This warm ritual will certainly remain associated with the particular flavor of this 75th edition, that of emotional reunions between artists and the public, after the long separation imposed by the global pandemic. On several occasions, the spectators spontaneously applauded Maurice Jarre’s trumpets which, preceded by the chirping of the swifts, mark the beginning of the performances. Much to their joy to find themselves under the stars of Provence, the festival-goers were less surly than usual folklore, more inclined to show their tenderness towards the artists than their disapproval.
→ READ. A “Cherry Orchard” bursting with life at the Avignon Festival
A more consensual audience, like a beautiful program of which no piece has however really unleashed passions, at most a few disagreements, politely expressed. As for this Cherry orchard with pop accents which opened with fanfare the three weeks of festivities just a few hours after the appointment, express and without great surprise, of its director, Tiago Rodrigues as successor to Olivier Py. The latter will sign its last program next summer and the Portuguese director will follow suit to concoct the 2023 edition.
Words and pictures
This fairly eclectic 2021 festival will have, at the start of the festival, devoted beautiful river writings with the powerful Fraternity by Caroline Guiela Nguyen, the trilogy Territories, by Baptiste Amman and the last night of the world, by Laurent Gaudé.
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This edition was also that of images: the troupe of Nathalie Béasse, poignant concentration of humanity in Those-who-go-against-the-wind, Angelica Lidell defying a life-size false bull before cursing the spectators, the dancers of Marcos Morau whirling under the high walls of the Palace of the Popes. We will of course retain the emotion aroused by the poetic and battered characters of the Sicilian Emma Dante, and in the last days, the prophetic constructions of Phia Ménard, with her immoral tales trilogy (for Europe) created at the Opéra Confluence, this cardboard temple, replaced after the flood by a rickety tower.
The regret of two promising shows
We regret the two promising shows that the Covid-19 deprived us of: The sacrifice by the South African choreographer Dada Masilo, who should have captivated the Carmelite Cloister, and Ink of the Greek choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou, decidedly unhappy in Avignon, since he was, in 2020, one of the headliners of the canceled edition.
→ READ. Festival d’Avignon 2021: Emma Dante’s little world
Nevertheless, 45 pieces were presented during this edition which counted 300 curtain raisings in front of a very present public, since the performance rate of the shows rose to 84%. “The joy of this edition has largely counterbalanced the sadness of having canceled the last one., concluded Olivier Py in his report drawn up on July 24. The festival has triumphed over so many things over the decades. He is the example of an immense collective effort against all fatalities, and therefore he is in himself a Hope. “