Sunday, April 18, 2010

Festival de Saint-Denis 2010 : June in the Parisian Suburb

Saint-Denis is known for its stunningly beautiful basilica. Its Royal Abbey used to be the place where the kings and queens of France were buried. If you get the opportunity to join a guided tour to visit the place, it is a fascinating experience on many accounts...

Nowadays Saint-Denis [one of the nearest northern Parisian suburbs] is more known for the fact that it host the Stade de France, but also for its nasty neighborhood [it is like a social laboratory of all the elements reflecting the French malaise today].

That admittedly weird but lively place also hosts a yearly [very-starry] Festival of classical music -- at the Basilica. You can consult  the program here. My selection includes:

  • Thu 3 & Fri 4: Schubert Mass conducted by Riccardo Muti with Luca Pisaroni and Topi Lehtipuu
  • Tue 8 & Wed 9: Renaud Capuçon and Hélène Grimaud will perform the sonatas by Ravel, Brahms and Schumann
  • Thu 10 & Fri 11: Requiem by Fauré with David Bizic and Karina Gauvin, conducted by Laurence Equilbey
  • Sun 13: David Fray and friends to perform the sonatas by Bach and Mozart + 1 Schubert four 4 hands 
  • Mon 14: Sandrine Piau and Ensemble Pulcinella for an all Handel evening
  • Tue 15: Violin + Piano == Michael Barenboim + Karim Saïd, in a program of modern clasical musics: Webern, Schoenberg, and Janacek
  • Sat 19: Daniele Gatti will conduct Orchestre National de France and Christiane Oelze, to perform the Symphony #4 by Mahler
  • Tue 22: Bel-Canto night with Donizetti's and Rossini's queens sung by Patrizia Ciofi and Laura Polverelli. Paolo Carignani will conduct the Orchestre National de France.
  • Wed 24 and Fri 25: Stabat Mater by Poulenc conducted by Alain Altinoglu and with Sophie Marin-Degor and Alison Balsom
  • Tue 29: Symphony #4 by Brahms with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Myung-Whun Chung and with Anja Harteros
  • Thu, July 1: Thamos, King of Egypt, a little known work by Mozart, must be the most interesting moment of the Festival with Le Cercle de l'Harmonie performing under baton of Jérémie Rohrer, and with Andreas Wolf singing the solo bass-part.

The acoustics at the basilica is quite awful unless you're ready to pay for a seat in one of several front rows. Otherwise it's a lottery: either you hear reasonably good but you don't see anything [side seats - not far!], or you can hear but it interferes with echo, or you don't hear well [cheap tics].


    1. Il n'y a pas que du bon dans ce que tu cites (Capuçon, enfin! et Muti, bien sûr), mais Piau est évidemment toujours formidable; quant au concert autour de Thamos, j'ai eu le plaisir et la chance de le voir dans une vraie salle de concert (à Metz), et c'était vraiment magnifique de bout en bout. Un choeur pareil! Il ne faut pas aller voir un opéra avec choeur à l'ONP juste après, ça peut traumatiser!

    2. Oui, mais Capuçon est avec Hélène Grimaud.

      Merci pour Thamos. Je n'ai évidemment aucune idée à quoi ça ressemble: espérons que ce sera une belle découverte [surtout si je suis bien placé, cad. là où on entend qqchose].