A summer opera festival at Baugé

Karlene Moreno Hayworth in Madame Butterfly, photo Alexis Hayworth

Priscilla de Moustier has a beautiful salon in the Faubourg Saint Germain and she is generous enough to let young musicians use it. It was a lovely evening that she organized to announce this year’s festival of opera in Baugé, a little village between Le Mans and Saumur, where opera fans Bernadette and John Grimmett, have created sixteen years ago,  a festival on the model of Garsington. I have not been yet but judging from the exceptional young talents I heard that evening in Paris, the experience should be great fun. For the first time, Ecole Normale de Musique is involved with their two new laureates, soprano Masayo Tago and counter tenor Théo Imart.

Masayo Tago and Theo Imart after the recital, photo John Grimmett

This year, the festival will feature three operas, Rigoletto, Offenbach’s Orpheo and Mozart’s Idomeneo where Masayo Tago and Théo Imart will both sing. Their youth and assurance were quite mesmerizing to the public of opera lovers who heard them for the first time.

Priscilla de Moustier was hosting the evening in her beautiful salon

The venue in Baugé is a tent set in the garden of Les Capucins, where all the operas take place while concerts are at Centre Culturel René d’Anjou. This area of France, halfway between Paris and Brittany is full of history and lies  just north of Châteaux de la Loire. It is an agricultural area similar to Gloucestershire and there are still many castle owners in the area who happily bring their picnics for the intermission.

The Capucins is a pretty frame for Opéra de Baugé

Karlene Moreno Hayworth, a soprano from the Philippines who lives in London, started there five years ago in “Madama Butterfly”. She sang an aria from La Bohême  and Traviata with all the singers and has a beautiful voice as well as great acting talent.

You can book for the two weeks of music from operadebaugé, July 22 to August 5. Most evenings start at 6 pm with a 90 mn intermission.

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