15th Edition of Opéra de Baugé • Interview with organiser and performer Stewart Bates
Opéra de Baugé was founded in 2002 as a French not-for-profit entity and mounted its first festival in the summer of 2003, performing one opera, Albert Herring by Benjamin Britten. Three performances were attended by an audience of about 400 in total.
As years passed and the festival’s reputation grew, many now well-known singers and musicians began to make their operatic debuts with Opéra de Baugé, including Ben Johnson, Sophie Bevan, Gareth Malone, Nadine Livingstone and Jimin Park.
The first nine festivals took place in the park of Les Capucins, the property of the founders of the opera. From 2012 to 2015, the festival was presented in the Centre Culturel René d’Anjou, Baugé. In 2016 the festival returned to Les Capucins.
The format of each evening – i.e. curtain up at 6pm, an interval of 90 minutes for picnics or dining in the restaurant set up for the season, has remained largely unchanged from the first season onward.
Since its inaugural season Opéra de Baugé has presented operas every year in late-July and early-August. The season has grown to twelve performances and three operas, as well as two concerts. The total audience has grown to over 3,000 each year.
Now in its fifteenth year, Opéra de Baugé’s programme for 2017 is more impressive than ever. Find out more in this interview with organiser and performer Stewart Bates.