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Our History

A structuring festival for its territory

In 1988, Jean Léquipé, Choir Director at the Paris Opera, conducted a summer musical programme from which the idea of a Singing Competition quickly emerged, presided over by Jean Giraudeau, a renowned opera singer and teacher.

The reputation of the Competition grew rapidly and the Festival decided to produce lyrical works (The Magic Flute, Carmen, the Land of Smiles,…). These works were initially accompanied by two pianos and directed by Jean Giraudeau, who was also the musical director.

Since its creation, the Festival has been pursuing a real policy of decentralization throughout the whole of the country, with concerts in Virazeil, Fourques, Meilhan, Gontaud, Tonneins, Couthures, Sainte-Bazeille, Beaupuy, Cocumont, Le Mas d’Agenais….

In 1995, after Jean Giraudeau’s death, Michèle Herbé became a director. Philippe Mestres, Director of the Ecole de Musique agréée de Marmande, adds to his role as President, the Musical Direction.

The Orchestre des Symphonistes d’Aquitaine, created that same year, now accompanies opera productions. Thus, the Festival sees its artistic quality recognized and asserts its influence, as well as its notoriety (the shows are broadcast more widely: Mérignac, Dax,…).

The opera singing class, the CHAM classes with a “dominant vocal”, the Maurice-Ravel Vocal Ensemble with its associative extension, the Lyrical Choir, were created at the Conservatory, in the wake of the Nuits Lyriques, integrating vocal art into the Marmandaise identity.

After the work carried out at the Théâtre Comoedia, Les Nuits Lyriques de Marmande has a tool that meets the professional requirements of its productions, including an orchestra pit and air conditioning for the comfort of the audience.

Professional recognition is quickly accompanied by artistic bridges and partnerships with Canada, Belarus, China, South Korea and, soon, Spain.

2019 is the year of a new impetus, of a new page to be written, with the following ambitions: to widen the public, to consolidate our international influence and, by 2022, to become a Regional and National Resource Center in terms of Lyric Art.

2020, despite the health crisis, all the activities of the Nuits Lyriques have been maintained thanks to the mobilization of volunteers, artists and professionals, local authorities and private partners. By adapting and reinventing ourselves, we have been able to develop the Itinerant Lyric Brigades, offer all the shows of the Summer Festival and the International Singing Competition, which attracted even more candidates than in 2019.

2021, hoping for a more favorable context, the Brigades Lyriques should find their cruising speed, after their prototyping in 2019 and their development in 2020. We will intensify our search for new cross-functional partnerships with local structures; we will continue our digital transition and our reflection on the eco-responsibility of our activities while maintaining our change of scale.