Festivals 2010 – The Very Best of France

Summer in France and suddenly there’s a feast of festivals, a banquet to delight even the most jaded palate.

Suddenly its summer and music fills the land

Music pours out of concert halls perfuming long evenings like lavender fields around Grasse.

The festival culture grips towns, villages, hamlets, cities and regions which all compete fiercely to roll out ever more extensive menus of delight for all tastes. Every large and small town in the country holds a local festival and the partying often goes on all night as the townsfolk celebrate local produce and culture.

The Fête de la Saint-Jean (Feast of St John), traditionally celebrated with bonfires — le feu de la Saint-Jean — reminiscent of pagan rituals– is a Roman Catholic feast day which takes place on June 24. In medieval times, it was commemorated with cat-burning! (unlikely to receive approval today of course). In some French towns, a large bonfire is built and lit — in the Vosges region and in southern Meurthe-et-Moselle, the bonfire is known as the chavande. The Midsummer bonfires follow hard on the heels of the exhuberant Fête de la Musique a 24 hour non-stop country-wide fete on June 21.

July and August are renowned for prestigious festivals attracting hundreds of thousands to cities, towns, and villages across the country.

The premier events are:

Theatre: July 7 – 27 Festival d’Avignon, a dynamic and diverse Arts festival, including fringe events in a stunning historic setting. This the most famous of France’s festivals, draws 700,000 visitors a year and generates some 22 million euros of revenues for the local economy. Avignon has an extensive fringe festival offering hundreds of free performances of dance, mime, puppetry, circus, and street theatre.

Opera: June 4 – July 21, Aix-en-Provence, International Festival of Lyric Art Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, a popular summer arts and classical music festival which injects 9.4 million euros into the local economy every summer. Aix is famous for lavish productions in magnificent outdoor settings, notably the courtyard of the former archbishop’s palace.

Also high on the agenda are:
Rock: July 2-4 Les Eurokeenes in Belfort, an institution with a lineup that includes The Dead Weather; Full programme here .

Belfort is the temple to rock this summer

while storming the Bastille still draws enthusiastic crowds:
July 13 – 14 Paris Bastille Day – parties, parades, fireworks, picnics and echoed around the country in celebration, of course, of the French revolution.

This personal diary offers an account of a canal trip during the festival season, two dedicated canal-boaters have spent their summers on French canals and rivers and share their music festival experience.

Here France’s premier music magazine Classiquenews offers its critical selection of the best in Spring, Summer and Autumn music festivals running between June and October 2010 …

Marais Early Music Festival
Paris, June 2010. Paris has until now lacked a true early music and Baroque festival: But now  between June 12 to 20, this gap is to be  filled by the new Marais Early Music Festival.  This festival covers medieval music, Renaissance and Baroque offering  8 concert events in the heart of Paris and featuring  lutenist  Hopkinson Smith

Festival on Water, Wild Opera
June 26 – August 28, 2010
Address: Moulin pen ar vern 29600 STE SEVE
Email: lorainesauvage@free.fr. Phone: 02 98 62 06 82
In Morlaix a festival on water, extends over 6 regional heritage sites, featuring two triptychs of Norma – the tragic heroine of Bellini and romantic Italian opera,

Camaret Musical Mondays
June 28 – August 30
Club Léo LAGRANGE – 2, rue du stade – 29570 Camaret sur Mer. Email: enic.lucy @ orange.fr. Phone: 02 98 27 97 76 / 02 98 27 90 49 / 06 15 41 43 35
The 38th Camaret festival is held every Monday at 21h. 10 chamber music moments covering a large repertoire. Opening concert with Amarelys (Rocamadour Chapel) a Finistere ensemble in a Baroque program (Teleman, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi), a tribute to Schumann on the composer’s bicentennial (July 12, Trio Iroise), a baroque concert with the Cologne Chamber Ensemble (July 19), Bulgarian Voices ( St. John of Rila Choir, July 26) Baroqueopera Amsterdam, IV, Shakespeare, Sweelinck (August 2), piano recital (Couperin, Schumann, Chopin pianist Taiwan Yun-Yang Lee, August 9), Organ and two voices (Dulcyane ensemble, August 30) …

Festival International de Colmar
22nd edition: Ravel, Rachmaninov
July 2 – 13

The 22nd Colmar International Festival in the heart of the Alsace vineyards, for the first time in its long musical history pays homage to Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)and Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943).

Le petit festival
July 7 – 11
Address: Association Son ar Mein, Mairie, 1 hent Lokireg, 29620 Guimaëc. Email: contact@petitfestival.fr
Historic Trégor stages this small festival stages musical performances 3 times a from July 7. This includes: Café le Caplan & co, July 7 at 15h; Anima mea at Quilles and other Mozart games 18h; Temples de l’exil, , slam and melodic rhythms at 23h ( Plestin-les-Greves beach ) and plenty more indeed the festival is small only in name

Les musicales d’été de la Ballue
July 9 – September 5
Address: Association Ballue Music Art Château de la Ballue 35 560 Bazouges la Pérouse. Email: chateau@la-ballue.com Phone: 02 99 97 47 86 (Near Mont Saint Michel), The XVII Ballue châteaualong with its labyrinth is the setting for several summer concerts between July 9 and September 5. Highlights include: The Les Archets de Bretagne and Philippe Giusano, piano (early evening, Chopin program, 9 -10 July), King Arthur by Purcell (11 July at 17:30), Generation 1810: Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann … (Guillaume Coppola, Alfama Quartet … August 10) and more.

Les opéras d’été de Dinard
July 10 – July 24
Email: info@arma-opera.com Phone: 02 99 36 19 54
To demystify opera, Arma, early music and opera creates a new production every summer in Brittany. For its 12th edition it is staging a cycle of operas on the theme: Arthur, “myth of power”. Frédérique Chauvet, the artistic director explores Purcell and selected excerpts from King Arthur, a modern Shakespearean poet. In this rereading the magic of Purcell recounts the exploits of Arthur the Breton who thanks to the protection of the wizard Merlin, delivers the sweet Emmeline, to the ignoble Saxon Oswald. On tour July 11 – August 2, 2010. 4 evenings of opera Stephan Bouttet theater 16, 17, 22 and July 23 at 21h.

7 chapelles en arts
July 14 – August 22
Address: 3 Kermabo – 56520 Guidel
Email: joelbienvenu@neuf.fr. Phone: 02 97 65 35 12

Saint-Malo Sacred Music Festival
July 15 to August 25
Saint-Malo Cathedral – 12 Rue St Benoist – 35400 Saint Malo. Email: contact@festivaldemusiquesacree-stmalo.com. Phone: 06 08 31 99 93
Major festival near the bastide of this seaside town. The choir offers a range choral music concerts in partnership the Düsseldorf Ducal Chapel.

Festival Music and Memory
17th edition 16 July – 1 August

No fewer than 12 concerts offering the best of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music.

Chant des Chapelles
July 17 – August 28, 2010
Address: BP 27 29470 Plougastel-Daoulas
Email: music.culture @ laposte.net. Phone: 02 98 36 62 43
The festival followed the discovery in 1989 by Marie-Claude Herry of 8 chapels at Plougastel in Brittany offering unique acoustics.

Arts à la pointe Music Festival
July 18 -August 19
Address: 9 rue Lamartine – 29770 Audierne. Email: cap.accueil @ wanadoo.fr. Phone: 02 98 70 28 72
The location alone is worth the trip: here at the end of the world, in the land of shrines, chapels, and great wilderness, the land ends and a vast ocean begins. The program offers chamber music by Capucins à Audierne (July 18), Purcell’s King Arthur (Théâtre d’Esquibien, July 21), Mathis Quartet (Aug. 3), Celtic music to end the festival (Théâtre d’Esquibien, 19 August).

Music to Chabotterie
July 21 to August 12
Held in the Vendee, Saint-Sulpice le Verdon (85), this festival offers visitors a chance to discover the splendour of this preserved lodging.
Some 15 concerts focus chiefly on the Baroque. Played last year (2009),

Cycle musical de la Chapelle de Kersaint-Landunvez
July 21 – August 13
Association Cycle Musical de la Chapelle de Kersaint. Mairie de Landunvez – 29840 Landunvez. Tel.: 02 98 89 95 31 or 02 98 48 68 26.
The cycle of concert music in the chapel offers an eclectic programme with, among others, St. John of Rila Bulgarian Choir (July 21), piano recital by Anne Queffélec (July 29) baroque sounds – Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann by the Collegium Orpheus (August 13).

Opera Goven Garden
21 – 25 July
Address: Arte Lirica BP 12 35580 Goven. Email : info@arte-lirica.fr. Phone: 06 81 12 03 12.
Near the mythical Brocéliande forest, this opera festival , is held annually in July. Highlights include: Special tribute to Bizet, opening July 21. Christophe Mortagne Recital, July 22. Princess Turandot, July 23 (at 16h.

Paimpol-Goelo Chapelles et manoirs en musique
July 24 – August 31
Address: Paimpol Email: assocapac@orange.fr
Phone: 02 96 20 83 16

Les Musicales de Blanchardeau
July 27 and August 3 – 10 Moulin de Blanchardeau – 22290 Lanvollon. Email: contact@lesmusicalesdeblanchardeau.org. Phone: 06 37 23 89 97

Voce Humana, Festival d’art vocal de Lannion
July 29 – August 10
Address: 16 rue Crech Tanet – 22300 Lannion. Email: contact@vocehumana.fr. Phone: 06 15 17 66 22

St. John of Rila Bulgarian Choir, Mélisme Ensemble vocal , Quartet Tout terrain, recitals by Marie Paule Bonnemasson, Marthe Vassalo, Sylvie Becdelièvre.

Musiciennes à Ouessant
2 – 6 August
Ile d’Ouessant (29)Ondine chez Marie Palluel – Keraloch – 29242 Ouessant. Email: marie.palluel @ sciences-po.org or lydia.jardon @ wanadoo.fr.Phone:
Highlights, Feriel Kaddour, piano and Marion Baglan, soprano Aug. 2. Chopin piano recital by Lydia Jardon, (August 5), brass quintet and piano Aug 5 at 21h, Bizjak sisters piano for four hands, August 6

Quimper- Semaines musicales
August 3 – 22
BP 91513 29105 Quimper Cedex
Tel.: 02 98 95 32 43
Email: contact@semaines-musicales-quimper.org
August 7 (St. Corentin Cathedral) excerpts from the oratorio L’Ange scellé”, by contemporary Moscow composer Rodion Chedrine and seeral other notable events.

Strings in the countryside
4, 5, 6 August
Address: Chapel of the Seven Saints, 22420 Old Market. Email: info@cordesenaccord.com or cordesenaccord@googlemail.com
In the chapelle des Sept Saints offers a festival of guitar music with guest soloists in August 2010: Craig Ogden (August 4), Dryads Duo (5), guitar duo “The Eden-Stell”, August 6.

Festival international de musique de Dinard
4 – 18 August
Address: 6 rue Sadi Carnot 35800 Dinard. E-mail: contact@festival-music-dinard.com. Phone: 02 99 16 08 72
Contact: Véronique Daverio, direction artistique. Tél. : 06 85 54 85 93. Mail: veroniquedaverio@yahoo.fr
Features baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary music. From Chopin to Piazzolla, Debussy, piano, voice, violin, cello, harp, viola, flute, euphonium, guitar, saxophone all feature on the programme.

L’Opéra de choc à Carnacc
5 – 9 August 2010
Address: : Chantier Gouzer, Le Pô, 56350 Carnac. Tél. : 06 07 34 45 6. Email appeldairs@hotmail.com
The Chamber Opera in Carnac offers four operas and recitals with all performances at 20:30.

Sable Festival 2010
32nd edition, 24 – 28 August 2010

63rd Festival of Besançon 2010
16 – 26 September
The 63rd edition of the International Music Festival of Besançon is marked by the presence of two musicians with strong temperament, conductor Sir Andrew Davis and composer Michael Jarrell , as composer in residence. Besancon 2010 highlights the role of ballet as a form of inspiration.

Festival de musique ancienne “comme l’eau du temps”
September 18 – October 17
Address: : 5, rue Monseigneur Duparc 29200 Brest. Email: musiqueanciennebrest@yahoo.fr. Phone: 02 98 44 87 16 or 06 42 18 48 76
The festival is held in the Conservatoire de Brest auditorium with the emphasis this year on French Baroque . September 24 (20:30): Portraits and sonatas at the time of Louis XV, Marianne Muller and the Eschéquier Emmanuel Rousson ensemble. 1 October (20:30): The origins of Fado ( Os Musicos do Tejo ensemble). October 2 (20:30), ensemble “la Rêveuse”, Benjamin Perrot: Buxtehude; Reincken, JS Bach. October 8 (20:30): harpsichord recital, Pierre Hantai, JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Oct. 10 (17h): Satie Quartet plays Satie J. Haydn, L. van Beethoven, J. Brahms. Information:musiqueanciennebrest@yahoo.fr, or 02 98 44 87 16 / 06 42 18 48 76

September 21 to October 5, 2010 Address: 19 rue Alphonse Guérin – 35000 Rennes. Email: association.rhizome @ gmail.com. Phone:
In Rennes, every October, the festival “word out now!” aims to kill off the prejudices against contemporary music. Programme to be announced

Rencontres internationales de Musique Ancienne du Tregor
9 – 24 October 2010
Address: Centre Culturel Stereden – 22400 – Lanvellec. Email: festival.lanvellec @ orange.fr. Phone: 02 96 35 14 14 – 02 96 35 14 14
The 24th Festival de Musique Ancienne Lanvellec celebrates famous medieval , Renaissance and Baroque music. Highlights: “War and Peace” August 8 15:30 (Musicians of Saint-Julien), numerous organ recitals on the historic Robert Dallam de Lanvellec (1653) organ-16 October. Recital by harpsichordist Blandine Rannou (October 9); military program with Elbipolis ensemble Hamburg evoking Don Quixote in German music of the 18th century (October 17th)

AND for some of the other festivals:
Paris in the summer
Piggy festival
Bayonne with a nod to Spain
The Nice Jazz festival
Fetes de la Tarasque

Story: Ken Pottinger

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