2021 FESTIVAL D’AIX — LET’S DREAM TOGETHER

Since it is critical, in a period like the one we are currently experiencing, to retain hope and think about the future, I would like to look ahead and share with you our main opera projects for the 2021 edition.
This edition has been conceived and designed as a festival of great renewal.

We have been preparing the 2021 program for over three years, in order to offer you productions that showcase some of the most celebrated artists in the world. It has also been reconfigured to include two productions that were originally planned for 2020: Innocence, a world premiere by Kaija Saariaho, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel; both new productions were rehearsed last July 2020 so they could be shown to our audiences next year.

Of course, we remain very aware of the many uncertainties that lie ahead. Booking will open at the very beginning of 2021 when our brochure with the full line up of operas and concerts will be released. We have learned from our experiences in 2020 in terms of both welcoming the public and organizing rehearsals in the safest possible manner. This commitment to safety is of paramount importance to us in ensuring the next edition can unfold successfully and be enjoyed by the greatest number of visitors.

By opening up this window today, the Festival is inviting you to dream about reuniting with artists and with the stage. It is a reunion that the Festival team and all our partners worldwide are actively preparing under the best possible conditions.

Pierre Audi
General Director

TRISTAN UND ISOLDE

WAGNER

Conductor
Sir Simon Rattle
Stage Director
Simon Stone

With Stuart Skelton, Nina Stemme, Jamie Barton, Franz-Josef Selig, Josef Wagner

London Symphony Orchestra

GRAND THÉÂTRE DE PROVENCE
Premiered on Friday, July 2nd 2021

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO

MOZART

Conductor
Thomas Hengelbrock
Stage director
Lotte de Beer

With Gyula Orendt, Jacquelyn Wagner, Julie Fuchs, Andrè Schuen, Lea Desandre, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro

Balthasar Neumann Ensemble

THÉÂTRE DE L’ARCHEVÊCHÉ
Premiered on Wednesday, June 30th 2021

INNOCENCE

KAIJA SAARIAHO

WORLD PREMIERE

Conductor
Susanna Mälkki
Stage director
Simon Stone

With Magdalena Kožená, Sandrine Piau, Tuomas Pursio, Lilian Farahani, Markus Nykänen, Jukka Rasilainen

London Symphony Orchestra

GRAND THÉÂTRE DE PROVENCE
Premiered on Saturday, July 3rd 2021

FALSTAFF

VERDI

Conductor
Daniele Rustioni
Stage director
Barrie Kosky

With Christopher Purves, Stéphane Degout, Juan Francisco Gatell, Carmen Giannattasio, Daniela Barcellona, Giulia Semenzato

Choir and Orchestra Opera de Lyon

THÉÂTRE DE L’ARCHEVÊCHÉ
Premiered on Thursday, July 1st 2021

THE GOLDEN COCKEREL

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

Conductor
Daniele Rustioni
Stage director
Barrie Kosky

With Dmitry Ulyanov, Nina Minasyan, Andrei Popov, Vasily Efimov, Mischa Schelomianski, Margarita Nekrasova

Choir and Orchestra Opera de Lyon

THÉÂTRE DE L’ARCHEVÊCHÉ
Premiered on Thursday, July 22nd 2021

COMBATTIMENTO, THE BLACK SWAN THEORY

MONTEVERDI, ROSSI, CAVALLI

Conductor
Sébastien Daucé
Stage director
Silvia Costa

With Valerio Contaldo, Lucile Richardot, Julie Roset, Etienne Bazola, Nicolas Brooymans

Ensemble Correspondances

THÉÂTRE DU JEU DE PAUME
Premiered on Saturday, July 3rd 2021

THE ARAB APOCALYPSE

SAMIR ODEH-TAMIMI

WORLD PREMIERE

Based on Etel Adnan’s poem The Arab Apocalypse (1980)

Conductor
Ilan Volkov
Stage director
Pierre Audi

Ensemble Modern

LUMA ARLES — ARLES
Premiered on Sunday, July 4th 2021

WOMAN AT POINT ZERO

BUSHRA EL-TURK

FRENCH PREMIERE ON STAGE

Conductor
Kanako Abe
Stage director
Laila Soliman

Ensemble Zar

CONSERVATOIRE DARIUS MILHAUD
Premiered on Friday, July 9th 2021

I DUE FOSCARI

VERDI

CONCERT VERSION

Conductor
Daniele Rustioni

Choir and Orchestra Opera de Lyon

GRAND THÉÂTRE DE PROVENCE
Friday, July 16th 2021

A DIVERSE SET OF WORKS, WITH A SPOTLIGHT ON NEW CREATIONS

The edition will thus feature a wide range of eras and styles, from Italian Baroque music, with Monteverdi, Cavalli and Rossi, in Combattimento, The Black Swan Theory to contemporary creations, including Mozart, with The Marriage of Figaro; the two giants of nineteenth-century opera—Wagner, with Tristan und Isolde, being performed for the first time at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and Verdi, with I due Foscari and Falstaff—and the twentieth century and the Russian repertoires, thanks to Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel.

Today’s music, celebrated through the “Incises” series, will also be in the spotlight, with two world premieres: Innocence, which reconstructs the deleterious effects of a collective past trauma that has recently resurfaced; and The Arab Apocalypse, which allegorizes the terrible cataclysm of the Lebanese Civil War, a ceaseless tragedy with global repercussions. This modern oratorio by the Palestinian-Israeli composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi, based on the prophetic long-form poem by the American-Lebanese poet and painter Etel Adnan, is the basis of the Festival’s partnership with Luma Arles. Woman at Point Zero, a stirring appeal for women’s rights by the Lebanese composer Bushra El-Turk, will also be making its French premiere.

ROOTED IN CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

These works deal directly with contemporary issues, but offer more than just a troubling portrayal of the topics at hand—i.e., the angst of living in a meaningless Western world, the endless succession of cataclysms in the Middle East, and the precarity of women’s status in society. The music, which mixes languages and styles, suggests that dialogue between cultures—the catalyst for a better world—is indeed possible. Desire is a specific theme that runs through much of the programme. Should one be consumed by desire or control it? More generally, the various works are about the sometimes destructive interplay of seduction and power that can develop between men and women. The artists and stage directors, however, offer hope for a more egalitarian society, and show distraught communities trying to create a brighter future.

TRUSTED OLD FRIENDS AND NEWCOMERS

The greatest artists are being assembled to do justice to these works: friends of the Festival, like Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, who will be making their big return, and Daniele Rustioni and the Choir and Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon ; and prestigious newcomers, like Simon Stone and Barrie Kosky—both “in residency” for two premieres—, Lotte de Beer, and Silvia Costa; as well as Susanna Mälkki, Thomas Hengelbrock conducting the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, and Sébastien Daucé with Ensemble Correspondances.

Women are at the heart of this edition, including composers Kaija Saariaho and Bushra El-Turk; stage directors Lotte de Beer and Silvia Costa; conductors Susanna Mälkki and Kanako Abe; and librettists or sources of inspiration, such as Sofi Oksanen, Etel Adnan and Nawal El Saadawi. Woman at Point Zero is the perfect example: it is driven by four women from Africa—Bushra El-Turk, Laila Soliman, Stacy Hardy and Aida Elkashef—who wish to promote a different expression of women’s voices in opera.

All of these operas demand the talents of great performers in the legendary roles—Nina Stemme as Isolde, Christopher Purves as Falstaff, Dmitry Ulyanov as Tsar Dodon, and Leo Nucci as Francesco Foscari—while the troupes have been formed with the best actors and singers—e.g., Magdalena Kožená, Stéphane Degout, Sandrine Piau, Julie Fuchs, Lea Desandre and Lucile Richardot.

FIND OUT MORE IN FEBRUARY 2021

The entire program will be unveiled this coming February; it is marked by an increasingly ambitious offering of concerts and recitals that echo the programmed operas; by the Festival’s strong commitment to today’s music via the “Incises” series; and by the rich and diverse offer of Aix en Juin, which is now entirely free. The Académie’s and the Mediterranean’s constantly renewed initiatives for the professional development of young artists, and the experimental projects of Passerelles, the Festival’s educational and socio-artistic department, will also be revealed. #THEDIGITALSTAGE, which is entering its second season, will reflect the beating heart of the Festival, of which it is both the echo chamber and an inventive counterpoint.

Lastly, the Festival is actively preparing to welcome audiences under the best conditions possible, so that we can rejoice and reflect together through our contact with the liveliest of the arts, and so that we may imagine what the future holds for us, and dream of a brighter tomorrow.