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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.

In 2018, to celebrate its 30th Anniversary, the Nuits Lyriques de Marmande attracted a wider audience for the Gala Concert that brought together former winners of the Singing Competition, the Orchestra of the Symphonists of Aquitaine and the Festival Choir. More than 1,200 spectators attended, many of them for the first time. A breach has been opened which demonstrates that Lyric Art is popular, contrary to popular belief.

Finally, innovations such as the creation of the Prix du Jury des Lycéens and the Prix des Réseaux Sociaux have raised awareness among a younger or neophyte audience.

2019 is the year of a new impetus, a new page to be written, with a Local Accompaniment Device (DLA) led by the firm Two on a Bench to define strategic development paths and refocus the vocation of our association.

With a support-consulting on the digital transition of our structure led by ProfilCulture.

This is the year of the creation of the Brigades Lyriques Itinérantes to reach out to new audiences.

In 2020, despite the health crisis, all the activities of Les Nuits Lyriques were 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 continue the development of the Itinerant Lyric Brigades, offer all of the shows of the Summer Festival and the International Singing Competition, which has attracted even more candidates than in 2019.

2021, in a more favorable context, the Brigades Lyriques have found their cruising speed, after their prototyping in 2019 and their development in 2020. We have stepped up our search for new cross-disciplinary partnerships with local structures; we are continuing our digital transition and our reflection on the eco-responsibility of our activities while maintaining the course of our change in scale.

In 2022, we will develop Opera Light with an educational and mediation project to make opera even more accessible to everyone.