Since 2007, the educational department has offered its partners a variety of initiatives to give them insight into the Opera genre, help them discover the Opera Machine, and allow them to appropriate the productions and creations of the Festival d’Aix programme. Aware of the diversity of the publics participating in this action, the educational service implements diverse awareness-raising courses that are adapted to the ages, contexts and sensibilities of these publics. The courses are created in tandem with the pedagogical team and take into account the organisation’s or establishment’s educational, cultural and social project.
Each course begins with a training session for the instructors during the month of December, and utilises online resources, teaching kits and digital applications created by the educational and artistic teams of the Festival d’Aix. The courses focus on collective artistic practice, thanks to workshops offered by multidisciplinary project ambassadors and artists, all partners of Passerelles.
In partnership with the artistic and technical departments, Passerelles organise numerous meetings and conversations with all Festival d’Aix stakeholders, from the artists (through the “Rencontres en Musique” musical workshops and the “Outreach Skills” sessions) to the technical and occasional workers from the set construction workshops, the costume production workshops and the theatre sets of productions. In parallel to these initiatives, the educational department regularly offers teachers and primary-school, secondary-school and university students the opportunity to actively participate in the creation of a work that is then presented before an audience as part of the Aix en Juin programme. The initiatives of the educational department are implemented throughout the region, and have helped strengthen the Festival d’Aix’s roots in this region for over 10 years.
The awareness-raising initiatives are a part of the cultural initiatives of the Académie d’Aix-Marseille and the Académie de Nice. They are conducted in partnership with the Conseil Départmental 13 (for secondary schools) and the Région Sud for students in technical and vocational training.
The introductory courses on offer in the Passerelles (Gateway) project are educational and cultural programmes based around the Festival programme, helping audiences to find out more about an opera final rehearsal beforehand. The courses include a range of modules developed in close collaboration with teachers and featuring regular encounters over the school year. They provide an introduction to opera and live performance, while helping to create the conditions for a unique interaction with the Festival teams. The education department organises courses in primary and secondary schools in the Aix-Marseille and the Nice education authority areas.
Designed along the same lines as the awareness-raising course and with the support of the Regional Council, the professional course is aimed at students in technical and vocational training and highlights the professions and skills involved in the performance arts and opera. The course includes talks by professionals and visits behind the scenes to help students explore the new fields of application for the skills they learn at school, helping to broaden their vision of the world of work. The project also features thematic approaches introducing one of the productions in the 2021 programme.
The Introductory Course is a general course that introduces the main principles of opera and helps participants discover the multiple facets of the genre (voice, instruments, stage, set, costumes, etc.) in a playful and creative manner. It organises a series of key events dispersed throughout the schoolyear: visits to the set construction and the costume production workshops, in-class artistic workshops, and meetings with artists. So that the class remains appropriate for the age and scholastic level of its participants, the students do not have access to programmed operas due of the dramatic content of the mises-en-scène. They do benefit, however, from a privileged access to discussions with the artists and to educational performances to complete their coursework.
*ULIS (Unité localisée pour l'inclusion scolaire)
*SEGPA (Sections d'Enseignement Général et Professionnel Adapté)
These initiatives are carried on into higher education. The Festival d’Aix is partners with Aix-Marseille University (AMU) and proposes several initiatives aimed at students from different campuses and to teachers:
In partnership with Aix-Marseille University, the Festival d’Aix proposes a series of vocal workshops. Since January 2018, these workshops have been directed by Tania Zolty, an opera singer who has worked frequently with the Passerelles department of the Festival d’Aix. Structured like a thematic journey through vocal pieces of all styles, these playful workshops teach participants how to position themselves in space, find their own voice, and better express themselves, both on stage and in day-to-day life. The resumption of workshops in 2021 has yet to be confirmed.
Aix-Marseille University and the Festival d’Aix have partnered to create EV’AMU, a vocal ensemble open to AMU students and staff. Conducted by Philippe Franceschi, this vocal ensemble helps members who already have musical and vocal experience to attain a good amateur level of skill. By joining forces, AMU and the Festival d'Aix aim to ensure that EV'AMU’s musical quality continues to progress and that their artistic ambitions flourish.
The Festival d’Aix regularly entrusts young artists with the creation of short-form pedagogical productions. To be considered, the proposed creation must be mobile, accessible, flexible and interactive. In 2021, the mezzo-soprano Sarah Théry and the percussionist Étienne Fauré will be offering Vibrations, a 45-minute participatory work structured around opera songs, for young audiences and families. Produced last October 2020 at Momaix Festival in Aix-en-Provence, it will be performed in the region in 2021 in different partner structures.
Accents Balkans is a two-step musical journey between repertoire and creation. The project includes the transmission of traditional songs (Bulgarian, Greek and Romanian) and, a creation for voice and orchestra (Le Chant de Veles) by the Serbian composer Jug Marković and inspired by the traditional music of the Balkans.
Under the musical direction of Philippe Franceschi and Sébastien Boin, the project involves over 150 amateur choristers from middle schools and high schools: Collège Château Double (Aix-en-Provence), Collège Saint Eutrope (Aix-en-Provence), Leï Garrus (Saint-Maximin- la-Sainte-Baume), Lou Garlaban (Aubagne), Longchamp (Marseille), Vauvenargues (Aix-en-Provence); and music conservatories in Marignane and Marseille; la Cité de la Musique (Marseille), l'Atelier du Beaucet (Marseille), the amateur vocal group of the Aix-Marseille University (EV’AMU), INSPE chorus from Aix-en-Provence and Avignon, musicians from the Aix-Marseille University symphony orchestra (OSAMU), and the AKSAK instrumental quintet**
Accents Balkans is the result of a project by the Serbian composer Jug K. Marković—a member of the enoa network—and commissioned by the educational department of the Festival d’Aix.
Accents Balkans is a project in partnership with the ministère de l’Éducation nationale et de la Jeunesse, rectorats des Académies d'Aix-Marseille et de Nice, Aix-Marseille University.
With the support of the ministère de l’Éducation nationale et de la Jeunesse, de la DRAC PACA et d'Aix-Marseille Université.
In 2020, Accents Balkans was supported by réseau Canopé, ministère de l'Éducation nationale et de la Jeunesse, SACEM and Copie privée.
**Aksak quintet: Philippe Franceschi – Clarinet et Bratsch (viola) ; Isabelle Courroy – Kavals ; Lionel Romieu – Mandole et Bulgarian Tambura ; Patrice Gabet – Violin ; Christiane Ildevert – Doublebass / Bendir
The European Culture and Education Symposiums have been organised every summer since 2009 for participants from the social sector, non-profit organisations and the world of education, in partnership with RESEO (European network for dance and opera education) and AFO (Association française des orchestres).
Round-table sessions, discussions, exchange of views, presentation of projects and approaches – these meetings highlight not only the diversity and inventiveness of the different players but also the complexity of the environment.
The themes tackled since 2009 reflect topical European themes: