France’s most major festival of sacred music, La Chaise-Dieu takes place predominantly in the wonderful Benedictine abbey of Saint-Robert, built in the Middle Ages. See you in Auvergne for this year’s festival, from 18-28 August 2018.
The Saint-Robert Abbey is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in France. Famous for its vast representation of the Dance Macabre across a series of 12 tapestries, and for its curious ‘Hall of the Echoes’, it’s played host to this celebration of sacred music since 1966, founded by pianist Georges Cziffra.
2018’s programme includes works by Tchaikovsky, Handel and Beethoven
Concerts are organised in 15 venues, but it’s those in the abbey that are the biggest draw. Tchaikovsky, Handel and Beethoven will all be honoured this year. On Tuesday 21 August, Charpentier’s Sacred Stories will be performed by Caroline Weynants, Lucile Richardot and Judith Fa. The following day, Bach’s Mass in C will be conducted by Françoise Lasserre – truly one not to be missed.
The evening of Sunday 26 August will be dedicated to the harp, showcased by French harpist Agnès Clément.
On Tuesday 28 August, conductor Alexandre Bloch – Jean-Claude Casadesus’ successor at the helm of the prestigious National Orchestra of Lille – will close the festival with works by Debussy and Chausson, nicknamed the ‘French Wagner’.