Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence is an international music festival organized each summer in Aix-en-Provence around July.Primarily the focus of the festival is Opera shows though it also includes concerts of vocal, solo instrumental music, orchestral, and chamber.The Festival was first organized in July 1948 by Countess Lily Pastre who funded the entire event.
Initially, it used to have 3-4 concerts in the cour de l’Archevêché, one in the Saint-Sauveur cathedral & 6 other concerts and shows throughout the town in various locations. An opera Mozart’s Così fan tutte was added to these concerts which was almost new to the French population in that era. It was only in 1949 with the featuring of Don Giovanni that the festival became a widely known and attracted a huge crowd.
Right from its beginning until 1974, Gabriel Dussurget led the direction of the festival who focussed primarily on the creative and intricate details of the productions bringing in the attention from all over the world to the festival.Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain was showcased by Mstislav Rostropovich in 1970. It is one of the most important shows contributed from the 20th century to the festival.
Bernard Lefort led the direction of the festival from 1974 to 1982. It is in this period when the Festival aligned to bel canto opera and Donizetti opera shows from the 19th century were voiced by stars of bel canto such as Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, Marilyn Horne, and Katia Ricciarelli leading to the widespread popularity of the festival.
Stéphane Lissner led the direction of the festival in 1988. He renewed the Théâtre de l’Archevêché and made it the centre of attraction of the festival. By 2005, a whole plethora of Operas was included in the festival. The latest one was Julie by Philippe Boesmans from Belgium chalked out on the basis of Strindberg’s Miss Julie.