The Vocal Residency, an emblematic programme of the Académie du Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, is a residency for vocal improvement in various repertoires, and offers concrete tools for professional development. This year it will be hosting 11 singers and 3 pianist–singing coaches.
Over the nearly three-week-long residency in the heart of the Festival, these 10 singers and 3 pianist–singing coaches will enjoy work sessions with Darrell Babidge (chair of the voice faculty at The Julliard School in New York), Adam Nielsen (pianist–singing coach and associate artistic director for Master of Music and Graduate Diploma at The Julliard School) and Thomas Hengelbrock (director of the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Orchestra). They will also have the opportunity to perform for Festival audiences and industry professionals, while also enriching their professional knowledge and experience thanks to Festival’s outreach activities and to the various productions they will be invited to attend. The residency will be punctuated by three concerts, including Parade[s], the Festival's large free concert during Aix en Juin. At this iconic event on the eve of the opening of the75th Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the residents will be accompanied by the Balthasar Neumann Orchestra under the baton of Thomas Hengelbrock; they will thus benefit from a unique showcasing of their talents and from unparalleled exposure.
The residents will perform in the following three concerts:
- A Repertoire of Great Opera Arias, 16 June, at the Hôtel Maynier d’Oppède, at 9 p.m.
- A Repertoire of American Music, June 22, at the Hôtel Maynier d’Oppède, at 9 p.m.
- Parade[s], the Festival’s large, free concert for Aix en Juin, 29 June, on the Cours Mirabeau, at 9:45 p.m.
Launched in July 2022, the open call for the Vocal Residency attracted 253 applications from 42 different nationalities. After a pre-selection process conducted jointly by managing members of the Académie and Darrell Babidge (mentor of the residency), 55 applicants were selected and invited to audition in New York (24 applicants, in September 2022) and Paris (31 applicants, in November 2022). The selection committee was looking for a balance in the diversity of voices, in order to offer a rich repertoire and an experience worthy of the individual artists during the residency. They also selected artists with strong personalities, for whom the Académie will serve as a veritable springboard towards a future on the international stage.
For the pianists–singing coaches, there was a painstaking recruitment process that focused on a number of complementary skills: genuine expertise on the piano; knowledge of the vocal operatic repertoire; a sensitivity for singing and vocal technique; and a great capacity for listening, supporting others and sight-reading.
The ENGIE Foundation has made a two-year commitment to join the Festival in support of the Académie. Opening access to culture for all, fostering integration, and supporting young new talent have been among the ENGIE Foundation’s core values for over 30 years. This partnership with the Festival d’Aix reflects the Foundation’s desire to be actively involved at a local level and to ensure everyone has a fair chance.
For the 2023 Vocal Residency, the following artists have been selected:
Amanda Batista (Cuba, Puerto-Rico, United States)
Sandra Hamaoui (France, United States)
Hedvig Haugerud (Norway)
Seonwoo Lee (South Korea)
Eugénie Joneau (France)
Niamh O’Sullivan (Ireland)
Jonah Hoskins (United States)
Luis Anthony León (Cuba, Colombia, United States)
Andres Benavides Cascante (Costa Rica)
Mark Kurmanbayev (Serbia)
Qiaochu Li (China)
Nils Rousson (France)
Moeka Ueno (Japan)
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