FEDORA

Prize for Education
Shortlist 2019

184

10 / 20

Opera Dahu Project: Les Petits Papageni

Switzerland
Verbier Festival

Verbier Festival Opera Dahu Project: Les Petits Papageni

Presentation

The Verbier Festival presents one of the world’s most recognized summer music festivals and, through its Academy and Orchestra programmes, identifies and nurtures some of today’s most talented and most promising young artists. The Festival’s cultural engagement strategy is deployed through a programme of nearly 100 free and affordable activities each summer during the annual 17-day event, as well as through year-round Citizen Artist projects, including in-school programmes, most of which feature Academy and Orchestra alumni. It is in this context that the ‘Opera Dahu Project’ introduces children to the world of opera. The ‘dahu’—a legendary mountain goat-like creature with legs of different sizes having differing lengths to fit the mountain's side—is known in Switzerland as a metaphor for a tall-tale. Fittingly, the Verbier Festival’s Opera Dahu Project introduces children to the imaginary world of legends and myths that are told through opera. The programme’s multidisciplinary approach creates an in-classroom Dahu Sanctuary, so to speak, by inviting children to create their own productions that re-tell the legendary stories represented in great opera masterworks.

Supported by an educational team composed of stage directors, a visual artist/animator, instrumentalists and singers, the children compose and perform their own interpretations of great operas. They stage themselves, create illustrations for the sets, prepare their own costumes, sing and dance. They take part in a series of three one-day workshops with the teaching team: the Piccolo Opera Association of Geneva, which has been working with children since 1987; illustrator and multimedia artist Marc Philippin; and four alumni instrumentalists from the Verbier Festival Academy and Orchestras, and two alumni singers from the Academy’s Atelier Lyrique. At the end of four days of work, the children perform their operas at their schools.

‘Les Petits Pagageni’ is a pilot Opera Dahu Project based on Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. An intensive first phase takes place over four days as part of the ‘Playground’ series of the 2019 Verbier Festival, for which young festival-goers may register at no charge. The Playground series is part of the Festival’s ‘Unlimited’ programme, which provides an entry point for audiences of all-ages to experience the Verbier Festival in an accessible and fun way. The Project continues in a more expanded format in autumn 2019 in three schools in the Swiss cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais, and takes place over three phases: music familiarization; set, costume and production design; and finally rehearsal and performance. The timing of each phase is determined with teachers in each school.

After this initial pilot year, the Festival aims to refine the project, seek long-term funding, and incrementally expand it throughout French-speaking Switzerland starting in 2020.    

Artistic Team

STEPHEN MCHOLM director, academy & special projects Stephen McHolm est directeur de l'Academy et projets spéciaux du Verbier Festival. Au cours des 18 années précédant son arrivée en Suisse, McHolm a développé le concours international de piano de la Fondation Honens au sein de l'une des organisations internationales de musique classique les plus respectées et les plus influentes du Canada, découvrant, nourrissant, présentant et faisant la promotion des talentueux concertistes émergents. Il est décrit comme un « rebelle et révolutionnaire » par le mensuel Avenue Magazine de Calgary – un témoignage de son travail dans l’édification de nouveaux publics pour la musique classique et le soutien aux artistes prêts pour les carrières du XXIe siècle. Le programme de développement artistique et professionnel d’Honens, ainsi que le label d'enregistrement Honens qu’il a fondé en 2008 servent de modèles pour les concours internationaux de musique les plus prestigieux au monde et les maisons de développement d'artistes.

FRANCOIS VASSEUR manager, cultural engagement François Vasseur est responsable de l’action culturelle du Verbier Festival. Il est en charge du programme VF Unlimited, qui regroupe l’ensemble des évènements gratuits ou à bas prix du Festival, ainsi que des Citizen Artists Projects qui proposent des rencontres entre les musiciens du Festival et les différents types de publics en Valais et en Suisse romande.

ANNE FATOUT coordinator Anne Fatout a été violoniste professionnelle durant 20 ans. Elle est diplômée de la HEM de Genève (classe de J.P Wallez) et du Diplôme d’Etat d’enseignement du ministère de la culture en France. Passionnée par la transmission en général, elle obtient ensuite un diplôme de généraliste en marketing et communication et se dédie à la culture côté coulisses.

François VASSEUR

François VASSEUR

Manager, Cultural Engagement

Stephen McHolm

Stephen McHolm

Director, Academy & Cultural Engagement

Co-producing Partners

Espace Opera

Espace Opera

Switzerland

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