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Former Aisne Church Becomes a Kit Armstrong Concert Hall and Artistic Residence

Former Aisne Church Becomes a Kit Armstrong Concert Hall and Artistic Residence

What might inspire a young international pianist and former child prodigy to transform an abandoned church in the Aisne, northern France, into his very own concert hall, home  and artistic residence? Churches, with their high vaulted ceilings are frequently the preferred venue for classical and sacred music concerts across France thanks to their special acoustics, and it was this that attracted Kit […]

Jazz That Transcends Borders Comes With the 39th Souillac Jazz Festival – 19-26 July 2014

Jazz That Transcends Borders Comes With the 39th Souillac Jazz Festival – 19-26 July 2014

The Souillac Jazz Festival which runs 19-26 July 2014 in the Lot, SW France, is an especially poignant cultural event this year — the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. For among the American contingent in the Allied offensive of 1944 was one Sim Copans — who as a non-combatant in the US Army — […]

Broadway Musical Replacing French Operetta?

Broadway Musical Replacing French Operetta?

While the musical again breaks all theatre records in London’s West End, and booms away on Broadway, it is now also making unexpected headway on the Champs-Élysées. According to Victor Tribot Laspière of France Musique “La Belle et la Bête” (Beauty and the Beast) is currently booked out at the Mogador Theatre in Paris, while “My […]

Claudio Abbado – End of an Era

Claudio Abbado – End of an Era

For nearly 36 hours France Musique dedicated its entire output moments after his death, to one of the world’s greatest contemporary conductors — a quite remarkable tribute to an opera and orchestral giant who will be much missed.  Here our music correspondent John Preedy,  who blogs at Living in the Lot, offers a personal view […]

All that Jazz – And an American GI in France

All that Jazz – And an American GI in France

Anyone living in France soon realises the country takes its jazz very seriously, ranking it as a high art form and ennobling it with prominent slots on flagship radio stations such as France Musique and France Culture. Not all that surprising perhaps. New Orleans – birthplace of jazz — was after all a French protectorate […]

50 Years On, Paris Remembers Edith Piaf

50 Years On, Paris Remembers Edith Piaf

50 years on, Paris remembers Edith Piaf (via AFP) Fifty years after her death, Edith Piaf will on Thursday be remembered in the working-class Paris neighbourhood that produced one of the world’s greatest, and most tragic, performers. And even the Catholic Church, which refused to grant the divorced…  

Viva l’Opéra ’13/’14 – Live in Cinemas near You

Viva l’Opéra ’13/’14 – Live in Cinemas near You

Verdi’s Nabucco from La Scala in Milan, part of the 200th anniversary celebrations across Europe this year, will open the UGC cinema chain’s Viva l’Opéra 2013-2014 broadcast season around France.  In an echo of the hugely successful live broadcasts from the New York Met matinees that are screened in cinemas across France and the rest of the world, the Paris […]

California Challenges Cahors on 4th July

California Challenges Cahors on 4th July

Paul Bush, a Californian winery owner is preparing a cheeky challenge this 4th of July with a special celebratory tasting pitting his wine against the famous French black wine and doing so in the Malbec heartland of Cahors. The challenge is the brainwave of the Americans in the Lot association which told French News Online: “The Bush […]

Symphony Of Summer Cygale Sound Ahead

Symphony Of Summer Cygale Sound Ahead

The summer music festivals in France are rightly a highly-praised vaste enterprise, but there is one concert not widely featured on the national music menu – the Cygale Symphony. For if you live anywhere rural in southern France the background music to your summer months will be provided by the cicada or cygale. These insects are synonymous […]

Music Bringing Harmonic Notes to School Fails

Music Bringing Harmonic Notes to School Fails

If music be the food of life play on. Orsino’s bon mot in Shakespeare’s 12th Night is advice taken seriously in various French schools today where flutes, saxophones and drums help improve the notes of some of the most challenging pupils. In the film above, directed by Christophe Barratier, former music teacher Clément Mathieu changes the […]

Bach and Pachelbel – now on Vibraphone

Bach and Pachelbel – now on Vibraphone

Pachelbel’s Canon and Bach’ s Prelude in C Minor are old favourites in the classical repertoire, but now listen to them in an updated virtuoso rendering on vibraphone.   Transformation of Pachelbel’s Canon by Nanae Mimura and performed by Kevin Hanrahan and here is his rendering of Bach Prelude in c minor J.S. Bach Performed by Kevin Hanrahan Related articles Pachelbel’s Canon in D […]

Plogoff Plays Piano Scales on the Clifftop

Plogoff Plays Piano Scales on the Clifftop

Plogoff in Finistère on the weather-beaten Brittany coast doesn’t presently have many world-class concert pianists … but that may be about to change.   The residents of this small farming village (pop 1,388) have by turns been amazed and amused with the discovery of a solid, old Holstein piano — weighing about 150 kg — that somehow […]

Un-Stageable Parsifal Wonderfully Sung

Un-Stageable Parsifal Wonderfully Sung

John Preedy reviews the New York Metropolitan Opera Production presentation in live cinema and radio relay of Wagner’s Parsifal Parsifal – New York Metropolitan Opera More John Preedy reviews here Live Relay from the Met- 2 March 2013 Wonderful singing from the Principals but the production is flawed. It has been said that Parsifal is un-stageable.  […]

From French Folk to Rock and Back Again

From French Folk to Rock and Back Again

It took a long time for real rock music to arrive in France — indeed there are some cynics who say it never did! Undoubtedly there was a lot of catching up to do for while Hendrix and The Who were cavorting on London stages in the mid 1960’s, smashing guitars and turning up the […]

Its Tough Life On the French Rock Circuit

Its Tough Life On the French Rock Circuit

Rock musicians make millions the media will tell you. Well some do but for the vast majority its a long, hard slog mitigated to some extent in France by generous arts policies which mean gigs pay.   Here singer/songwriter Tony Smith, an occasional Rock contributor to French News Online, offers an insider view of how tough life can […]

Viva l’Opéra – Live in a Cinema near You

Viva l’Opéra – Live in a Cinema near You

The Paris Opéra Bastille production of Jacques Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann opens the UGC cinema chain Viva l’Opéra 2012-2013 live broadcast season around France. In an echo of the hugely successful live broadcasts from the New York Met matinees that are screened in cinemas across France and the rest of the world, the Paris Opera and the […]

Rock in France – A Review

Rock in France – A Review

In France, in the beginning there was Johnny Hallyday, 68, the musical equivalent to that other French ‘incontournable‘ the steak frites. Johnny Hallyday And like all good national treasures, he’s still around, writes Tony Smith in this  review of Rock in France. Tony Smith,a British-born folk and pop singer and French restaurateur today launches an occasional column on […]

The Genius of the Opera-Ballet

The Genius of the Opera-Ballet

One of France’s leading choreographers — Roland Petit a man immersed in life’s consuming dramas, has just died, leaving a remarkable legacy. Here, Philippa Campsie a Toronto writer, pays tribute to the man and his art: On July 10, 2011, the world of dance lost Roland Petit, a brilliant and original French choreographer. His best-known […]

Philippe Jaroussky – His Angel’s Voix – “Liquid Pure Gold”

Philippe Jaroussky – His Angel’s Voix – “Liquid Pure Gold”

Philippe Jaroussky denies that his is the liquid pure gold coloratura voice of an angel but that’s not how his vast army of devoted fans see it. Philippe Jaroussky looks like a Hollywood star and sings … well … celestially (though that’s not his favourite adjective). Nevertheless the army of adulatory fans that devotedly stalk the […]

Radio France with an Accent Anglais?

Radio France with an Accent Anglais?

In just a few short weeks a fluently French-speaking Brit with an unmistakeable accent, has provoked uproar among an elite Radio France audience who prefer the erudite to the trivial. Since the rentrée in September France Musique’s Musique Matin flagship slot has been presented by Alex Taylor, a 52-year-old polyglot, raised in Cornwall, and now […]

Brava: France’s Grand Opera Season is Here

Brava: France’s Grand Opera Season is Here

Opera fans in France should keep eyes firmly on opera houses around the country where the tradition of lyric arts remains strong, impressive and currently embracing cinema and new technologies to expand reach and influence France is a generous host to Bel Canto and the magnificence of opulent Opera For while the capital Paris is naturally the most richly endowed, good […]

Festivals 2010 – Cahors Blues meets Africajarc

Festivals 2010 – Cahors Blues meets Africajarc

Bands and performers of all stripes and flavours woo the crowds with Jazz and Les Blues, playing a prominent part. Apart from a full programme downloadable here Cahors Blues Festival (10-17 July 2010 in Cahors on the Lot river) offers a Springboard for new Blues talents with the finals this year on Tuesday, July 13 and […]

Summer Time Is When France is Alive With the Sounds of Music

Summer Time Is When France is Alive With the Sounds of Music

Not quite a public holiday but it might as well be — the June 21 Fête de la Musique (Music Festival) grips the country for 24 hours of music and more music in multifaceted shape and form celebrating the summer solstice. June 21 is Fête de la Musique – a one day nationwide celebration When […]

Johnny Hallyday’s Bottled Health Scare

Johnny Hallyday’s Bottled Health Scare

In November last year Johnny Hallyday, 66, was hospitalised at Cedars-Sinai clinic Los Angeles for treatment of a post operative infection after surgery for a slipped disc. France held its collective breath; the media splashed with fears for his life; doctors decided to induce ‘coma’ and hysteria reached its peak.   Now L’Express magazine claims […]

Shadow of Recession Lifts at Festival d’Aix

Shadow of Recession Lifts at Festival d’Aix

Festival director Bernard Foccroulle is confident Aix will return to its traditional musical glory this summer after a 2009 season marked by austerity and crisis. “For 2010, we have redeveloped the festival”, he said unveiling the programme for the 62nd season which runs from July 1-21, 2010 at the Grand Théâtre de Provence . On […]

Leftist Singing Star Dies

Leftist Singing Star Dies

Left wing French singer, songwriter, composer Jean Ferrat, 79, a life-long Communist Party sympathiser, died March 14 in his mountain village home of Aubenas, in the southern Ardèche.

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