Country house opera
Opéra de Baugé’s concept is unique in France, if not in the United Kingdom. It enables opera lovers to combine the fascination of an operatic performance with the relaxing pleasure of a meal with friends in a beautiful and charming setting.
Performances at Les Capucins begin at 6pm or 7pm and there is a 90 minute interval for dining. There is a bar selling a selection of drinks including the local Loire wines and a gourmet restaurant managed by a talented young chef. Many people bring their own picnic to eat on the grass or at a finely-decorated table, but one can equally book a picnic basket prepared by Maison Bernard Boulanger-Pâtissier of Baugé as well as renting tables and chairs.
The garden is arranged on three levels with parterres, lawns and wooded spots, where a fountain, stream and hollows provide picnic spots for all tastes. In the event of rain one can shelter in the various tents provided. In this peaceful and refined atmosphere where artists and audience mix together, you are quite likely to come across musicians playing a piece of music purely for pleasure.
The Baugeois adventure
Arrive early to take a stroll in the gardens, choose your picnic spot, or take tea in the tent set aside for this purpose.
Choose your spot by the fountain on the upper parterre, on the lawn lower down, along the “douve” (the old fishponds of the Capucin monks who built Les Capucins in the 16th century), in the clearing around the giant statue of a stag, or in the stand of poplars.
Go over to the theatre for the curtain-up at 6pm or 7pm.
At the end of the first part you have 90 minutes to dine, in the restaurant in the orangery or in the gardens where you will have reserved a picnic or bought your own with you. You can sit on the grass
or at a table, which you will either have brought with you or reserved with us, whichever you prefer.
The bar will serve wines, coffee and sandwiches (though you must order the last before the show starts so that they can be prepared).
The bell will warn you that the second part is shortly to begin.
At the end of the performance you can stay around in the gardens to admire the clear evening sky (hopefully) and the canopy of stars.
And to round off the evening, why not go into the town and join musicians and other operagoers in a local bar. The three weeks of our festival are intense and unforgettable. Everybody who has experienced it thinks only of returning next year.
Opéra de Baugé was founded in 2002 by John and Bernadette Grimmett at Les Capucins, their property in Baugé en Anjou. The festival takes place in July and August and now includes three operas in our own original productions, performed in a temporary theatre erected for the season, as well as concerts of classical music in historical locations of the commune of Baugé en Anjou.
Since its inaugural season Opéra de Baugé has presented operas every year in late-July and early-August, from the best-known (Carmen, Magic Flute, La traviata) to the most forgotten (Le Postillon de Lonjumeau and The Widow of Ephesus, which had not been performed for decades.
Go to our archive to see every work we have produced, together with cast information and photos.