Festival d'Aix en Provence
For 2014, the Festival d'Aix will feature three operas, including Mozart's The Magic Flute, directed by Simon McBurney and conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado at the Grand Théâtre de Provence. The second is Handel's opera seria Ariodante which has cast Sara Connolly, Patricia Petibon, Sandrine Piau, Sonia Prina and Bernard Richter whilst Richard Jones directs and Andrea Marcon conducts. The final will be Gioachino Rossini's opera buffa Il Turco in Italia, directed by Christopher Alden with the Musiciens du Louvre being conducted by Marc Minkowski. These two latter productions will be staged at the Archbishop's Palace.
The line-up will also include two smaller-scale "musical spectacles", featuring multi-media visualisations to accompany vocals. The first is Schubert's Lieder cycle Die Winterreise, directed by the South African artist William Kentridge. The second production will be Trauernacht, a Bach cantata staged by Britain's Katie Mitchell and performed by conductor Raphaël Pichon as well as the singers and musicians of the Académie Européenne de Musique. Additionally, having completed its three-year residency, the London Symphony Orchestra will be replaced by the Freiburger Barockorchester this year.
Among other highlights, the World Orchestra for Peace will perform to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War with tributes to Patrice Chéreau, who died last year shortly after directing a highly acclaimed production of Richard Strauss' Elektra at the 2013 Festival. Furthermore, educational and youth programmes will also be offered with the opportunity to obtain ‘Le PASS’ which allows free access to almost 50 events for anyone under the age of 30 and may be bought for just €15 for those over 30 years of age. If visiting in June, the city also holds Aix en Juin, which offers a programme of some two dozen concerts and master classes. Aimed at locals but open to everyone, many of these are either free, or free if you buy Le PASS.
In July the Festival d'Aix takes over almost the whole city, forming a quartet of midsummer arts festivals in Provence alongside the Festival d'Avignon (theatre), the a-part Festival of Contemporary Art in the Alpilles, a relative newcomer, and the Rencontres d'Arles (photography). Whilst the Archbishop's Palace remains the flagship venue for the Festival d'Aix, the festivities take place in many other locations from the Théâtre de Provence, the Théâtre du Jeu de Paume and the Hôtel Maynier d'Oppède, to the place des Quatre Dauphins in the Mazarin Quarter and even the Cours Mirabeau. The aesthetics and variety of settings on offer are some of the Festival's most compelling attractions and the cosy layout of the inner city lends a beautiful intimacy to the event.
Tickets may be booked online or by phone for international guests and may purchase tickets in person at the box-office at the Archevêché. Several special packages such as a three-show deal and a free child's ticket for accompanying adults at certain shows are also available. The 2015 Aix Easter Festival will take place from 30 March to 12 April and the full programme will be announced on 20 October. For more information, please visit http://www.festival-aix.com/en