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Orfeo & Majnun is a European participatory project born of the connection and dialogue between two founding myths of western and eastern civilisations: Orpheus and Eurydice and Layla and Majnun. These two love stories, characterised by grief and the loss of a loved one, reflect each other and have universal resonance.
The opera, created from the connection of these two legends, thus celebrates the power of music, able to transcend absence, defy death and charm gods and wild beasts alike. Designed by artist Airan Berg, this project puts amateur participants at the centre of the creative process and is presented both as an urban trail and an opera, on Cours Mirabeau, respectively on 24 June and 8 July 2018.

  • Tous droits réservés
  • Tous droits réservés
  • Tous droits réservés
  • Tous droits réservés


Participation of amateurs of all ages and from every horizon is the basis of this project: the opportunity for Passerelles and all of its partners to showcase ten years of experience and cultural action taken all over the country.

The urban trail, in a festive spirit and open to everyone, has been dreamed up and nourished throughout the year based on proposals from partner groups (schools, associations, etc.), with the participation and/or support of the artistic and educational contributors associated with Passerelles.

Like a prologue to the opera, this trail will highlight a diversity of artistic expressions and contributions supported by the partners of Passerelles, like echoes and extensions of the themes of these two universal legends. Theatre, music, choreography and visual installations will be created by amateur groups made up of young people and adults, accompanied in their inventiveness by story-telling artists.

Since December 2017, Passerelles has been setting up awareness-raising and practical art workshops with its partners and groups working on Orfeo & Majnun, in order to allow everyone to take ownership of the work and its subject areas, and to express themselves through their own artistic productions at this event.
Over the course of the trail and in the presence of the fantastic beasts of Robert Titley, which the public will be invited to build and manipulate on site with relay plastic artists and students trained by the artistic team, the public will also be able to discover short performances, workshops and musical moments orchestrated with the educational artists associated with Passerelles.

Saxophonist and jazzman Raphaël Imbert and singer Marion Rampal from the Nine Spirit Company, vocal coach Alexandra Satger and stage director Julien Marchaisseau from the Rara Woulib Company, will organise artistic residencies during the year with school orchestras and multi-cultural choirs. All of these artists, along with young amateur singers, dancers and musicians, will parade through the different spaces on Cours Mirabeau and perform the two legends to the rhythm of festive music with jazz, Mediterranean and Afro-American notes.


This choir will be made up of 150 local amateur choristers from every walk of life and from groups and/or structures connected to Passerelles (including the Ibn Zaydoun choir, amateur choirs from the Aix-Marseille area, choirs from local partner schools, universities and musical conservatories, etc.).
Choristers will interpret the opera choir based on a composition by Howard Moody, alongside soloists: Orpheus, Eurydice, Layla and Majnun. Rehearsals will start in January 2018 with vocal coach Philippe Franceschi and stage director Airan Berg, and will continue up until the public performance on 8 July 2018.


With support from the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme, Orfeo & Majnun is the result of collaboration between seven European partners: La Monnaie / De Munt (Belgium), Festival d’Aix (France), Valletta 2018 Foundation (Malta), Rotterdam Opera Days (Netherlands), Konzerthaus (Austria), Krakow International Festival (Poland) and Santa Maria de Feira (Portugal). It will be performed on 29th June 2018 at Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and will continue with a European tour, which will begin with Festival d’Aix and end in 2020 at Santa Maria da Feira.


The opera Orfeo & Majnun puts the Festival on the programme of Marseille-Provence 2018 – Quel Amour !, which is set to begin on 14th February 2018. MP2018 will propose many events on the subject of love, in connection with the region’s cultural institutions, but also with associations and the 1,300 schools in the département.
For this occasion, an educational case has been given to some partners, and duplicated and bolstered in a Web version on a dedicated site: “Orfeo & Majnun : Chantez l’amour !” based on an artistic proposal from Festival d’Aix.
On this site, the three composers of Orfeo et Majnun – Dick Van der Harst for the English part of the opera, Moneim Adwan for the Arabic part and Howard Moody for the part sung by the choirs – have written, for children, three short songs in French, Arabic and English, to give them an introduction to the opera.

To celebrate the opening of MP2018, on Wednesday 14 February 2018, Passerelles, with the Ballet Preljocaj, will invite children and adults to take part in a festive tour between the Mozart Esplanade and the Grand théâtre de Provence, with numerous musical, theatrical and choreographic surprises from artists and amateurs. It will end with the Lettres intimes concert by the Béla Quartet and the Tunisian quartet, Cadences, with students from the orchestras of Aubagne, Pertuis and Vitrolles conservatories. 
On Sunday 8 April 2018, for the Carnaval d’Arles, organised by Les Suds and under the artistic coordination of saxophonist and jazzman Raphaël Imbert, the school orchestras from the region and the Work Songs Choir will join the cortège, once again on the themes of Orfeo & Majnun.

Orfeo & Majnun is supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme, the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller, the Eloise Susanna Gale Foundation, Chœur à l’ouvrage and La Fondation d'entreprise Total.

Follow the creative process of Orfeo & Majnun on its dedicated website  !