Plácido Domingo and Europa Nostra visit Bougival, near Paris

On 19 June, Europa Nostra President, Maestro Plácido Domingo, visited the small town of Bougival, located 18 km south of Paris, which preserve the memory of an impressive number of 19th century European artists, ranging from Impressionist painters, great French composer Georges Bizet, Spanish-born mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot-Garcia, to great Russian writer Ivan Tourgeniev. Maestro Domingo was accompanied by Europa Nostra’s Executive President, Denis de Kergorlay and Secretary General Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, as well as by Dutch and Greek members of the Europa Nostra President’s Circle. Europa Nostra’s President and high-level delegation were welcomed by Luc Wattelle, Mayor of Bougival as well as by Olivier Delaporte, Mayor of La Celle Saint-Cloud. The visit was organised by Jorge Chaminé, President of the Association “Les Amis de Georges Bizet”, and Board member of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation.

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During this visit, Maestro Domingo and the Europa Nostra delegation visited Villa Viardot, which was the home of one of the most famous 19th century mezzo-sopranos Pauline Viardot; the Datcha of Ivan Tourgeniev which currently contains a small museum dedicated to the memory of Ivan Tourgeniev, and finally the house in which Georges Bizet lived, worked on the orchestration of his master piece, Opera “Carmen”, and sadly died at the age of 36 in 1875.

Maestro Domingo, who was also accompanied by his wife Marta, was deeply moved by the sites visited in Bougival. He expressed a keen wish that these sites will be revived and made widely known in France and in the whole of Europe. He also assured the Mayor of Bougival that, as President of Europa Nostra, he will strongly support the efforts undertaken by the City of Bougival to mobilise support from various public and private sources for the renaissance of Bougival, as a heritage city with a unique European story, which could also serve as a basis for an ambitious future project for the creation of a European Centre for Music and the Arts.

Update 18/07/2016:

Deeply impressed by his recent visit to the historic city of Bougival, it is with great emotion that Maestro Plácido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra, sent his support to the preservation and revival of the sites in a letter to the French authorities, namely Audrey Azoulay, French Minister of Culture and Communication, Valérie Pécresse, President of the Region Ile-de-France, and Pierre Bedier, President of the Yvelines Departmental Council.

In his letter, he reaffirmed the importance of mobilising the various private and public stakeholders to develop new cultural projects which could contribute to the renewal of Bougival, especially the restoration of the Villa Viardot and the House of Bizet into a remarkable European Centre for Music and the Arts initiated by the internationally renowned baritone Jorge Chaminé. This project is particularly significant in the context of the proposed European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 and the celebrations of the bicentenary of Ivan Tourgueniev’s birth organised the same year by the municipality of Bougival in partnership with UNESCO.

 

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