Les Azuriales Opera
Cap Ferrat on the Côte d'Azur is the setting over two weeks each August for the intensely atmospheric Les Azuriales opera festival, founded in 1997. In 2012 there is a renewed focus on raising funding for, and promoting and showcasing, up and coming opera singers. The traditional opera festival has therefore been curtailed to a smaller number of fund-raising performances.
It is a relatively intimate experience, with each of the evening performances - held in the round in the colonnaded and covered courtyard of the Belle Epoque Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - open to only 200 guests. Even guests in the back row are closer to the performers than the conductor is in an opera house.
Operas are sung in their original language, with English and French surtitles, and most performances are accompanied by just a piano rather than an orchestra.
After some performances, the artists join the audience for an al fresco late dinner in the gardens. The villa, with its staggering bay and sea views, was in fact conceived by Beatrice de Rothschild as a setting for small-scale 18th-century musical soirées rather than as a home.