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In the Pyrenees, L’Offrande musicale wants to combine “the emotion of the concerts and the wonder of the landscapes”

The violinist Renaud Capuçon and the pianist David Fray in concert in the abbey of Saint-Savin, for the Musical Offering, in the Hautes-Pyrénées. Hautes-Pyrénées Tourist Office / Press Photo

INTERVIEW – For the second year, the Hautes-Pyrénées are hosting this itinerant classical music festival focused on the cause of disability created by the pianist David Fray and sponsored by the ex-“Nul” Dominique Farrugia.

It is the classic summer event in the Hautes-Pyrénées. Founded in 2021 by the pianist David Fray, a child of the country from Tarbes, the Musical Offering (1) is an itinerant festival on heritage sites and with the desire to “raise public awareness of the cause of disability“. His godfather this year is Dominique Farrugia, emblematic figure of the Dummies, producer, director and himself suffering from multiple sclerosis which he exposed in She never left meautobiographical story published in October 2021 (Robert Laffont-Versilio).

This 2nd edition, scheduled from June 29 to July 11, will take place on emblematic sites: the vineyards of Madiran, the Escaladieu abbey, intimate chapels or, at the foot of the mountains, the esplanade of the Sanctuary of Lourdes. . Among the headliners: the violinist Renaud Capuçon, the conductor Riccardo Muti or even the dancer John Neumeier and the Hamburg ballet… Jazz is not to be outdone.

The Escaladieu Abbey, in Bonnemazon, one of the festival sites. Alquier / Photo press

Accordionist Richard Galliano will open the festivities with a tribute concert to Astor Piazzolla at Château Montus, in Castelnau-Rivière-Basse, after a meeting in the first part of the evening with the writer Philippe Lançon, guest of honour. “He gave us a nice surprise with an unpublished newsThe Phantom Flute, which goes back and forth with the flap, beautiful testimony on the reconstruction written after the attack against Charlie Hebdo. It has a very strong symbolism on the festival that we created. Because art reconstructs, art relieves“, underlines the pianist. For “combine the emotion of concerts and the wonder of landscapes», the Boutique des Pyrénées offers thematic stays (2) as we rarely see with festivals. Tourism as a vehicle for a culture within everyone’s reach: to Le Figaro, David Fray explains his intention.

David Fray, pianist, founder of the L’Offrande musicale festival in the Hautes-Pyrénées Paolo Reversi Erato / Press Photo

LE FIGARO – You came to present your festival during a meeting of Pyrenean tourist offices. How is classical music a vehicle for tourism in the mountains?

David FRAY – We didn’t wait for the Musical Offering to know that tourism was linked to cultural events! A festival has a fundamental economic, societal and tourist interest. With the Musical Offering, we want to show that it is possible to find, in our plains and our mountains of the Hautes-Pyrénées, the same cultural events as in the capital. Thus, on July 2, we are going to offer a world premiere in Tarbes: the Water Music, written by Handel for George I’s naval procession on the Thames, will be performed as we celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, by Le Concert d’Astrée, with an immersive video installation by Antoine Wagner. It will be a journey along an imaginary river where the orchestra and the public will be immersed by three giant screens.

There are no concert halls, only heritage sites, churches, castles. How did you select them?

I was told that the Hautes-Pyrénées was a rural area, reluctant to listen to classical music. However, from the first edition in 2021, with a reduced gauge of course, we filled up. You have to dare to offer people what they may like, instead of presenting them with what they already like. An event like this enhances the territory and its inhabitants. The objective is twofold: to discover the rich heritage of the department. And then, find spaces capable of accommodating wheelchairs, which traditional rooms hardly have.

The Musical Offering is precisely centered around the cause of the handicap. How do you judge the accessibility of mountain resorts in particular and of tourism in France in general?

In the festival, 20% of places are offered to people with disabilities. Overall, in France a lot of efforts have been made on accessibility since the law of February 11, 2005 wanted by Jacques Chirac, who was directly concerned. The problem is that the implementing decrees have delayed its implementation. In Paris, very little is done for wheelchairs. At our level, I wanted to open dress rehearsals to people who have a cognitive disability that does not allow them to remain seated. The 100% inclusive label, which certifies that the territory provides fluid and adapted routes, has also been awarded to the Hautes-Pyrénées.

(1) Prices: conference, €5; concerts, €30. Free for people with disabilities. Loffrandemusicale.fr
(2) Example of an adaptable stay: from €434 from July 2 to 5, with 3 nights in a 4 and 5 star hotel, 2 concerts, a visit to the Pic du Midi and a personalized travel diary. Such. : 05 62 56 70 00; pyrenees-trip.com

Château Montus – Vignoble Brumont, one of the festival sites. Hautes-Pyrenees / Press Photo

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