|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Saturday, September 19, 2020
|Balcony stars bring joy to self-isolating French|
Uruguayan cellist Karina Nunez plays on the balcony of her apartment in Panama City on March 23, 2020, during mandatory isolation due to the new coronavirus pandemic. Luis ACOSTA / AFP.
by Rana Moussaoui
PARIS (AFP).- Faced with the fear and boredom of the coronavirus lockdown, music is playing a small but important part in making life more bearable for some French people who are being treated to nightly balcony performances.
Every evening at 7pm, tenor Stephane Senechal throws open the window of his apartment in Paris's 9th arrondisement and lets fly with an aria.
"When I see the smile that I bring each evening with my song, that gives me great pleasure," he tells AFP.
"All day long, we are told of tragic things, of the dead. When I see smiles, I see hope. It's a little moment of freedom, of escape," he says.
Senechal says he lives in a neighbourhood where "there are a lot of elderly people" and it was a moment of reflection from an 80-year-old neighbour at the beginning of the lockdown that pushed him to sing at his window.
"She told me 'we will feel even more isolated'. I was rehearsing the role of Don Jose in Carmen at the time and after this remark I decided to sing at the window," he said.
Senechal starts by singing the Marseillaise. Then he links each nightly recital with arias as varied as "I gave you my heart" from Franz Lehar's operetta "The Land of Smiles", the 1935 Mexican song "Piensa en mi" -- sung by Luz Casal in Pedro Almodovar's High Heels - as well as the song "Caruso", Edith Piaf's "The Hymn to Love" and an "Ave Maria" dedicated "to all the suffering".
Senechal also likes to let go with "E Lucevan le stelle" from Puccini's opera Tosca. He considers this especially apt because of its last sentence: "'E non ho amato mai tanto la vita! (I have never loved life so much)' We understand the importance of life. And we can't give up now," he says.
His balcony recitals appear to have drifted far across the rooftops of the 9th.
"A patient with COVID-19 and hospitalized in Bichat (a hospital in the north of Paris) saw one of my videos and said 'keep going'. For me, that makes it all worthwhile.
Since the start of self-isolation in France, as in Italy and Spain, initiatives like this have flourished. Montreuil, in the eastern suburbs of the capital, has been particularly active, regularly sharing videos of a violinist, a guitarist or a singer on their balconies.
The "BachDesBalcons" online initiative, launched by Classical Revolution France, a movement imported from the United States, encourages musicians to play Bach at their windows.
Across the nation
"There are dozens of us playing every week from Montpellier to Paris, via Nantes, Strasbourg or Lille," Sarah Niblack, director of Classical Revolution France, told AFP. "Bach is the greatest of companions, you are never alone with your music."
An American who has lived in France for several years, Niblack has been based in Prades, in the south-west, since the beginning of confinement, and says she is happy to bring "comfort and a little moment when people come together" in these times of isolation.
"People recognise me now, even when I do my shopping with mask and gloves, I am told in the street 'you are the girl who plays Bach'," laughs Niblack, a violist who has played in several national orchestras.
Like many freelance workers she has suffered professionally from the lockdown, having seen six contracts cancelled since the outbreak, but she remains upbeat about the power of music.
"We are not useful in a hospital but we can make a little difference in people's lives. They appreciate that we are thinking of them."
Also in Paris, from his balcony overlooking Boulevard Saint-Michel, in the heart of the bohemian Latin quarter, Camilo Peralta, a cellist with the Ile-de-France National Orchestra, plays Bach suites at noon, much to the pleasure of neighbours and the occasional passer-by.
"We are inevitably caught up in the situation because every time I play, an ambulance drives by," he says.
In Mulhouse, in the east of the country, one of the areas hardest hit by the epidemic, the violinist Jessy Koch plays every day at 6:30pm on her balcony.
"It is not easy to work alone, without a purpose in mind. And now, I started to have a little audience waiting for the little concert. Life goes on," she says
© Agence France-Presse
April 2, 2020
Preeminent Antique Carpet Gallery Reaches Out to Clientele with Message of Inspiration
Museums scramble to document the pandemic, even as it unfolds
National Gallery of Art returns Picasso work to settle claim
Edinburgh arts festival cancelled due to virus: organisers
As furloughs grow, Kennedy Center defends Use of $25 million in aid
Hauser & Wirth to open online exhibition 'George Condo. Drawings for Distanced Figures'
Take a virtual tour of New York's museum district
Asuka Anastacia Ogawa joins Blum & Poe
Works by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva featured in Di Donna Galleries' inaugural online viewing room
Adam Schlesinger, songwriter for rock, film and the stage, dies at 52
Balcony stars bring joy to self-isolating French
2020 Porter Fleming Literary Competition award winners
Sotheby's launches online day sales of Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern Art this May
National Gallery of Victoria launches at home activities and education resources
Lamps burn bright at Jeffrey S. Evans 19th & 20th Century Lighting Auction
Yale Center For British Art's Scott Wilcox begins phased retirement after 3 decades
Hellmut Stern, 91, dies; Violinist returned to Germany after fleeing
Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage saved for the nation
Leading arts education charity supports the vulnerable during isolation with new digital platform
Chinese 'light painter' takes artistic inspiration from virus
Wallace Roney, jazz trumpet virtuoso, is dead at 59
The coronavirus hasn't slowed classical music
Bedroom composers all: Musicians are making art in a pandemic
Closing a business in UAE: Conditions to Meet to Undergo Company Liquidation
Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts vs CBD Isolate
The Difference Between Green Vein and Red Vein Kratom
What is Kratom, and Why Did They Ban it in The UK?
Enjoy the Splendor of Stunning Canvas Wall Art and Make Your Interior an Absolute Beauty
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.