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Diary Dates

Festival Printemps des arts de Monte-Carlo. Photo: Philippe Fitte

Artistic gatherings, vintage rallies, book fairs, blossom festivals… They are all happening here, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Don’t miss out on these fabulous events in France and Spain this month.

Málaga Festival 13-22 March, Málaga, Spain Since Money Heist and Pain & Glory, Spanish cinema and television have taken the world by storm. At the Málaga Festival, the greatest Spanish films and most legendary celebrities are honoured and celebrated on the silver screen. festivaldemalaga.com

Spring Arts Festival 13 March - 11 April, Monte Carlo, Monaco Where else than in Monaco can you enjoy top-notch culture and soothing spring

Issue 13 |  March 2020 weather? With the Spring Arts Festival, the tiny nation presents the greatest classical music, opera and ballet with a contemporary twist, creating an unforgettable, artistic voyage. printempsdesarts.mc

International Tango Festival 17-22 March, Granada, Spain During the International Tango Festival, the city of Granada bursts with love and passion. For the 31st time, the event gathers the best musicians, greatest dancers and most enthusiastic spectators around. So,


dust off your stilettos, pick a bright-red rose and dance the weekend away underneath the Andalusian sun. tangogranada.com

Paris Book Fair 20-23 March, Paris, France Despite the many digital tools that we have at our fingertips today, the book industry is still alive and kicking. If you’re looking for the next novel for you to devour, you can peruse away at the Paris Book Fair. As one of the biggest fairs of its kind in Europe, it welcomes 3,900 authors and 160,000 readers from 50 different countries. If you can’t find the perfect book here, you probably won’t find it anywhere. livreparis.com

International Vintage Car Rallye Barcelona-Sitges 21-23 March, Sitges, Spain You’ve got two kinds of people: those who love brand-new cars and those whose mouth waters when thinking about retro old-timers. If you belong to that last group, you cannot miss the annual International Vintage Rallye from Barcelona to Sitges. For three days, you can spot the classic cars and their appropriately-dressed drivers as they roam passed the Mediterranean shores that connect the two cities. rallybarcelonasitges.com

International Design Biennale SaintÉtienne 21 March - 22 April, Saint-Étienne, France After two years, the Design Biennale of Saint-Étienne opens its gates again. On the menu there are exhibitions, activities and conferences aplenty, all held in the stunning Cité du Design. Yet, in all other corners of the city, you will bump into a likeminded crowd and some unexpected beauty, as well. biennale-design.com

Cherry Trees in Blossom Festival 27 March - 4 April, Jerte, Spain As much as we love the taste of cherries, a cherry tree is at its best when it shows its pretty pink blossoms. In Extremadura’s Jerte, they wholeheartedly agree. So much so that they host a big festival every time Discover France & Spain |  Diary Dates

Normandy Impressionist Festival; exposition of Bruno Peinado.

Design Biennale. Photo: Wikipedia

the trees grow flowers. Expect medieval markets, culinary tastings, open-air celebrations and stunning vistas of the flowerpacked valley.

Normandy Impressionist Festival 3 April - 6 September, Normandy, France While the era of Impressionism lies more than a century and a half behind us, the region of Normandy keeps the spirit alive.

Paris Marathon. Photo: Amelie Dupont, Tourism Paris

At their annual Impressionist Festival, they celebrate the movement’s style and values through exhibitions, cinema, activities and installations with a contemporary twist. normandie-impressionniste.fr

Paris Marathon 5 April, Paris, France The Paris Marathon is one of Europe’s most important long-distance running events. It kicks off at the Champs-Élysées, crosses the city and finishes at the Place de la Concorde. The speed record belongs to the Ethiopian athlete Kenenisa Bekelle, who finished in no more than two hours and five minutes. Could you do better? www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com

Night of the drums 7-8 April, Mula, Spain On the night from Holy Tuesday to Good Wednesday, the city of Mula moves to the beat of the drums. From midnight until 4am, people dressed in black hit the drums as they walk through town. When drummers encounter each other, a so-called ‘pángana’ happens; a spontaneous showdown between both of them.

Tugan Sokhiev. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Flying the flag for Franco-Russian relations in Toulouse

Since Peter the Great first visited Versailles in 1717, the friendship between France and Russia has endured, despite tumultuous changes in both nations. Now, more than three centuries later, one of France’s most prestigious orchestras – the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse – is staging a major season celebrating this ‘grande amitié’ (great friendship).


After a phenomenally successful debut season in 2019, Toulouse Orchestra’s second FrancoRussian season will run from 10 March to 3 April 2020, with the orchestra’s musical director at the helm – Russian star conductor Tugan Sokhiev. Sokhiev has been director of the Toulouse Orchestra for more than 15 years and is also the musical director and principal conductor of Moscow’s internation

Issue 13 |  March 2020 ally renowned Bolshoi Theatre, so is perfectly placed to mastermind the combined programme of works from the two countries.

Cross-fertilisation of cultures “The idea behind the season,” says Thierry d’Argoubet, general delegate of l’Orchestre National du Capitole, “is to encourage dialogue between the two cultures of France and Russia, and also to celebrate our musical heritage. We want Toulouse to become the focus and a meeting point for a meeting and cross-fertilisation of cultures, and we also want to extend this historic partnership and relationship to incorporate new participants, be they local, regional or international.” With this in mind, the season will not only feature the Toulouse Orchestra as well as numerous international artists, but also the choir of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Similarly, with a view to extending the season’s repertoire, there will also be eight chamber music concerts in addition to the Orchestra’s performance of symphonic works.

New talent There will also be an emphasis on bringing the stars of tomorrow to today’s audi

ences. “We want to shine a light on new talent,” continues d’Argoubet, “and so Sokhiev will be offering the spotlight to one of the bright new stars of the classical music world - Russian pianist and conductor Maxim Emelyanychev – and we will also be showcasing a new work by young Russian composer Olga Rayeva.”

Concerts will take place in the Orchestra’s home – the impressive Halle aux Grains, as well as Toulouse’s Les Abattoirs Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and several other different venues across the city.

Further highlights of the Franco-Russian season Paying homage to two giants of the Franco-Russian music world: Debussy and Stravinsky, Sokhiev will bring together two of their key works: Debussy’s Nocturne and Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring, performed by the Capitole Orchestra together with Spain’s Orfeon Donostiarra choir.

Other highlights will include two of Tchaikovsky’s operas, Eugene Onegin and Mazeppa, both performed by the Bolshoi Orchestra and Choir, as well as works by Rachmaninov, Borodin, Shostakovitch, Prokofiev, Smetana, Poulenc, Ravel, Fauré and Gounod.

The season will also include cinematic events, such as a screening of pioneering Russian film-maker Sergei Eisenstein’s landmark Battleship Potemkin, with the orchestra providing a live performance of the score.

Beethoven Anniversary Programme In addition to the Franco-Russian season, throughout the year the orchestra’s repertoire will also include special performances celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. These will range from

Maxim Emelyanychev.

the various symphonies (including the third and fifth) as well as his Violin concerto in D Major . Several of these will fall under the batons of hot-shot young Russian conductor Maxim Emelyanychev and dynamic young German conductor Cornelius Meister, both of whom will bring new interpretations to the composer’s classic works.

New audiences Reaching out to new audiences is another key element in the Toulouse Orchestra’s ethos and the 2020 programme will feature family music workshops and concerts with storytelling, as well as daytime concerts specially designed for younger audiences. These will include an introduction for children aged seven and over, designed to help them take their first musical steps with an orchestra whilst hearing the tale of Ondin and the little Mermaid . There will also be overlaps with the Franco-Russian season, such as a new work titled Babayaga! From the banks of La Garonne to the Volga – a work for children incorporating traditional French and Russian folk songs, performed by pupils at the Academy of Toulouse school.

Similarly, the series of early evening Happy Hour concerts will include artists from a range of different genres, including young talent in the form of conductors such as Hungarian Gábor Káli, with works by Bartok and Stravinsky.