Save the House of Bizet in Bougival (France): Contribute to the crowdfunding campaign!

21 June 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the European Day of Music, and also the start of a crowdfunding campaign aiming at mobilising support for the renaissance of Bougival, a small historic town near Paris that preserves the memory of great European artists from 19th century. On this occasion, a high-level press conference was held on the same day at the House of Europe in Paris. The press conference was organised under the patronage of Europa Nostra and was presided by Catherine Lalumière, President of the House of Europe. Jorge Chaminé, President of the Centre Européen de Musique and driving force behind the entire initiative presented the crowdfunding initiative. Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, highlighted the European significance and dimension of this initiative, which is launched in the year when all of Europe is preparing for the European Year of Cultural Heritage. For this very special occasion, Europa Nostra’s President Maestro Plácido Domingo recorded a video message urging people across Europe and across the Globe to support this crowdfunding campaign and thus help save the house where Bizet worked on the orchestration of “Carmen”.

“Let us transform this House and its surrounding area into a memorial for Bizet and for its “Carmen”. Let us use this site as a place for inspiration for the new generations of musicians by creating a European Festival dedicated to “Carmen” and Bizet. Europa Nostra and I wish to share with you this dream. We thank you for supporting and sharing this dream,” stated Europa Nostra’s President Maestro Plácido Domingo.

Teresa Berganza, Spanish mezzo-soprano famous for her legendary interpretation of “Carmen”, who is also the President of the association Les Amis de Georges Bizet, is one of the main Ambassadors of this initiative. She deeply regretted that she could not come to Paris due to health problems but sent a moving audio message.

Drawing on these inspiring ideas, the association Les Amis de Georges Bizet and the Centre Européen de Musique have initiated an online crowdfunding campaign with the ambition to collect 3 million euros in order to save and revitalise the House of Bizet.

The first stage of the project includes buying the House (900,000 euros) then restoring the exterior and interior of the building, creating a Bizet Memorial House and an artists’ residence, as well as acquiring relevant collections for this Memorial House (560,000 euros).

If successful, the second phase of implementation aims to create an interpretation centre dedicated to “Carmen” located in front of the Memorial House of Bizet. This visitors’ centre would have an exhibition area focusing on Bizet’s masterpieces, a recording studio as well as a room for concerts, masterclasses, conferences and projections to be organised by the Centre Européen de Musique and different partners. The estimated costs for this second phase of the project amount to 1,540,000 euros.

The crowdfunding campaign is coordinated by the French crowdfunding and communication agency Dartagnans, which specialises in heritage preservation. Until 25 October 2017, anyone can make an online donation via www.dartagnans.fr/carmen with contributions starting from 1 euro.

On 19 June 2016, Plácido Domingo had visited Bougival and expressed his support in a letter to the French Minister of Culture and Communication on 18 July 2016, in which he reaffirmed the importance of mobilising various private and public stakeholders to transform the House of Bizet into a Memorial House dedicated to Bizet’s masterpiece – “Carmen”.

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