The Opéra Les Azuriales (Les Azuriales Opera Festival), founded in 1997 by Sarah Holford, the Festival's President, and others from the local community. It takes place each year in August on Cap Ferrat, a part of the Côte d'Azur in France.
The Festival features about four small-scale productions of operas, mainly to piano accompaniment, plus recitals and soloists' concerts. It attracts international audiences of up to 200 people, especially those from Britain.
Sarah Holford was introduced to a small opera company in England, Diva Opera, which had been presenting chamber opera in country houses and similar venues for many years. Founded in 1996, Diva Opera now performs in many parts of Europe, and the company was eager to become part of the Festival. Bryan Evans, the company's Music Director, took on that role with the Festival. Another major contributor was Dominique Lelandais, a resident of St Jean and now Vice-President of the Festival, whose drive and local knowledge were key factors in bringing the Festival to life.
The covered patio of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild provides an intimate space for a fully staged operas performed in the round. The Festival describes the experience as "like a modern equivalent of an 18th century soirée, which is how the Villa was originally intended to be used by Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild".
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