Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

Poster courtesy of Festival Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

The Festival Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo, created in 1970 at the instigation of Princess Grace of Monaco, has been presided over by HRH the Princess of Hanover since 1984. This year, as in those past, a wide range of performances and artists is represented, giving many lovers of the arts some splendid entertainment. The Artistic Director of the Festival is Bruno Mantovani.

The Festival starts on 13th March with a concert in the Église Saint-Charles by saxophonist Sandro Compagnon and the Ensemble Gilles Binchois, performing a programme of contemporary and 15th century music. There’s a programme of works by Gustav Mahler, featuring a chamber version of his Song of the Earth – this one played by Het Collective, led by mezzo-soprano Lucile Richardot and tenor Stefan Cifolelli. There are two recitals by Quatuor Modigliani, performing the music of Schubert and Mendelssohn, and two performances by the Insula Orchestra, conducted by Laurence Equilbey, with music by Schubert and Mozart.

Ensemble TM+, with mezzo-soprano Pauline Sikirdji and tenor Benjamin Alunni, led by composer and music director Laurent Cuniot, plays one of his compositions, and the list of performances also includes one of Baroque pieces by Ensemble Unisoni with soprano Marion Tassou and flautist Gwénaël Bihan. Quatuor Parisii performs an inviting Concert by Candlelight, featuring violinists Arnaud Vallin and Florent Brannens, violist Dominique Lobet and cellist Jean-Philippe Martignoni.

An interesting evening features a Chamber Opera by Sophie Lacaze titled The Boundless Stuff of Dreams. This co-production by Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, with Clermont Auvergne Opéra and the Belgian Festival Ars Musica, is a world premiere, led by Bruno Mantovani with mezzo-soprano Els Janssens, tenor Xavier de Lignerolles and baritone Romain Dayez.

Of the non-musical offerings is a film called The Salt of the Earth, on the life and work of photographer Sebastião Salgado, who has spent forty years documenting societies in hidden corners of the world.

The fun part of the Festival this year is a family concert given by The Amazing Keystone Big Band featuring the “Jazz” Carnival of Animals. This is an adaptation of the Camille Saint-Saëns work by Bastien Ballaz, Jon Boutellier, Fred Nardin and David Enhco.

The major concerts of the Festival include an evening of music by Richard Strauss – featuring his Four Last Songs – by soprano Ruzan Mantashyan, with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Fabien Gabel. In another concert by the Philharmonic, Music Director Kazuki Yamada leads the Orchestra in Music for violin and orchestra, Op. 4, by Rudi Stephan, with violinist David Lefèvre, followed by Mahler’s Song of the Earth, featuring soloists Marie-Nicole Lemieux, contralto, and tenor Pene Pati.

The closing work of the Festival is Opera Night, a co-production of Opéra de Monte-Carlo and Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo. Their Master’s Voice is billed as a “duel of genres”, in which mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and actor John Malkovich are accompanied by Les Musiciens du Prince – Monaco.

The Festival Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo takes place in a variety of venues between 13th March and 7th April. For further information, including details of ticketing, visit the Monte-Carlo Opera website.

Information sourced from Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo programme notes

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