© Ville de Menton - Service de la Communication - Patrick Varotto

Menton Music Festival

A wonder of a festival

“The sense of peaceful and serene joy, that’s the miracle of the Saint-Michel forecourt and Festival. It’s one of the seven wonders of the world,” the quote by the festival founder André Böröcz comes from Sviatoslav Richter, one of the 20th century’s greatest pianists. It beautifully captures the essence of the Menton Music Festival that has hosted the most talented musicians since 1949 and rekindled its original emotion year on year.

The miracle

of the Saint-Michel forecourt.

André Böröcz, a Hungarian artist who settled in Paris after the war, stopped in Menton in August 1949. Whilst wandering around the old town, he was dumbstruck by the Saint-Michel Basilica forecourt and the unobstructed views of the Mediterranean. The notes from the second violin partita by Bach performed by Jasha Heifetz on the radio floated to him as emotion welled up in him. Time stood still. André Böröcz made a wish: to relive this magical moment and share it with others. And lo, the Menton Music Festival was born.

Cocteau and the Festival,

a love affair

Jean Cocteau fell head over heels for Menton on August 4th 1955 at a Music Festival concert. He wrote of the evening in his diary: “You couldn’t imagine anything stranger. You arrive on softly sloping stairs into a huge well of light, shadow, elaborate walls and sparse walls, Italian in style. The cathedral, its spire seen from below, its steep steps to other religious buildings and a giant archway bridging houses with pale green shutters home to working class families whose windows become theatre stalls.” That night, Cocteau met his future friend, Menton mayor Francis Palermo. He commissioned Cocteau to design the Menton Music Festival poster in 1956.

A top

event

The biggest names on the music scene have been setting the stage alight on the Saint-Michel basilica forecourt in “Les grands interprètes” concerts for just over 70 years.

Orchestra performances, chamber music concerts, recitals, the schedule puts the spotlight on classical music but with supporting roles for jazz and opera. Let’s applaud the festival’s incredible creativity which really pushed the boundaries in 2020. Live streamed concerts, Wi-Fi headsets and online performances: lockdown unlocked innovation.

Festival

side shows

There are concerts on Saint-Michel’s forecourt and performances in new venues. They set the scene for up-and-coming talents. The free concerts bring the festival magic to Menton’s legendary landmarks: Esplanade Francis Palermo, Square des Etats-Unis, Palais de l’Europe and Esplanade des Sablettes.

72nd Music Festival

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