The President at the Opera

On October 30, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, made an appearance at the Opéra de Strasbourg. No, it was not a gala or a special occasion. It was just to witness a rehearsal of the opera Carmen in its “participatory version.”

The Strasbourg opera forces, along with their chorus, Maîtrise de l’Opéra du Rhin and the children’s chorus, Petits Chanteurs de Strasbourg, were joined by the opera orchestra (playing on period instruments of Bizet’s time) in a new and impressive project.

Together, they will “bring together an intergenerational and intercultural audience of amateur and professional singers” and free workshops have been set up since September 30. One session each month will culminate with an outdoor concert performance of Carmen in June. “Hundreds of performers, amateurs and accomplished, young and old, school children and parents” were assembled with the goal of performing this opera with major soloists. Macron came down from the balcony and greet the participants and joined in with them for a reading of the Toreador Song.