Le Cheylard (Ardeche)
From our regional correspondent
Alain, 70, admits having always “bathed in rock and roll culture” and yet, for a few years now, he has been willingly bewitched by opera arias. The pensioner, who has lived for a long time in Cheylard, in Ardèche, had never had contact with the lyrical art or that of the ballet until this evening in the summer of 2015, when the latter were invited for the first time. on these rural lands… The experience, offered by the Opéra national de Lyon: a performance of the ballet Atvakhabar Rhapsodies (by the duo Barcellos and Biscuit) broadcast on a giant screen, live and free of charge. This unique show, organized at the foot of the Château de la Chèze and launched at sunset, had everything to seduce: “Since then, I have never missed a single edition! », says Alan.
Launched in 2009, this operation now has around thirty partner municipalities in the region, from Cusset (Allier) to Usson-en-Forez (Loire), seven of which will host the next edition devoted to Peer Gynt (Edvard Grieg), between June 11 and August 14. “Natural mission of public service” in the eyes of the director of the institution, Richard Brunel, it has become essential for Jacques Chabal, mayor of Cheylard and president of the community of communes of Val’Eyrieux: “We try to offer cultural events throughout the year, but we don’t have the means to build a real season”, explains the city councilor, who is delighted to show and hear works of such quality. “We tend to forget it, but the rural public deserves it as much as that of a metropolis! »
Among the 130 people who come together on average each year, locals who are fans of opera or simply curious, but also spectators arriving from Haute-Loire and the first tourists of the season, attracted by a “enchanter”. On the heights of the city, the projection system is installed in front of the facade of a 13th century castle. The amphitheater, made of chairs and benches, takes place in a park with centuries-old trees, surrounded by mountains. “You have to imagine, with the mild air of a summer evening and the last rays of light”, says Jacques Chabal. On the program, landmark works, “of which the public is familiar without knowing it” specifies Richard Brunel, but also some risk-taking (The Golden Rooster, Blue Beard…). Once the curtains are closed and the lights are off, the mayor enjoys measuring the public’s pleasure “for the length of his silence”…
The event, which is always the subject of intense towing at the beginning of the summer, is also unifying in the town: “Last year, traders took the opportunity to celebrate the Cheylard! » The technical organization, for its part, always mobilizes part of the municipality: on site, the services offered by the Opera are supplemented by the work of technical agents and a sound and image specialist. “It is a complete and symbolic partnership”, emphasizes Richard Brunel. The professional would like to take advantage of the years to come to extend this dynamic of “cultural decentralization” – already reinforced by a traveling opera and several participatory projects – to other towns in the region, particularly in rural areas.