A classical music festival with a difference
Musique à Beauregard is a classical music festival like no other, celebrating bringing people and music together in an incredible, natural setting in the open air of the Aravis mountains. The festival returns to La Clusaz for a second edition from the 19th – 28th of July, so we thought we’d get together with the organisers, Barthélemy and Virginie Allard, to get an insider’s look at the festival.
Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
Virginie and I studied in Paris and came to Haute Savoie for professional reasons. La Clusaz it the station we came to as children, we have wonderful memories of the area, and so it was the obvious place to bring our family. We have four children, aged from three to eight, and we wanted to be together in a place that was both a refuge and a haven of peace, timeless and off the beaten track. It was a 200-year-old farm in the middle of Alpine pastures on the Plateau de Beauregard that answered this brief. The location was perfect and we immediately realised that it was the perfect place for big musical festivals.
Are you musicians yourselves?
We have a real passion for music, whether classical or otherwise. We might play piano with two fingers, but we hope that our children will be more diligent and more talented! In the meantime, we enjoy regularly welcoming first-class musicians. It’s wonderful to find inspiration with a view of Mont Blanc. It’s a real chance to see the artist rehearsing and improvising. And we are always impatient for the weekends when the whole house resounds with something halfway between magic and wonder. These are the precious moments which we love to share with our partners and the Friends of Musique à Beauregard, our unconditional supporters and patrons.
How did the Musique à Beauregard festival begin and what is the vision behind it all?
We are lucky enough to live in this fantastic place and we have the energy and the will to share it, along with classical music, played in Alpine pastures in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Musique à Beauregard is a high altitude festival in the open air, but it’s also a festival “at home”. The audience is invited to share not just some great music, but also a high point of conviviality with every performance, in the presence of the performers. The secrets range from a simple glass of champagne at the entrance to La Clusaz church for the opening concert, to a sit-down dinner organised with the PVG group and the team from Maison Perrin for the closing concert. Between the two, there are many other features – a white picnic, mountain cocktails … we hope that people will leave the house having been treated to an excellent concert, but most of all that they will have had a great evening!
Unlike the settings for most classical music concerts, the Plateau de Beauregard is an ephemeral scene which makes sense of its surroundings. We believe that the magic comes from being surprised – by a rainbow, by the colour of the rock which changes throughout the concert, by the soft breeze which ruffles the score on the music stand, by the deer which dare to approach …
Musique à Beauregard is another way to view the mountains and music. It’s a real chance to pause and savour your surroundings.
Why did you choose to hold it in La Clusaz?
It’s a perfectly natural choice, as La Clusaz has defined our personal lives.
And why classical music in La Clusaz?
Because the project seemed right to us. First of all, it is something different to all the other events we have. What I mean is, we aren’t treading on anyone’s toes. And in time, we hope that the festival will take its place among all the other sporting events which La Clusaz does so well.
Finally, classical music is not the prerogative of Evian (Rencontres Musicales), Chamonix (Musilac, CosmoJazz), de Mégève (Festival Baroque, Savoy Truffle..), nor of Annecy (Variations Classiques). When you look at the map, there is a gap in the heart of the Aravis, and we are hoping to change that.
I’ve heard that there are nearly 100 musicians performing! How did you end up with such a large number?
There are five different performances and almost 100 musicians, among them some of the top names of the new generation. All of it under the artistic generation of Guillaume Vincent, a pianist from Annecy.
Musique à Beauregard also has a symphony orchestra for the opening concert in La Clusaz (Orchestre des Pays de Savoie), a series of musical hikes organised with Lionel Rivière and the Aravis music school, and finally an academy under the direction of Martial Renard and Lionel Rivière, dedicated to singing, whose students produce a performance at the end of the festival to show off what they have learned.
Do you have a favourite event during the festival?
I look forward with impatience to seeing the artists arrive one after the other, and take over our pastures on the Plateau de Beauregard. Some of them were there the previous year, and wouldn’t have missed the chance to come again for the world. It is also the trust our artists place in us and their joy at playing at Beauregard which makes us want to carry on.
There is not one event I look forward to more than any other. I’d say that this year there are fruits and flowers of every kind. We will even have, just as last year, the “not the classical” concert. You choose, it’s up to you!
I understand that the festival isn’t only for adults, there are a number of events for children too. Can you tell us a bit about what is available for the children and why it was important to you to include these children’s events?
Running alongside our programme, there are musical hikes, workshops for children and a family concert in the middle of the pastures. We have four children, and we hope that Musique à Beauregard is also a festival for them, so there are events just for them: hunting for rare mountain herbs and flowers as well as workshops at the farm.
And the idea of families crossing the pastures for musical events pleases me enormously!
Are you planning on continuing the event again next year?
Of course – from July 18-27, 2019! Not to mention our out of season programme, private concerts in the autumn and under snow – the Plateau de Beauregard with music just for you!
In the meantime, we are looking to seeing you this summer, as spectators, but also as volunteers, if that is your passion!
For details, the programme, and tickets, go to www.musiqueabeauregard.com – booking is essential.
And now some extra fun questions we ask everyone about the Aravis!
What is in your opinion the best place for Alpine skiing?
La Vraille in the fog at La Balme for adults, and the Plateau de Beauregard in the sunshine for the children!
The best view?
From our house!
A great walk in the summer?
Crossing the Plateau de Beauregard from La Croix Fry to the Corbassières farm, for some of the best produce in the Aravis.
The must-see place during a holiday in the Aravis?
The farm of Jean Pierre and Françoise Veyrat on the Plateau de Beauregard, for their unbelievable Reblochons, fabulous Tommes and their perfect persillés.
Your favourite restaurant?
La Ferme des Vonezins, on the plateau de Beauregard.
Your favourite Savoyard dish?
Le farcement (a potato loaf with bacon, dried fruit and spices)
Musique à Beauregard will be in La Clusaz from the 19th – 28th of July. For more information, the full schedule and to purchase your tickets please visit their website.
And for more great posts about what’s going on in the Aravis return to LOVOVO.