Aix-en-Provence International Festival of Lyric art
Opera as a mirror of the world
We appear to be approaching the end of an epoch. What shape will the new epoch take? Where do we see it emerging? What can opera tell us, what harbingers does it bear?
Opera tells us first of all that art is revealing. In George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s new opera, which will premiere in Aix-en-Provence, the work of an artist-illuminator bursts into the daily routine of a couple, turning the life of the man and the woman upside down and compelling them to embark on a journey of no return that stretches beyond the confines of social status.
Mozart similarly demonstrates how desire cuts across social classes, breaching the codes and conventions of the extended families portrayed in Le Nozze di Figaro and La Finta Giardiniera. Where there is desire, there are also relations of power and seduction, sublime abandon and ludicrous circumstances; all this makes these two works as modern and relevant as when they were first performed. One feature of such modernity lies in the role played by women. Let us listen to Suzanna, the Countess, Sandrina, Arminda and Serpetta: do they not carry the energy, grace and creativity, the empathy and the dynamic impulses that together constitute an alchemy fit to change the world? [...]
The Festival’s concert programme echoes and prolongs this extremely varied collection of masterpieces. The concerts focus on French music, with which George Benjamin’s music bears strong affinities. Ravel of course, but also Charpentier, Debussy, Satie and Messiaen occupy a prominent position in the programme. We are also delighted to promote the works of living composers such as Henri Dutilleux, Betsy Jolas and other young creators. This year the Académie master classes will offer the opportunity to penetrate into their worlds. [...]
Bernard Foccroulle, director of the festival
- The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart
- David et Jonathas by Marc Antoine Charpentier
- Written on skin by Georg Benjamin
- La finta giardiniera by Mozart
- The Child and the Spells by Maurice Ravel
This year’s programme includes five operas, offering an extremely wide variety of musical styles, voices, orchestral flavours and dramatic situations.