Festival's concert series will include symphonic performances at the Grand Théâtre de Provence featuring: the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and tenor Ian Bostridge in works by Britten and Shostakovich; the Orchestre de Paris in a Beethoven and Wagner concert, led by Esa-Pekka Salonen with bass René Pape, a second program of Berlioz, De Falla, Ravel and Lalo with conductor Alain Altinoglu, mezzo-soprano Nora Gubisch and violinist Vadim Repin; and Lisbon's Coro Gulbenkian in a program of sacred choral music by Bach, de Almeida, Fauré, Poulenc, and Milhaud at Saint-Sauveur Cathedral.
Venezia, da camera e da chiesá - Sacred and Secular Venetian Music of the Seventeenth Century, will be performed by harpsichordist Jean-Marc Aymes and soprano Maria Cristina Kiehr, as well as singers and intrumentalists of the Académie européenne de musique. The concert will consist of the magnificent "new music" of Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli and their Venetian peers. Also at the Church of Saint Jean de Malte, Aymes will offer an organ and harpsichord recital of works by composers such as Girolamo Frescobaldi, Andrea Gabrieli and Bernardo Storace, to show off the contrapuntally rich keyboard repertoire of early-baroque Venice, Rome and Naples.
Tunisian violinist-composer Jasser Haj Youssef and quartet will offer a concert celebrating his début album Sira, with the help of the Camerata of l'Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée. The musical styles include baroque, contemporary, jazz and world influences, reflecting the conclusion of a Mediterranean intercultural partnership workshop designed to expose youth orchestra participants to many genres of music.
The renowned Jerusalem Quartet will present two programs of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Smetana and Janácek. At the memorial of the Camp des Milles, Quatuor Béla presents a program of works of three central European composers whose lives were indelibly changed by Nazi Germany: Belá Bartók, who fled to the United States; György Ligeti, who lost nearly his whole family to deportation and extermination; and Czech Erwin Schulhoff, who died of exhaustion at the Wülzburg concentration camp.
As part of its world music programming in partnership with Marseille-Provence 2013, European Cultural Capital, the Festival presents cross-genre show AlefBa, which is the Persian term for alphabet. Under the artistic direction of Fabrizio Cassol, with ensemble, musicians and singers from Europe, Arab countries including Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, the concert will focus on the cultural aftermath of the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo. Eighteen months after the Arab Spring, Cairo has been a crucible of musical ferment as well, mixing traditional with modern and classical with dance and pop. Fabrizio Cassol has tapped into this musical energy to bring his audience an oratorio of the people - Tahrir-style.
16th Académie Européenne de Musique (European Academy of Music)
At the heart of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence is a place devoted to musical training and sharing. The Festival has devoted part of its actions to train and promote young artists thanks to its Académie Européenne de Musique. Every year in June and July, the Académie welcomes young singers, instrumentalists and creators selected worldwide and wishing to further their training in Aix-en-Provence at seven residencies that run in June and July. Coming to work under the guidance of great artists and professors, they develop their vocal and instrumental interpretation as much as their talent for musical and scenic creation. The Académie usually welcomes approximately 8,000 spectators, and 2013 will offer the chance for them to discover approximately 200 young artists in almost 50 public events, including masterclasses, public performances, concerts and recitals, from June 3rd to July 27.
The Vocal Academy is open to singers and collaborative pianists finishing their studies and starting their professional career, frequently leading to roles in future Festival's productions. The 2013 residencies include work on Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias, art song, Mozart, Cavalli, and contemporary repertoire. The Academy of Chamber Music hosts a July residency for young professional ensembles wishing to expand their artistic horizons under the guidance of internationally renowned artists such as Andràs Keller and the Jerusalem String Quartet. The Opera Creation Workshop is a public conference held at the end of June and beginning of July to address the many facets of opera creation and interdisciplinary collaboration.
The Youth Orchestra of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence welcomes advanced students from the Aix region to the Orchestra Academy. Since 2010, soloists of the London Symphony Orchestra have mentored the young instrumentalists of the Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée du Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. In 2013, the youth orchestra, led by Kristjan Jarvi, joins forces with choreographer Josette Baïz for two performances of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliette, featuring approximately 180 young musicians (from 20 Mediterranean countries) and dancers.
A prelude to the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence: Festival d'Aix IN JUNE
Starting on June 14, visitors to Aix will have the opportunity to see operas, concerts, recitals and masterclasses - some of them free - that will showcase the young artists of the Académie Européenne de Musique, as well as the established musicians involved in the Festival's regular programming in July. As was the case in 2012, these advance events will culminate in PARADE(S), a free open-air concert at the Cours Mirabeau. The 2013 edition will feature highlights from Rigoletto, including the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Gianandrea Noseda. Several June events will present themed weekend performances around significant composer anniversaries. Full details on June concerts and events will be released in March.
One of the Académie highlights of 2013 is a semi staged performance at the Bois de l'Aune of Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias, featuring an orchestral reduction for two pianos by Benjamin Britten that has not been performed since its premiere at Aldeburgh in 1958. Based on a fantastical play by Guillaume Apollinaire with an egalitarian and pacifist message, the story follows the title character who changes genders in order to help foster equality between men and women - all the while exposing us to some of Poulenc's most expressive music.
Krasa's children's opera Brundibár, will be sung by children who have been honing their singing abilities since 2010. The bitter two-act fable for children's chorus is about a brother and sister who must sing and overcome Brundibar's noisy organ to earn money for their ailing mother had its premiere on Sept. 23, 1943 in the Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp - a setting to be echoed at the Festival's chosen venue, Camp des Milles.
Je fais ce qui me chante, is a depiction in words and art song of the times, thoughts and sentiments of Francis Poulenc, poet Paul Eluard and singer Pierre Bernac, as we share highlights of their creative and personal correspondence. The performance is staged by Olivier Balazuc, with pianist Nicolas Chesneau as Poulenc, tenor Jérôme Billy as Bernac and actor Thomas Rathier as Eluard.
About Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture
The Marseille-Provence region, with a population of 2 million, includes towns and cities throughout the Provence region: from Marseille to Aix, Arles, Aubagne, Istres and Martigues. Marseille-Provence 2013 - the association created to lead the region's bid to become a European Capital of Culture in 2013 - has organized international cultural events aimed at a wide audience. Throughout 2013, hundreds of artistic and cultural events will encompass the performing and visual arts, science and technology, gastronomy and sports. Marseille-Provence 2013 aims to become a hub for creativity and dialogue between European and Mediterranean cultures by encouraging the creation and circulation of new works. Marseille-Provence will also showcase the region's many natural resources and landscapes. With its setting between Europe and the Mediterranean, the region becomes a unique location for the convergence of culture, diversity and tolerance. The programming of this year's Festival d'Aix-en-Provence received the labeling of Marseille-Provence 2013.