Thursday, August 13, 2020

In La Roque d’Anthéron, music as an antidote to the coronavirus

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Funny fortieth birthday! This 1is August evening, René Martin, artistic director of the La Roque d’Anthéron International Piano Festival (colloquially called “La Roque”) has the smile of one who has been granted by fate. In the spring, while the cancellations of festivals are raining down as it is around him, the founder of La Folle Journée de Nantes has no doubts: if only one remains, it will be him. “La Roque is an outdoor festival, he argues which means that we had a chance to keep it. “

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With the president of the festival, Jean-Pierre Onoratini, son of the co-founder, the late Paul Onoratini (1920-2010), determined to win the battle, the team develops strategies according to the announcements of health measures. Financial forecasts for a gauge of one hundred, two hundred, then 600 seats as this opening night at the auditorium of the Parc de Florans, a place which usually has 2,000. Of course, the festival, which had to completely rethink its programming will not reach its 2 million euros ticketing this year: “We will be at 40%, around 800,000 euros”, notes René Martin, but the festival was assured of the maintenance of subsidies from the Department, our main partner, the Region and the Metropolis, no less than the Town hall and the State. »

60 concerts until August 21

The largest private French producer of classical music concerts (some 1,000 per year – in addition to La Roque d’Anthéron and La Folle Journée, widely available abroad, the Nantes resident is also director of the Fêtes musicales at La Grange de Meslay, of the Festival d’art sacré de Guérande, among others -, had no trouble finding artists for the 60 concerts held until August 21, after the start of the festival was postponed from July 26 to the beginning of the month. August. “I wrote to all the artists to get an agreement in principle, he says. The musicians should be able to come by car to La Roque, even if it means sending them one. No more foreign pianists from Russia, Asian countries or the United States. Brazilian pianist Nelson Goerner, who lives in Geneva, Russian Arcadi Volodos, Barcelona, ​​immediately said yes. As for our talented French musicians, I only continued to put them forward, as I always have. “

All have agreed to play for a fee in relation to the reality of the gauge, roughly to a third of their usual emoluments. “They are in a way co-producing their return to musical life, admits René Martin, proud to bring together artistic goodwill and a plebiscite from a public who booked en masse as soon as the ticket office opened on June 26.

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