For over 70 years the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence has not ceased renewing itself artistically, enriching its international reputation and deepening its anchorage in the region it proudly serves. A Festival devoted to creating opera productions and staging concerts of the highest quality, characterized by a true vocation for taking risks, collaborating with cutting edge directors, visionary conductors – mostly working with their own orchestras – fine casts and the greatest composers, the Festival d’Aix is a precious planet in the firmament of the international performing arts.
I am proud to be part of starting in 2019 a new chapter in the Festival’s distinguished history, articulating a vision that builds on the achievements of my predecessors especially in affirming the relevance of opera and music of the last 400 years through its perpetual evolution, to our modern, increasingly dissipated, world.
The International Festival which takes place in July is preceded by a pre-festival – Aix en juin dedicated to the local community. Both programs will feature in 2019 new initiatives and a host of international artists, operas and composers new to the Festival. All the operas and concerts have emerged from discussing with the artists what they most want to express at this moment in the context of such a festival; conductors and directors, composers and librettists have chosen to work with each other to create this very special edition characterised by its contemporary momentum.
The 2019 program has consequently a very special character. If there was a theme we could extract from the overall musical and theatrical offerings I would summarise it as "Death sublimated is a celebration of Life". It is music that takes care of reconciling us with the anxiety provoked by our mortality, and music that rises above political and social issues to help us conjure compassion when madness of every kind seems to prevail and hope seems totally beyond reach. By celebrating life we are embracing the future and reflecting on our role in shaping that future.
The means to express such themes are multiple and a festival is above all a beautiful chance for audiences to discover major artists, promising or experienced, engage us with their visions and questioning and consequently, enriching our acquired ideas on music theatre and the topics that have inspired them in their role as interpreters or original authors.
Next to the six productions on offer, the Festival will present for the first time a structured program of large scale symphonic concerts as well as chamber music that connect with the opera offerings and invite visitors to make concerts and operas indissociable in experiencing the Festival. A new series entitled Incises – in homage to the composer and conductor Pierre Boulez who contributed memorably to several editions over the last twenty years – will highlight a special accent on contemporary music and featured living composers.
During Aix en juin, an initiative entitled Opéra de-ci de-là will see young teams create fifteen minute operas in unusual locations, while this year the traditional Parade[s] concert on cours Mirabeau marks with an all-Puccini concert the introduction of this great opera composerto the Festival repertoire with his iconic Tosca.
The Festival is proud of the richness of its output which would never be possible without the passionate support of many bodies and individuals who understand what we do and cherish its continuity. I am deeply endebted to their generosity and their trust.
Our audience constitutes the fourth wall which both triggers the Dream and gives it its meaning. Thank you for joining us on another journey of discovery and contemplation.