Europe Day 2018: Bougival contributes to #Ode2Joy Challenge

On 9 May, on the occasion of Europe Day and the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, an unique musical and artistic celebration contributing to the “#Ode2Joy Challenge” launched by Europa Nostra and its President, Maestro Placido Domingo, took place in front of the Villa Viardot in Bougival near Paris, upon invitation of Denis de Kergorlay, outgoing Executive President of Europa Nostra, and Jorge Chaminé, President of the European Music Centre, member organisation of Europa Nostra.

After inspiring and engaging welcome speeches by Jorge Chaminé, Denis de Kergorlay and Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, the following speakers contributed to this very special event: Pierre Soudry, first deputy Mayor of La-Celle-Saint-Cloud – owner of the Domaine des Frênes on which the Villa of Pauline Viardot stands -, Célia Vérot, Director General of La Fondation du Patrimoine, and Luc Watelle, Mayor of Bougival.

The musical and artistic programme started with the reading by school children of the Ode to Joy poem written by Friedrich Schiller both in French and in its original language – German. This was followed by creative interpretations of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy by artists from Indian, Arabic, Gypsy and classical musical traditions: Yaman Suhem from Syria, Jaewon Kim & Eric-Maria Couturier, and the Gypsy Quatuor Roberto de Brasov.

French actress Cyrielle Clair and Jorge Chaminé jointly recited Schiller’s Ode to Joy in several European languages (German, French, English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese).

A high delegation composed of Board and Council members of Europa Nostra participated to the event and could visit the Villa of Pauline Viardot.

This event was also the occasion to celebrate the forthcoming restoration of the Villa Viardot, which forms part of the ambitious cultural and educational project proposed by the European Music Centre for Bougival. This restoration was included among the priority list of 14 endangered heritage sites which were selected as part of the French heritage conservation programme promoted by Stéphane Bern, renowned French journalist, presenter and broadcaster,  upon the initiative of the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron.  to, These 14 heritage sites will benefit from the funds raised by the first edition of the “LOTO du Patrimoine”, which will be organised by La Française des Jeux on 14 September.

Europa Nostra and its President Maestro Plácido Domingo gave their high patronage and support to the Villa Viardot restoration project as well as to the revitalisation project of the House of Bizet recently purchased by the Yvelines Department.

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