Born of the shared vision of the Département de la Vendée and William Christie—founder of Les Arts Florissants—the Dans les Jardins de William Christie Festival is an event like no other in Europe. Offering a subtle combination of baroque music and the art of gardens, it showcases the heritage and natural beauty of Vendée, particularly the site in Thiré, where the Les Arts Florissants - William Christie Foundation is based.
The decision to maintain the festival, from August 22 to 29, 2020 in Thiré, reflects a desire on the part of the Département de la Vendée and the artists to remain hopeful and energized during this difficult time for the cultural sector.
We wish you all a wonderful festival!
Every day at 10 am, from August 22 to 29 août (except on August 25)
Garden tours by specialists of William Christie's Gardens.
Available for festival-goers only (with a ticket for a Concert at the Colonnades or for a Musical Promenade), by reservation over the phone : (+33) (0)2 28 85 85 70
August 22 to 29 (except August 25)
This year, the musical promenades offer a fixed itinerary through the gardens in the afternoons, allowing spectators to discover the beauty of the unique gardens, with 4 musical breaks along the way: at the Cyclops Wall, in the wings of the Théâtre de Verdure, at the Pine Wood, and around the Chinese Bridge (itinerary subject to change). These promenades will feature the Les Arts Florissants artists in chamber ensembles, performing well-known and lesser-known works from the baroque repertoire (Purcell, Vivaldi, Jacquet de la Guerre, etc.) They will also include a casual educational segment. Over the course of the Festival, a total of 8 different musical itineraries will be offered to the public.
August 22 and 23: 3.30 to 5.30pm or 4.30 to 6.30pm Promenade du Frêne (Ash Promenade)
4 to 6pm or 5 to 7pm Promenade de l’If (Yew Promenade)
August 24 and 26: 3.30 to 5.30pm or 4.30 to 6.30pm Promenade du Peuplier (Poplar Promenade)
4 to 6pm or 5 to 7pm Promenade du Saule (Willow Promenade)
August 27: 3.30 to 5.30pm or 4.30 to 6.30pm Promenade du Pin parasol (Umbrella Pine Promenade)
4 to 6pm or 5 to 7pm Promenade du Charme (Yoke Elm Promenade)
August 28 and 29: 3.30 to 5.30pm or 4.30 to 6.30pm Promenade du Cyprès (Cypress Promenade)
4 to 6pm or 5 to 7pm Promenade du Platane (Plane Tree Promenade)
The same itineraries will be offered on each of the two days at the same times (except on the Thursday when the itineraries are for one day only).
Limited to a choice of one itinerary per day. It is not possible to reserve multiple itineraries on the same day.
Rates: €8 full price, €5 reduced rate
By reservation only (50 persons maximum per session, in accordance with the sanitary measures imposed for covid-19 prevention)
Duration: 2 hours (single, fixed itinerary through the gardens with 4 musical breaks along the way, each around 15 min), refreshments available for take-away at the end, for a limited time.
Concerts at the Colonnades
This year the public will be invited to attend the evening garden concert in a new setting, the Colonnades, in the northern part of the Garden. With the illuminated gardens as a backdrop, the audience can enjoy the concert in a dreamlike setting, with the “reverse” view through the colonnades to the water mirror and Le Bâtiment forming the natural décor.
Ticket prices: €25 full price, €17 reduced rate
L’ALLEGRO, IL PENSEROSO ED IL MODERATO • HANDEL (excerpts)
Saturday August 22 & Sunday August 23 • 9pm • Colonnades
In this extraordinary work, Handel reaches new heights of inventiveness, freshness and natural composition. Musical wonders abound on every page and the diversity of the airs is dizzying. With its universal quality, the allegorical libretto inspired by the great poet Milton has resonated with listeners of every era.
The protagonists embody the three facets of the human soul, the three poles between which it oscillates: l’Allegro (the happy being, always in action) is contrasted with Il Penseroso (the pensive one who reflects on the course of events). It is ultimately the figure of Il Moderato (the reasonable being who chooses the path of moderation) that reveals the wisdom sung by this work.
William Christie has taken on this ode several times before, notably in a version staged by Robyn Orlin at Opéra Garnier in 2007. For this edition of the Festival, he presents a concert version with a tailored number of performers, ideal for savouring the musicality of this brilliant composition. Three vocal soloists will come together for the occasion, all discovered at different editions of the Jardin des Voix Academy.
Musical Direction: William Christie
Soloists: Rachel Redmond, Maud Gnidzaz, Juliette Perret (sopranos), Rory Carver (tenor), Sreten Manojlović (bass)
Les Arts Florissants choir and orchestra
BACH’S EARLY CANTATAS
Monday August 24 & Wednesday August 26 • 9pm • Colonnades
Bach Cantates BWV 106, 150, 4
For many years, Les Arts Florissants has regularly presented a unique reading of the works of Jean-Sébastien Bach, giving them a core place in its programming, from the composer’s most magistral monuments (the Christmas Oratorio, the St John Passion, Mass in B minor, etc.) to his most intimate scores.
After a programme of Weimar cantatas presented at the Thiré church two years ago, for this 2020 edition of the Festival Paul Agnew will direct a selection of three of the early cantatas by the “Cantor of Leipzig.” As will be illustrated by the four singers brought together for this programme—whom fans of Les Arts Florissants will remember from their interpretation of the Italian madrigal—the genius of Bach is so vast and universal that the works he wrote early in his career already seem to have flowed from the plume of a composer at the height of his craft, and are as if infused with the divine.
Musical Direction: Paul Agnew
Soloists: Miriam Allan (soprano), Mélodie Ruvio (contralto), Cyril Auvity (tenor), Edward Grint (bass)
Les Arts Florissants instrumentalists and choir
GESUALDO, SACRED AND PROFANE
Thursday August 27 • 9pm • Colonnades
After Claudio Monteverdi, Carlo Gesualdo has become one of the flagship composers in Les Arts Florissants’ current programming. Alongside his exploration of the Complete Six Books of Madrigals over the past three seasons, Paul Agnew is exploring the religious facet of the demonic composer/murderer through this programme of motets in Latin. When faith becomes entwined with vice and passion…
Musical direction and tenor: Paul Agnew
Soloists: Miriam Allan (soprano), Mélodie Ruvio (contralto), Sean Clayton (tenor), Edward Grint (bass)
PASTICCIO (Tell Me the Truth about Love)
A musical revue by Lea Desandre and Jakub Józef Orliński
Friday August 28 & Saturday August 29 • 9pm • Colonnades
« Ce pasticcio réunit autour de William Christie neuf musiciens des Arts Florissants ainsi que Lea Desandre et Jakub Józef Orliński – deux des chanteurs les plus talentueux de leur génération. Par une succession de courtes scènes, nous explorerons un panel de représentations musicales de l’amour, depuis des époques où hommes et femmes avaient un autre rapport au temps. Nous proposons ainsi de créer notre propre playlist sur l’amour, autour d’œuvres de Rameau, Monteverdi, Handel, Purcell, mais aussi de compositeurs contemporains.
This pasticcio brings together with William Christie nine Les Arts Florissants musicians along with Lea Desandre and Jakub Józef Orliński, two of the most talented singers of their generation. Through a series of short scenes, we will explore a panel of musical representations of love, from eras when people had a different relationship to time. In this way, the idea is to create our own playlist on love featuring the works of Rameau, Monteverdi, Handel and Purcell, as well as modern-day composers.
Musical direction and harpsichord: William Christie
Musical concept: William Christie and Tami Troman
Soloists: Lea Desandre (mezzo-soprano), Jakub Józef Orliński (countertenor)
Les Arts Florissants instrumentalists
August 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28 & 29
Traditionally, after each evening concert, the festival audience is invited to bring the rich festival day to a calm and meditative close with a short programme of sacred music at the Thiré church.
Due to the pandemic, these short concerts cannot be held, but Les Arts Florissants have recorded the programmes at the Thiré church in June, in order to offer them on-line, free of charge, on the social media accounts of Les Arts Florissants and the Département de la Vendée each evening of the festival at 11pm, so that the public can listen to them wherever they like—from their living room or garden, etc.
Thiré / France
Gardens of William Christie
- Saturday, August 22 2020
- Sunday, August 23 2020
- Monday, August 24 2020
- Wednesday, August 26 2020
- Thursday, August 27 2020
- Friday, August 28 2020
- Saturday, August 29 2020