THE ‘MIDIS DU FESTIVAL’, A SERIES OF EIGHT PANEL DISCUSSIONS AND ENCOUNTERS FROM 5 TO 18 JULY, GATHER ARTISTS FROM 2023 EDITION AND GUESTS.
— WEDNESDAY 5 JULY, NOON
LIVE PERFORMING ARTS, A REFLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY CRISES
The works in this year's programme evoke eras of moral disarray (The Threepenny Opera), gestures of excess (Ballets russes), and above all devices of collective manipulation that resonate strongly with our times (Le Prophète). But they also sometimes hint at new ways of building community, and hence the joyful horizon of possible emancipation (The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions). If opera reflects the difficulties of our societies as much as it allows us to escape them, what is its own mechanism? And can it be the cathartic space where the relationships with others are reinvented, a more peaceful togetherness?
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF : Thomas Ostermeier (stage director – The Threepenny Opera), Ted Huffman (co-author and stage director – The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions), Denise Wendel-Poray (author and publisher – last publication : The Last Days of the Opera) and Evangelia Kranioti (filmmaker – The Rite of Spring in Ballets russes).
MODERATOR: TIMOTHÉE PICARD
— THURSDAY 6 JULY, NOON
OPERA, LIFE STORIES
Wozzeck, Le Prophète and Lucie de Lammermoor recount the destruction of individuals manipulated by power – be it military, religious, political or socio-economic: tragic trajectories that denounce systems of oppression and warn us against their excesses. The journeys of the protagonists in Così fan tutte and Picture a day like this, while equivocal, are potentially more constructive, offering a life-saving lesson that, however cruel, heralds a new equilibrium. Through the prism of these shattered destinies and initiatory journeys, can opera shed light on our own inner vagrancy and help us project ourselves differently into the future?
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF : Daniel Jeanneteau (stage director – Picture a day like this), Marie‑Christine Soma (stage director – Picture a day like this), Gerard McBurney (dramaturge – Wozzeck) and Dmitri Tcherniakov (stage director – Così fan tutte).
MODERATOR: TIMOTHÉE PICARD
— SATURDAY 8 JULY, NOON
IN CONTACT WITH OTHER ARTS: AUGMENTED OPERA
Initiating new forms of vocality, The Threepenny Opera and Wozzeck paved the way for musical theatre akin to cabaret, which we find again on 7 July in the programme directed by Jos Houben and Emily Wilson, and in another way in The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions. And finally Ballets russes is also revisiting the dialogue between music and the moving image. All these productions explore new ways of making opera, as many transdisciplinary reconfigurations that question what opera can mean today. What are the boundaries and characteristics of the 'opera' genre? Should it be expanded, in what ways and at what cost? These are just some of the questions which the artists taking part in this year's edition can provide worthwhile answers to.
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF : Alphonse Cemin (conductor's assistant – The Threepenny Opera), Philip Venables (co-author and composer – The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions), Jos Houben (stage director – ‘Pianist’s Cabaret’ evening with Kirill Gerstein and HK Gruber, 7 July 2023), Emily Wilson (stage director – ‘Pianist’s Cabaret’ evening) and Bertrand Mandico (filmmaker – Petrushka in Ballets russes).
MODERATOR: TIMOTHÉE PICARD
— MONDAY 10 JULY, NOON
CREATION AND COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE
A reflection of, or at the forefront of, the changes taking place in our societies in general, a signifcant group of artists is keen to implement more horizontal and collaborative ways of working. This is demonstrated by the use of alternative communities in the creative process of The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions, but also the presence at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence of the centuries-old troupe of the Comédie-Française, independent ensembles such as Le Balcon, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, which are overturning traditional processes – including the separation of roles between the artistic and the administrative. How can we open up to diversity, develop more egalitarian working methods and rethink existing power structures?
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF : Iris Zerdoud (clarinetist and production director of the ensemble Le Balcon – The Threepenny Opera), Yshani Perinpanayagam (music director – The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions), Christina Schonk (artistic management and planning management of the Balthasar Neumann Orchestra – Così fan tutte) and Carole Benhamou (production manager of the Comédie-Française).
MODERATOR: RAPHAËLLE BLIN
— THURSDAY 13 JULY, NOON
2023: AN ANNIVERSARY, MANY ANNIVERSARIES
In 2023, the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence celebrates its 75th anniversary: three-quarters of a century of operatic history, concerts and musical innovation. But this anniversary brings together others that are just as important: the 25th anniversary of the founding of its Académie Européenne de Musique (1998), a formidable laboratory for the musical creation of tomorrow; the 15th anniversary of the creation of its Passerelles educational and socio-artistic service (2007), which aims to renew the audiences for opera. We should also mention the 25th anniversary of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, which performed for the first time at the 1998 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, shortly after its creation, with its first international success, a Festival d'Aix production (Don Giovanni directed by Peter Brook and conducted by Claudio Abbado and the very young Daniel Harding, 1998) and which returns this year for the premiere of George Benjamin's new opera ; or the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the passing of Patrice Chéreau, who, a few months before his death, mounted a memorable production of Elektra at the Grand Théâtre de Provence (2013). Each of these anniversaries will provide an opportunity to pull together the threads that make up the Festival’s history and identity.
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF : Sylvie Pébrier (former inspector of music at the Ministry of Culture and teacher at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris), Paul Briottet (Académie and concert programme deputy director), Sophie Ragot (secretary general of the Festival d’Aix), Philipp von Steinaecker (cellist, founding member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra – Picture a day like this) and Dominique Bruguière (lighting designer, collaborator of Patrice Chéreau).
MODERATOR: ANNE LE BERRE
WORKSHOP — FRIDAY 14 JULY FROM 10AM TO 11:30AM
TRANSLATING SONGS FROM THE THREEPENNY OPERA
Written in August 1928 by a young Brecht on the verge of stardom, ‘Mackie's Lament’, in opening of The Threepenny Opera, was soon on everyone's lips. But beneath the apparent simplicity a real headache when it comes to translation – and adapting it for the stage. This participatory translation workshop, a first in the history of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, will be an opportunity for the public to try their hand at poetic and musical translation. Together we will explore the challenges of rendering the songs from The Threepenny Opera, focusing on this famous 'Lament', which we will attempt to give an original, collective version.
A WORKSHOP PROPOSED BY ALEXANDRE PATEAU, OPEN TO ALL
NO SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE OF GERMAN OR MUSIC THEORY REQUIRED
— FRIDAY 14 JULY, NOON
FROM MACKIE MESSER TO MAC-THE-KNIFE: THE CHALLENGES OF TRANSLATION IN OPERA
This year's production of The Threepenny Opera by the Comédie-Française troupe was an opportunity to commission a new translation of the Weill, Brecht and Hauptmann masterpiece; conceived by Alexandre Pateau in close collaboration with the artistic team – in particular the musical director Maxime Pascal –, it radically renews the approach, preluding a reissue of Brecht's entire work in French. Picture a day like this is the fourth collaboration between two exceptional artists whose chemistry commands admiration: George Benjamin for the music and Martin Crimp for the text. These are all invitations to reexamine the relationship between text and music from different angles, from writing to translation and from interpretation to surtitling (The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions).
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF : Alexandre Pateau (translator, author of the new translation of The Threepenny Opera, L'Arche éditeur), Elisabeth Angel-Perez (professor of contemporary British theatre at Sorbonne University, translator of texts by Martin Crimp - Picture a day like this) and Béatrice Arnal (translator - productions of the Festival d’Aix).
MODERATOR: DAVID CHRISTOFFEL FOR MÉTACLASSIQUE
— SATURDAY 15 JULY, NOON
THE AGES OF AN ARTIST'S LIFE: GROWING OLD, AND PASSING ON THE LEGACY
As part of this edition celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the stage director of Così fan tutte Dmitri Tcherniakov has chosen to show not young leads but couples in the prime of life – just as Simon Stone did in Tristan und Isolde in 2021. Should we see this as an observation on opera in general, an art form that is four centuries old, or on a culture and an audience that are themselves said to be to be ageing? More broadly, this is an opportunity to address the question of the stages of an artist's life, and what is gained, lost and transformed along the way. The same year will see the premiere of a work by Betsy Jolas, a 97-year-old composer. The corollary of transmission between generations, the very principle of the Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée, will also be addressed, and is particularly dear to the artists present this year: whether it be the pianist Kirill Gerstein, coach at the chamber music residence, or the members of the Noé Clerc Trio, joined by the veteran Minino Garay, or the Gharbi Twins ensemble, founded as a family.
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF : Betsy Jolas (composer honored in 2023 by the Festival d’Aix - world premiere – LSO concert, 14 July 2023), Minino Garay (percussionnist in Noé Clerc Trio concert, 15 July 2023), Noé Clerc (founding accordionist of the Noé Clerc Trio in concert on 15 July 2023), Duncan Ward (music director of the Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée in concert on 23 July 2023) and Ginette Decuyper (LSO violinist).
MODERATOR: AURORE FLAMION
— TUESDAY 18 JULY, NOON
WHAT IS A FESTIVAL?
The Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, by virtue of its size, the aura of its productions and its longevity, has been a world-class cultural institution and a benchmark in the operatic world since 1948. Yet it is a singular opera institution: its production schedule, which is limited to a few weeks in the summer, its audiences, and its propensity for creation, innovation and experimentation all contribute to its specific characteristics. Using the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence as an example, we will look at what a festival represents in the world of opera: the role it plays on the world stage, the new artistic events that will be staged there, What makes it special? What opportunities and freedoms, but also what constraints, have characterised it since its inception?
WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF : Pierre Audi (general director of the Festival d’Aix since 2019), Sir Simon Rattle (conductor – Wozzeck), Stéphane Lissner (general director of the Festival d’Aix from 1998 to 2006) and Ivan Alexandre (author, stage director and journalist).
MODERATOR: TIMOTHÉE PICARD
THESES PANEL DISCUSSIONS AND ENCOUNTERS WILL BE BROADCAST ON #THEDIGITALSTAGE