Committed to making art and culture accessible to the many, and convinced that the future of opera is in the making today, Festival d’Aix set up the Passerelles educational and socio-artistic services in 2007 and 2008. Their actions aim to include a wide variety of audiences in the life of the Festival, and invite them to experience the opera.
In 2017, the educational and socio-artistic services involved over 5,800 participants in their projects, in connection with teams from over 200 schools, universities, associations and social institutions in the region.The momentum injected by Passerelles brings in its wake the entire Festival and thus fulfils its desire to actively contribute to the region’s cultural development.
2018 in numbers
4,920 participants to the awrareness actions (whose 454 Opéra ON members)
98 associations and social institutions
5,267 spectators invited during rehearsals or performances
1,517 amateur participants to the Orfeo & Majnun project
42 pedagogue artists acted over 51 towns from the region, from December to July
Throughout the year, Passerelles was deeply involved at the heart of the Orfeo & Majnun project and its participative dimension. This major European artistic and participatory project was composed of a great festive urban procession on the 24 June followed by a free outdoor opera on 8 July. Here are some kind of actions developed by Passerelles for thisp project:
- Regular awareness and artistic practice workshops near a large audience from each social-background
- More than 1,500 amateur participants from the Passerelles’ public were involved in this project of which more than 1,200 people for the urban procession and almost 200 amateur choristers to make up the opera chorus. The Ibn Zaydoun Chorus, conducted by Moneim Adwan (the composer of the Arabian part of the libretto of Orfeo & Majnun) also joined the chorus of the opera.
- A training session by the artist Roger Titley to accompany twenty students and social mediators in the creation and the actioning of the creatures in preparation for the urban procession.
- A musical itinerary on the 14th February in order to participate in the Opening of MP 2018 – Quel Amour! (Orfeo & Majnun has been part of MP2018). An afternoon with many surprises – as the arrival of the Work Songs Chorus directed by the Company Rara Woulib – followed by the concert of the Ibn Zaydoun Chorus. This event has been closed with Lettres Intimes, a concert with the Béla quartet bringing together nearly 150 young amateur musicians from the musical conservatories of Aubagne, Pertuis and Vitrolles around an intercultural musical repertoire between the east and the west.
- The participation of the Grande Fanfare directed by Raphaël Imbert and the Work Songs into the urban procession in Arles on Sunday 8 April in the frame of MP2018 on the theme of Orfeo & Majnun.
To go back over the extraordinary odyssey of this creation at the Festival d’Aix in association with the European coproducers, go to orfeoandmajnun.eu.
- Opera trail to discover the works and explore the themes of the 2018 programme through different creative workshops, thematic days, meetings with artists before assisting to an opera’s rehearsal.
- Open days on the subject of professions in the live entertainment sector for targeted audiences: more than 300 participants - young apprentices, youth and adults in vocational integration – were able to discover a range of professions related to the performing arts.
- Voice Journey with associations and schools for participative workshops around the voice in Opera, on 23 May 2018.
- Awareness workshop dedicated to the musical creation around Seven Stones led by the composer Loïc Guénin with the class of 3ème from the Collège-Saint-Europe in Aix-en-Provence, a professional highshool from Salon de Provence, the Centre de Peines Aménagées, Centre de Peines Aménagées de Luynes and the Centre Communal d’Actions Sociales in Aix-en-Provence, on 18 May.
- Private viewing Des regards et des mots sur les murs de ma ville at the multimedia library of Gardanne on the theme Didon et Énée, on 3 July 2018. A project led by Vincent Beaume with the classes of 4e from the highschool Gabriel Péri in Gardanne.
- Les Nouvelles Antigones: musical creation components based on music, writing and blogging workshops and meetings with artists from several Mediterranean countries. The project has risen to a creative performance, la Nuit d’Antigone, within the framework of Aix en Juin on 9th June 2018 at the Aix-en-Provence Conservatory, in which the Ibn Zaydoun Choir has also participated. This project, which was initiated in 2015 and involved the Sublimes Portes collective, was the subject of a partnership in 2017 with IEP Aix and Seconde Nature.
- Festival Choral Académique 2017: within the framework of a partnership with the Rectorate which began in 2015, a choir made up of secondary school and college choirs from the Aix-Marseille Academy, directed by Philippe Franceschi, joined the artistic project of cello player Sonia Wieder-Atherton, titled Les Odyssées. To rediscover the 2015 edition of Festival Choral Académique, read this article on our blog.
- Work Songs: multi-cultural choir project in connection with the Rara Woulib Company, under the musical direction of Alexandra Satger and the stage direction of Julien Marchaisseau, involving 90 amateurs exploring a repertoire of Work Songs via 16 workshops. Two cinema-concert nights took place in partnership with Alhambra cinema; one on 5th May in their projection room, and one on 11th July in the open air at Cité de la Savine with the Sound Musical School association.
- It’s our turn!: during this event, organised by the Rara Woulib Company for CD13 during the Dimanche de la Canebière event on 25th June 2017, the Work Song Choir put on a festive parade on the Canebière, and around 150 young amateur musicians from school orchestras and the Bouches-du-Rhône Conservatories performed a festive Jam session led by saxophonist and jazzman Raphaël Imbert.
- Concerts by the Ibn Zaydoun multi-cultural choir in different cultural venues and charity events in the Aix-Marseille basin.
- Making Op' educational show (created by baritone Guillaume Paire and vocal coach Nicolas Royez) and the lecture concert of the 2017 programme created by soprano Blerta Zhegu and pianist Frédéric Isoletta were presented in schools and cultural structures and associations in the Aix-Marseille region.
- Music in the city: three events organised in social housing neighbourhoods, offering festive and musical events in Roque d'Anthéron and the north of Marseille.
- Opera Discovery Days with Maison de Quartier la Mareschale and the social and cultural centre of Château de l'Horloge in the Encagnane and Jas-de-Bouffan districts in Aix-en-Provence.
- Outreach programmes tailored around each specific opera performed in the Festival d’Aix 2016, including:
- Fleeting image and self-image, a photographic approach to Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno
- Graphic storytelling workshops and musical events around Kalîla wa Dimna
- Workshops on narrative, voice and audiovisual creation around Così fan tutte
- New educational performance about opera
- Jas de Bouffan music walk: a major musical and festive event on 4 June 2016 in the Jas-de-Bouffan quarter (Fondation Vasarely, Gilbert Vilers park, Bois de l'Aune Theater) gathering school orchestras and adult amateurs chorus
- Cover of Arscénic, an educational and participative performance created by Sybille Wilson
- Concerts by the Ibn Zaydoun Choir
- Concert and creative residency with OJM and Medinea musicians : Musique à la Savine, ephemeral Chorus
The Monster in the Maze
In 2014-2015, these workshops were more particularly structured around a landmark project: the French creation of The Monster in the Maze, performed at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence on July 8 and 9, 2015.
The opera brang into play more than 300 singers (primary and secondary school children and adults) from local amateur choirs, who had been rehearsing since the beginning of the year to prepare for the performances given on the 8th and 9th of July at the Grand Théâtre de Provence. Thanks to its roots in the region, the close relations forged over the years with local education and social stakeholders and its experience in mediation with varied communities, the Passerelles (Bridges) programme has played an active role in this initiative, which success was consequential.
Born from the common desire of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and the Berliner Philharmoniker, this project has lead to the creation of an online interactive platform, with support from the Creative Europe program of the European Union. Focussed on the creative process of the show, this platform offers to go behind the scenes ofThe Monster in the Maze, over the rehearsals and the performances in Aix, London and Berlin.
The European Culture and Education Symposium also focused on this uncommon experience, to tackle the theme: "Associating professional and amateur artists in European creative project".