Five Major Opera Productions Featuring the World Premiere of Phillippe Boesmans' Opera Pinocchio
New Festival Productions of Bizet's Carmen, Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, Mozart's Don Giovanni, and Cavalli's Erismena
Concert Version of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin with the Artists of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia
Singers Paul Appleby, Francesca Aspromonte, Julie Boulianne, Chloé Briot, Julia Bullock, Eleonora Buratto, Stéphane Degout, Elsa Dreisig, Michael Fabiano, Julie Fuchs, Igor Golovatenko, Kyle Ketelsen, Isabel Leonard, Marie-Eve Munger, Anna Nechaeva, Stéphanie d'Oustrac, Philippe Sly, Nahuel di Pierro, Carlo Vistoli, and Andrew Watts
Conductors Leonardo Garcia Alarcón, Fabrizio Cassol, Daniel Harding, Pablo Heras-Casado, Emilio Pomarico, Jérémie Rhorer, and Tugan Sokhiev
Directors Joël Pommerat, Dmitri Tcherniakov, Simon McBurney, Jean-François Sivadier, and Jean Bellorini
Under the leadership of General Manager Bernard Foccroulle, the 69th season of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence will present an exceptional collection of artists from around the globe in five major opera productions and 16 recital, chamber music and orchestral concerts from July 3 through 22, plus more than 60 events from the Académie du Festival d'Aix. World premiere highlights feature a fresh conception of the fairytale Pinocchio by Belgian composer Phillippe Boesmans, directed by playwright Joël Pommerat; and the live premiere of British electronic composer Matthew Herbert's Requiem with the Van Kuijk Quartet.
New productions this season include Stravinsky's The Rake’s Progress – embraced by the Festival's three-year Stravinsky Cycle – with conductor Daniel Harding leading the Orchestre de Paris and direction by Simon McBurney; Bizet's Carmen directed by award-winning Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov and conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado with the Orchestre de Paris; and Francesco Cavalli's seminal Venetian opera, the rarely-performed Erismena,conducted by Baroque music specialist Leonardo Garcia Alarcón. A new production of Mozart's perennial audience favorite Don Giovanni will also be presented, energized with a young cast guided by the dynamically theatrical vision of French director Jean-François Sivadier and Jérémie Rhorer conducting Le Cercle de l'Harmonie Orchestra.
Additional highlights in the season line-up will offer a concert version of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin with Tugan Sokhiev, music director and chief conductor of Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, leading the musicians of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia; Daniel Harding conducting the Orchestre de Paris in a performance of Stravinsky's Suites Nos. 1 and 2 for Small Orchestra, Schubert's Symphony No. 3 in D major and Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, and Concert of Creations, four premieres by four contemporary French composers - including the award-winning young artist Camille Pépin - commissioned by the Académie of the Festival d'Aix.
"The ideals of freedom and democracy that have been so closely aligned with the arts throughout history are being challenged in today's world," said General Manager Bernard Fouccroulle. "This season, the universal themes of Liberté – and its abuse – will permeate the operas of the 2017 Festival. Don Giovanni flaunts the most basic prohibitions of his time with his selfish womanizing while Carmen would rather die than relinquish her freedom. The Rake's Progress portrays a man who is betrayed by society's false values, and follows the devil to a loss of liberty in the madhouse. Cavalli's Eresmena illuminates the kind of imprisonment that may come from passion's fatal blindness. And in Pinocchio, we discover how the puppet, unable to control his impulses, learns he can only truly be free by taking charge of his own destiny. I am eager to share the global importance of artistic and personal freedom with music-lovers around the world this summer, and reflect on the undeniable relevance of those values to modern times."
At L'Académie du Festival d'Aix, an extension of the Festival that serves as a center for training, teaching and professional experience there will be multiple residencies including one on Venetian opera and one on contemporary repertoire and creation inspired by the Festival's productions of Pinocchio and Erismena, as well as those on Mozart and chamber music. The Academy will also offer performances, masterclasses, and workshops as part of its training programs for young musicians. Among the key artists leading this season's residencies and masterclasses are conductors Leonardo Garcia Alarcón and Pablo Heras-Casado; composer Ondřej Adámek; string instrumentalistsAndras Keller, Tabea Zimmermann and David Alberman, saxophonist Fabrizio Cassol; vocal professor Susanna Eken and pianist/coach Jeff Cohen; musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra; and theater director Katie Mitchell.
Festival d'Aix-en-Provence has become a leader in the world of opera since it was founded in 1948. Its broad range of events are presented in and around the charming Provençal city of Aix on stages that range from extraordinary historic venues to a 21st-century state-of-the-art music auditorium and an open-air theater. For nearly 70 years, the Festival has remained steadfast in its mission to present freshly imagined productions of operatic classics, to champion the creation of new works by contemporary composers, and to return rarely-heard masterpieces to contemporary audiences.