— Passerelles

Published on June 27 2019


Rencontre en musique - Juin 2019
© DR
During the month of June, the Passerelles team of the Festival d’Aix brought opera out of its traditional venues by offering ten musical workshops to partner audiences in over half a dozen towns in the region. Many artists—including the soprano Marie-Laure Garnier accompanied by the pianist Célia Oneto Bensaid, four choristers from the Pygmalion ensemble, the barytone Thomas Oliemans, and quartets from the Académie’s chamber music residency—met with students, adults and senior citizens to share a sensitive and intimate approach to opera with them.

On June 21 at 2 p.m., the Selini, Elmire and Agate quartets met with students from grade CM2 (10- and 11-year-olds) from the primary school in Vernegues; 6th-year students (11- and 12-year-olds) from the Collège Collines Durance in Mallemort; and patients from the Centre Hospitalier Montperrin (the Hysope day clinic) in Aix. We followed the primary school students from Vernegues throughout one of these participatory workshops.

2:15 p.m. – Time for Music!

The students are greeted by a musical excerpt from Haydn played by the Selini quartet. With their eyes closed, each student lets his or her imagination run free to the stream of notes. For some, the music conjures thoughts of arid Egyptian landscapes, with a runaway slave being pursued by a ghost; others see a chase through a dark forest; some evoke a journey through a haunted house; and yet others imagine preparations for a mythical combat.
After a moment of conversation and introduction, the students split into groups according to the stories they have shared.

2:30 p.m. – To Work!

The creative workshop begins: each group works on the spatial representation of their story based on the musical excerpt. One of the musicians from the Selini quartet is present in each of the four groups. To prepare their final creation, they work their body expression, walk in both groups and one by one, and listen to the excerpt repeatedly to meld body and music.

3 p.m. – The Silent Opera Takes Shape!

The musicians from the Selini quartet gather again to perform the selected excerpt so that the groups can present the broad lines of their project once before the final creation. With each presentation, we understand the stories imagined around this excerpt, without a single word being spoken. The groups then go back to work before presenting their project to all of the participants of that day’s musical workshop. The projects are tweaked in order to polish and perfect the mini-performances.

3:30 – Time for the Final Creations!

Before an audience of eager children and adults, the magic comes to life! The participants’ expressiveness and their spatial representation of the stories create meaning, and receive a round of applause from the moved audience.

The musical workshops are offered as part of Passerelles’s outreach program to raise awareness about opera.
Discover below some photos of these workshops organized in June 2019.