For ten years, the Baroque en Forez festival, the organization of which was taken over in 2017 by Loire Forez agglomeration in the territory of Saint-Bonnet-le-Château and surrounding villages, has lost none of its original vocation. “What I like about this festival is that it allows you to meet people, to allow people to talk to each other, and to invite classical music into the heart of the villages”. enthuses pianist and viola da gamba player, Florent Mayet, artistic director of Baroque en Forez since 2018.
In addition to the proximity between the public and the artists in unusual or discreet places of Foréz heritage, the community is committed to an accessible pricing policy (5 € for discovery concerts; 20 € full price or 10 € reduced price for concerts large formats; free promenade concert).
“The stakes are high for the sustainability of culture, develops Evelyne Chouvier, deputy vice-president for culture within Loire Forez agglomeration. Because it is a question of reaching the young public who are the spectators of tomorrow”.
With 1,600 spectators on average per editionthe festival’s budget doubled between 2017 and 2022 to stand at €60,000 today, €7,000 of which is financed by the Loire Department, allowing reasonable ticketing prices to be maintained. “This has allowed us to develop, to raise awareness among the public, including a core of faithful, to make ourselves known and to highlight the work of volunteers”, adds Florent Mayet.
Forty musicians mostly from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes will give substance to 25 events distilled in the villages of Chambles, Saint-Jean-Soleymieux, Margerie-Chantagret, Chazelles-sur-Lavieu, Saint-Hilaire-Cusson-la-Valmitte, Chenereilles, Leignecq and Marcoux.
Some of the programmed artists benefit from a national or even international notoriety, like the countertenor Paulin Bündgen born in Montbrison, expected for the big closing concert around the Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, October 9 at the Collegiate Church of Saint-Bonnet-le-Château. Or the soprano Marion Grangeformer student of the Maîtrise de la Loire, presented the day before Saint-Jean-Soleymieux with the consort Brouillamini around a program of Spanish music.
Pumpkins and music
The pre-concert on September 24, scheduled for the Collégiale de Montbrison, will be given by the seven instrumentalists of the Hostel Dieu concert choir, under the direction of Florent Mayet, who will resonate with their brass ”Venetian frenzies”.
The Bach concertos for two harpsichords October 7 at Margerie-Chantagret with Caroline Huynh Van Xuan and Clement Geoffroy are undoubtedly part of the large format concerts, all preceded by the intervention of the musicologist Julien Garde, not to be missed.
Finally, among the three events of the opening day of the festival on the 1is October at the Château de Goutelas in Marcoux, the discovery concert “Cucurbital” by the orchestral ensemble composed of Henri-Charles Caget, Gwenaël Bihan and Valérie Dulac, will be surprising. Since 2013, the trio has been performing in concert using instruments made from cucurbits.
Baroque in Forez, from 1is to October 9, 2022.