The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s “French Festival,” its fifth annual February music fair, will this year focus on a nation’s music rather than an individual composer.
The festival runs Feb. 6-25.
The festival will include six orchestra programs, film screenings, wine tasting and a romantic Valentine’s Day cabaret starring singer Cyrille Aimée.
In comments to The Detroit News last year, Music Director Leonard Slatkin noted that his experience as music director of the Orchestre Nationale de Lyon has familiarized him with the country’s musical repertoire.
Previous DSO winter festivals were devoted to Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Mozart.
“This year I wanted to do a country instead,” Slatkin said, “and one that’s not so known for its symphonic repertoire. The French didn’t write so many symphonies. For the most part, they wrote other kinds of music.”
Slatkin-conducted concerts in Orchestra Hall will include an all-Ravel program, an all-Saint-Saëns program, an evening of Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and Milhaud’s “A Frenchman in New York,” Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” as well as Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” and Debussy’s “La Mer.”
Guest soloists will include violinist Renaud Capuçon, and pianists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, George Li and Christina and Michelle Naughton.
Looking for lighter fare? The Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube adjacent to Orchestra Hall will stage free screenings of French film shorts, as well as a yoga session amusingly titled Om @ Le Max.
Also in the mix are a wine tasting featuring rare French wines and live music, performances by French Afropop phenoms Les Nubians, and a final special performance by the Wu Family Academy Showcase, with the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles.
‘French Festival’ at Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Feb. 6-Feb. 25
Max M. and Marjorie S. Music Center
3711 Woodward, Detroit