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Batch. The 25th Rencontres Musicales de Figeac to Egyptian tunes

The 25th Rencontres Musicales de Figeac will take place from August 6 to 20, 2022. Olivier Pons, artistic director, presents this 2022 edition (© Figeac Musical Encounters)

Olivier Pons, artistic director of the Figeac Musical Encounterslooks back on this 2022 edition and its special moments, which takes place from August 6 to 20, 2022.

News: How is this 25th opus presented?

Olivier Pons: This year is a “Eureka!” year. Champollion” in Figeac. If the link between Egyptology and classical music is not necessarily obvious at the start, we will still have an evocation of the musical cultural landscape of 1822. It is also a particularly rich period. We are in the last years of Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn… Between the works written in 1822 and the composers born in 1822, there are a lot of things. There are references to ancient Egypt in classical music, with an aria from “Cleopatra” in an opera by Handel (which will be sung), an aria from “The Magic Flute” on Isis and Osiris… Rencontres Musicales de Figeac, this occasion of Eurêka makes it possible to affirm in particular the resolutely local roots of the Festival.

What are the evenings not to be missed?

Olivier Pons: In the memorable evenings, we have the arrival of the Quatuor Éclisses, a very well-known guitar quartet, with a worldwide career. With them, we are going to do an adaptation of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, mandolin atmosphere at the church of Le Puy in Figeac (August 8). This tune is always a hit. Add to that a guitar quartet adaptation and the screen projection of the text “Les Quatre Saisons” written by Vivaldi, it works very well on the public side. There is Haydn’s “Messe Nelson”, written during Napoleon I’s Egyptian campaign, which led to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. It is played in two concerts at the abbey of Loc-Dieu, near Villefranche-de-Rouergue (August 13), and at the Saint-Sauveur church in Figeac (August 14). We have a very original evening with cello, guitar, and poetry, at the opening of the festival, at the Château de Larroque-Toirac (August 7), with, among others, a poem by Victor Hugo called “Egypt”.

A Festival echoing Eureka?

Olivier Pons: In fact, practically in all the concerts, there is a reference to Eureka. In this context, it seemed interesting to me to highlight great discoveries, inventions, which had been a strong engine of evolution from a cultural and scientific point of view. And for Western music, the invention of polyphony is the keystone. It didn’t all happen in a day! But we are going to bring polyphony to life in front of the public, in the space of twenty minutes by the festival choir, by having the oldest known musical writings interpreted (which go back to ancient Greece), then medieval music, to end with Bach’s choirs (which are the grammar of polyphony). We do that at the church of Cajarc (August 11).

The backstage of the festival is revealed?

Olivier Pons: Absolutely. At the Hôtel du Viguier du Roy in Figeac (August 12), I am going to lead a conference for the first time. At festivals, music lovers ask me the question “How do you manage to memorize that? At what age did you start? How long do you work?…” I have created a conference where I will really show behind the scenes, what goes on in the head of a violinist who plays a concert, how he works,… This is the underside of the cards. And for people who love music, it’s something they’re passionate about. It gives them another light.

What else on the program?

Olivier Pons: The Festival returns for a concert at the Château de Saint-Dau (August 15). We give a violin recital in reference to the opera Carmen, and see how this idea came about, to make a great lyrical work with Spanish folk music and castanets. At the church of Faycelles (August 18), there is a show on the poetic universe of Debussy’s “Preludes”, in a very French aesthetic, which is very little quoted elsewhere. Let’s also not forget the “Best of” concert at the church of Le Puy (August 19), where we find the best pieces of this festival chosen by the public.

What are the appointments in addition to the concerts?

Olivier Pons: There are Masterclasses. This year there will be around a hundred musicians, choristers, staying in Figeac for a fortnight. What is unique about this festival is that it is accessible to everyone. We try to find a course that benefits all ages, levels of musical practice. Building synergy with everyone there is complicated. But humanly speaking, it’s a thousand times richer to be able to bring them all together in Figeac, where you can enjoy a good quality of life. It is part of the tacit contract made with the trainees, the participants, and the public.

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Interview by SÉBASTIEN CASSES

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