Sabine Devieilhe, Jakub Józef Orliński, Waltraud Meier, Magdalena Kožená Headline Revamped Festival d’Aix-en-Provence

By David Salazar
(Photo Credit / Source: Magdalena Kozena Facebook / Kamil Szkopik / Warner Classic)

The Festival d’Aix-en-Provence has announced a revamped approach to its 202 Festival which is set to take place online due to the continued impact of COVID-19.

For 10 days, audience members will get the opportunity to engage with four distinct events which will be accessible via Arte and France Musique as well as the company’s official website.

Every night at 7 p.m. there will be a recital featuring a major artist followed by an opera production at 9 p.m. Each opera will be introduced earlier in the day by a notable artist associated with the project.

At midday, audiences will watch several major artists such as Sir Simon Rattle, Kaija Saariaho, Susanna Mälkki, Thomas Hengelbrock, Simon Stone, Barrie Kosky, Amin Maalouf, Simon McBurney, Katie Mitchell, and Leonardo García Alarcón engage in conversation and dialogue on major themes.

Here is the full breakdown of the slate.

On July 6, Barbara Hannigan will speak on “Pelléas et Mélisande.” That will be followed by a conversation featuring Kaija Saariaho, Simon Stone, Magdalena Kožená, and Pierre Audi moderated by Alain Perroux.

In the evening, audiences can check out a recital starring Magdalena Kožená and Sir Simon Rattle in the music of Brahms, Dvorak, Debussy, Strauss, Martinu, and Janacek. The evening concludes with the streaming of a past performance of “Pelléas et Mélisande” directed by Katie Mitchell.

On July 7, Stéphane Degout will introduce “Pinocchio.” He will be followed by a panel starring Amin Maalouf, Peter Sellars, and Sofi Oksane, with Timothée Picard acting as moderator. Soprano Marie-Laure Garnier and pianist Célia Oneto Bensaid will deliver a recital with music by Saariaho and Sibelius. This will be followed by a performance of Philippe Boesmans’ “Pinocchio.”

July 8 will bring an introduction to “Le Songe d’Une Nuit d’Été” by Robert Carsen; the work will be streamed in the evening. The panel discussion will feature Barrie Kosky, Leonardo García Alarcón, and Raphaël Imbert with an ensuing recital starring countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, and pianist Michael Biel.

July 9 will be headlined by Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” which will be introduced by Marlis Petersen. The panel discussion will feature Bernard Foccroulle, Kathryn McDowell, Michele Cantoni, and Tom Leick-Burns, while the recital will be headlined by countertenor Paul-Antoine Bénos-Djian and pianist Bianca Chillemi.

Kyle Ketelsen will provide the introduction for the July 10 opera, “The Rakes Progress,” while soprano Véronique Gens and tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac will present a concert alongside Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble. The panel of the date will feature Pierre Audi, Sir Simon Rattle, Susanna Mälkki, and Thomas Hengelbrock as they rethink the festival.

On July 11, Catherine Malfitano will introduce “Tosca,” which will be presented that evening. The Trio Sora will perform the daily recital while Katie Mitchell, Raphaël Pichon, Émilie Delorme, and Estelle Lowry discuss equality in the opera industry.

Kurt Weill’s The Rise and the Fall of the City of Mahagonny will be the centerpiece for July 12 with an interview by Esa-Pekka Salonen introducing the work. Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber will provide the evening’s recital while Simon McBurney, Frédérique Aït-Touati, and Bas Smets lead the panel discussion.

Bizet’s “Carmen” will be introduced by Stéphanie d’Oustrac on July 13 with the Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée Medinea giving a concert that evening and afternoon, the former program featuring Virginie Verrez. The panel discussion will feature Fabrizio Cassol and Duncan Ward.

On July 14, audiences will get to hear Mozart’s Requiem, with an introduction by Raphaël Pichon. Soprano Sabine Devieilhe will perform a recital with pianist Mathieu Pordoy, while the panel discussion will feature  Anthony Heidweiller, Mark Withers, Frédérique Tessier, Marie-Laure Stephan, and Philippe Franceschi.

The festival will conclude on June 15 with “Elektra,” introduced by Waltraud Meier and an archived interview with Patrice Chéreau. Duncan Ward will lead the London Symphony Orchestra in concert that evening with the panel discussion showcasing Pierre Audi, Maja Hoffmann, Macha Makeïeff, and Jean-François Chougnet.