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PARIS NATIONAL OPERA CHILDREN’S CHOIR (article first published : 2006-02-7)

In a collaboration of Alliance Française, School of Music University of KwaZulu-Natal, IFAS, French Embassy, Maitrise des Hauts de Seine and Opéra de Paris (and their sponsors), Durban music lovers can enjoy a performance by the Paris National Opera Children’s Choir on February 8.

Set up in 1985 by the Conseil Général des Hauts-de-Seine through the impetus of its president, la Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine is a unique tool with multiple facets. A mix and clever balance of the love of music, artistic rigour and teaching ability have brought this choir up to a very high standard in this field and thus on an international scale.

Today, 350 children between the ages of seven and 16 follow a singing training managed by Gaël Darchen. La Maîtrise also runs a men's choir and a feminine voice group which allows them to take part in extremely varied productions as widespread as the shepherd soloist part in Tosca and the oratorios’ grand choir. All repertoires are approached.

Years of hard work and rigour deserved a distinction: in 1996 la Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine became the official Paris National Opera Children’s Choir. Then began a long series of collaboration with famous international artists such as James Conlon, Seiji Ozawa, Valery Gergiev, André Engel, Jean-Louis Martinoty, Patrice Chéreau, Luciano Pavarotti, José Van Dam, Roberto Alagna, Angela Giorghiu, Natalie Dessay, Felicity Lott and Roland Petit.

From then on requests flow in the children appeared on the most prestigious world lyrical stages such as Aix festival, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Opéra Comique, Madrid Royal Theatre, Baalbeck Festival. They rapidly became wonderful ambassadors for French vocal music and in their 20 years of existence, they have sung in over 30 countries spread over the five continents.

The Paris National Opera Children’s Choir will give a concert on February 8 at 19h30 at Howard College Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Entrance is free.

More information from Alliance Française de Durban on 031 312 9582, e-mail: infodbn@global.co.za, or the School of Music UKZN on 031 260 3353, email: marid1@ukzn.ac.za or visit www.lamaitrise.com




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