A spectacular evening with Les Amis du Louvre

parisdiaArt, Performing arts3 Comments

Violinist Simon Zhu standing in Cour Marly after the concert, in front of the statue of “La Renommée” by Antoine Coisevox

It was an exceptional evening Tuesday night at the Louvre organized for the patrons of Les Amis du Louvre. At the suggestion of Sylvain Bellenger, the former director of Museo Capodimonte in Naples, and organiser of the superb show “Naples in Paris”, a musical evening was organized with Giovanni Panebianco, President of the Paganini Prize created in 1954. It is awarded in September and October, every two years at Opera Carlo Felice in Genoa, to violinists who are between 15 and 31. The 22 year old German violinist, Simon Zhu, 2023 laureate, was the attraction of the evening with the Dutch Korean pianist Gile Bae, who first performed on stage in Seoul at age 5. The program Bach, Beethoven and Chopin, included three “Caprices” by Paganini, three violin solos, which were of course the height of emotion and “La Campanella” which they played jointly. The concert will be aired on Radio Classique on Saturday, February 10 at 8 pm. The page turner for the piano was the very elegant art historian Emmanuel Ducamp!

The entrance to I.M. Pei’s pyramid was paticularly well lit

Every detail of the evening was beautifully organized by Sébastien Fumaroli who runs Les Amis du Louvre. We were welcomed at the entrance of the Pyramid by Constance Challan-Belval, who said hello personally to every guest and dealt with great tact with those who had not confirmed and therefore had no admittance ticket. Inside the Cour Puget, the charming Stéphanie Deschamps-Tan, curator of XIX th century sculptures, explained in a very relaxed way, why Napoléon’s bust by Bartolini Lorenzo, was now standing high up and dominating the courtyard. She also mentioned the arrival of the Duc d’Orléans’ en pied sculpture by Jean Louis Nicolas Jaley. Sophie Jugie, head of the sculpture department, was also there, answering all my questions with great generosity and Academician Adrien Goetz who runs the excellent Louvre magazine, La Grande Galerie, chatted with everyone.

Etienne-Jules Ramey, “Theseus fighting the Minotaur”,1826, Cour Puget

I immediately ran into the Italian Ambassador, Emanuela d’Alessandro, who had already hosted a musical evening with Simon Zhu the night before, and was talking to Giovanni Panebianco. This is when I realized that this was really an Italian night (even though the violinist is German) which made it, as always, even more fun and relaxed. One of the sponsors of the Paganini Prize is Martine Bernheim, Princesse Orsini, who was sitting on the first row to the right of Louis Antoine Prat, President of Les Amis du Louvre. Architect Emanuela (Brignone) Cattaneo, had come from Genoa and looked particularly pretty, Cristina (Colonna) de Voguë wore her best mink and Sylvain Bellenger, who sits on the Prize committee, announced a big series of performances by the laureate in the United States and in 2026, at Musée de la Vie romantique in Paris.

Italian Ambassador, Emanuela d’Alessandro with Giovanni Panebianco, president of the Paganini Prize and curator Stéphanie Deschamps-Tan

The concert was organized in Cour Marly with a preceding visit of Cour Puget which has been entirely reorganized. “Theseus fighting the Minotaur” by Ramey used to stand in the Tuileries gardens. It is now replaced outdoors by a moulage (realized by Atelier Prométhée), financed by jewelry designer David Yurman and can be much better seen indoors. In Cour Marly, the large marble group of Diane d’Anet was entirely restored by les Amis du Louvre. I particularly liked the statue of “La Renommée” by Antoine Coisevox, where an angel plays the trumpet, who was facing the musicians as if encouraging them to play in this beautiful part of the Louvre.

Antoine Coisevox, “La Renommée”, made for Château de Marly in 1702 is now in Cour Marly

A glass of champagne allowed all the guests to chat after the concert and the atmosphere remained elegant and playful throughout. Almost everyone wore a tie, and pretty dresses. It was a unique moment in today’s life, where art and music prevailed thanks to a perfect organization and strong commitment from all the curators and staff of the Louvre.

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3 Comments on “A spectacular evening with Les Amis du Louvre”

  1. J’admire toujours notre cher Emmanuel Ducamp, ce soir là en tourneur de pages ! Il maîtrise toutes les langues y compris son solfège …

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