With the Banquet Céleste being based at the Opera house in Rennes since the beginning of September 2016, most of the events the ensemble has taken part in since then have been preceded or followed by discussion workshops with the performers and audience. Some of these workshops were initiated by national or town-subsidised theatres, or Opera houses, and were specifically aimed at targeted audiences (school groups, people following other forms of musical training or music teachers on training courses). As such, over the years, a good relationship was forged with the general public through music and organised events.
All of these workshops made it clear to the musicians how important discussions with their audience were: they help “break down barriers” and pre-empt the expectations of certain audience groups not necessarily used to listening to a classical repertoire, who need a more personal approach and introduction to this musical style.
A “Baroque Style Discovery Workshop” was organised in partnership with the Théâtre de Cornouaille, aimed specifically at music teachers. Held a second time at the Abbaye aux Dames, this event seeks to combine musical education and the Baroque style from 1600 to 1750, based on vocal illustrations that are explained and commented, with help from the participating teachers. The goal is to outline the Baroque style as expressed in the musical realm from 1600 to 1750. The two main speakers (Damien Guillon and Hélène Decis-Lartigau, a musicologist), illustrate this outline using video documentaries and filmed concerts.
In collaboration with the Opera house and Conservatory of Rennes, the Banquet Céleste also came up with a larger-scale project involving students from the conservatory’s singing classes and those from the early and Baroque music class. Their idea was to have them prepare a concert at the Opera in Rennes, scheduled for February 2017. This mediation and preparation work was done over several sessions, during which Damien Guillon first intervened alone and was then accompanied by three of his ensemble’s musicians and singers. This project was pursued in 2018, working on Médée by Charpentier and Dido and Æneas by Purcell.
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