DIVINE MUSICAL SISTER ACT IS COMING TO MONACO

La comédie musicale Sister Act arrive à Monaco! The Sister Act musical is coming to Monaco!

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Hallelujah! The musical Sister Act is finally making its way to Monaco this summer, and promises to answer the prayers of local music fans.

Based on the mega-hit 1992 film of the same name that starred Whoopi Goldberg,Sister Act follows club singer, Deloris Van Cartier, who, after witnessing a murder committed by her gangster boyfriend, is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found … a convent. There, disguised as a nurse, she first finds herself at odds with the rigid lifestyle imposed by the uptight Mother Superior, but after taking over direction of the choir, she soon discovers a sisterhood she never had before.

The action may no longer be set in 1990’s Reno, now taking place in the Philadelphia of the 1970’s, but it hasn’t lost any of the ingredients that made the movie such a success in the first place. On the contrary, with its mixture of motown beats, soul, funk and, of course, disco, it acquires a brand new and more extravagant identity that should get the audience jumping to their feet, even though the stage version features none of the numbers featured in the film.

Created in 2006, the show was first performed in California and the southern United States, before moving to London in 2009 with a cast that included Goldberg herself. With a book written by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, lyrics by Glen Slater and music by Alan Menken, the musical was a huge hit and has since been performed in many theatres around the world.

For this new production, directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, under the musical supervision of Sarah Travis, it will star Alexandra Burke, winner of the X Factor UK, who, just a few months ago reprised, to much critical acclaim, the role of the great Whitney Houston in the onstage version of The Bodyguard.

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Sister Act the Musical plays at the Salle Garnier in the Opéra de Monte-Carlo from the 16th to the 20th of August at 8:30pm. Tickets cost €70 and may be reserved online.

CONTACT DETAILS
Opéra de Monte-Carlo
(Salle Garnier)
Place du Casino
MC 98000 Monaco

All images courtesy Sister Act The Musical

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DUANE HANSON AT VILLA PALOMA – A SLICE OF MIDDLE AMERICA

Un goût d’Amérique profonde cet été à Monaco avec l’expo Duane Hanson. A taste of Middle America this summer in Monaco with the Duane Hanson exhibit.

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Throughout the summer and running until 28th August, the Villa Paloma in Monaco presents the work of the late American sculptor, Duane Hanson.

Duane Hanson was an artist who, throughout his 40-year career, insisted on showing the other side of the American dream, thanks to his hyper-realistic representations of working-class citizens, warts and all.

I want to achieve a certain tough realism which speaks of the fascinating idiosyncrasies of our times”, Hanson once said. The work he left behind certainly does that, creating powerful vignettes of real life.

The artist has always been fascinated with ordinary people, many of whom he believed had been marginalized by society. Born in Alexandria in rural Minnesota in 1925, Hanson lived in Germany from 1953 to 1960 where he worked as an art teacher for the U.S. Army school system. It was at that time that he started experimenting with polyester resin and fibreglass.

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Back in his native country, where he continued working as a professor in a variety of universities, he submitted a controversial piece entitled Abortion to the 1965 annual Sculptors of Florida exhibition, depicting a young pregnant girl on a table covered in a white linen sheet. While some of the artist’s early life-sized tableaux represented soldiers killed in action, police brutality and homeless people, this sculpture drew lots of criticism and shocked the public. This negative reaction did not stop Hanson from producing radical works and making strong political statements.  Repairmen, waitresses, bricklayers, security guards … the subjects of his sculptures confronted the viewers with largely untold stories, and while Hanson was inspired at first by the pop movement, his art actually grew out of a highly developed social conscience.

To give such a sense of realism to his work, Duane Hanson often used live models, including family and friends. The sculptures were then painted in great detail before being finished with hair, clothing and accessories.

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Duane Hanson,

Nouveau Musée National de Monaco Villa Paloma Duane Hanson,

The Duane Hanson exhibit at the Villa Paloma runs until the 28th of August. Tickets costs €6 and opening hours are from 11am to 7pm daily.

CONTACT DETAILS
Villa Paloma
56, Boulevard du Jardin Exotique
98000 Monaco

Tel: +377 98 98 91 26

All images courtesy Nouveau Musée National de Monaco; © NMNM/François Fernandez

DISCOVER NICE’S HIDDEN SECRETS WITH LOCAL AUTHOR MARGO LESTZ

Mon entretien avec l’auteur niçois Margo Lestz pour Riviera Buzz. My interview with local author Margo Lestz for Riviera Buzz.

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Passionate about both Europe and history, local author Margo Lestz writes mostly about the French Riviera and France.

American author Margo Lestz has written two books, French Holidays & Traditions and Curious Histories of Nice, France, full of engaging stories and fun facts about the place we call home.

To help you get to know Margo and her work better, she very kindly agreed to sit down with us and answer a few questions.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I always say I’m a perpetual student because throughout my life, I’ve had the desire to go to school. Sometimes just for a course or two, and sometimes for degrees. My university years started at the age of 17 and ended when I was in my 50s – that is, if they have, indeed, ended … I have a degree in liberal studies because I could never decide on just one subject to study.

What brought you to France, and Nice in particular?

My husband and I are American by birth, and we moved to London in 2003 and took British citizenship. London is a fantastic city and I love it, but because of health issues, I needed a warmer winter climate. The south of France seemed like a good choice, since I had studied a little bit of French, and Nice was the most practical location because of the airport being close to the city centre. So, Nice was really a practical choice, but right away, we fell in love with the city.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I know many writers say they have written stories all their life, but not me. I never even thought about writing until 2003 when I took a creative writing course. I was trying to finish up a degree before I left the US and my advisor said this creative writing course would fit in with my requirements. I took it and to my surprise, I found that I really enjoyed writing.

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Your first book was about French Holidays and traditions. What is your favourite tradition?

Well, I really like the story behind May 1st and the lily-of-the-valley flower. It seems the tradition started in 1561 when Charles IX took the throne. He was a pretty unlucky king and had all kinds of tragedies during his reign. Once on May 1st, when his kingdom was in a mess and his people were starving, he tried to cheer them up by having his soldiers pass out lily-of-the-valley flowers in Paris. This was supposed to be a symbol of good luck, but because everyone was hungry, they ate the flowers (which are poisonous) and Charles ended up killing many of his loyal subjects. However, the lily-of-the-valley’s reputation as a good luck symbol remained intact.

Your second book was about curious histories of Nice. Any unknown/fun facts you can share with us?

Many people don’t know that when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden that a band of angels felt sorry for them and led them across a beautiful bay to a land just as magnificent as their former garden. Of course, that land was Nice … at least according to the legend. This is one story to explain where the name Baie des Anges or Bay of Angels came from. For those who might not believe this legend, the proof is that Adam and Eve’s house is still standing in the Old Town – of course, there’s a good chance that it might not be the original.

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Have you any new projects in the pipeline at the moment?

I’m currently working on a book similar to Curious Histories of Nice, France, but with stories about Provence. Maybe it will be called Curious Histories of Provence – we’ll have to wait and see.

Typically, how long does it take to research your books? Where do you find your background information?

I don’t really get in a hurry; I think it took about two years to have enough information for the first two books. One reason it takes me a while to write a book is that I don’t always stick to one subject: I tend to work on multiple projects at the same time.

I really like researching and I use internet sources as well as books and periodicals. I prefer to research in French because there is more information and sometimes there is a bit of a different perspective.

What is the hardest part about writing for you?

For me, the hardest part of writing is physical. If I’m really into something, I just forget to stop, and I can end up sitting in front of my computer for many hours. My neck and shoulders get stiff, then when I get up … ouch!

And the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of writing is when other people appreciate my stories. Even if I like something I have written, there are still little doubts about whether it’s any good. When someone I don’t know says they enjoy it, it’s a good feeling.

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What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The best advice for an aspiring writer is to write. The more you write, the better you become and the more your style develops. I think it’s important to push through your first draft – don’t try to make everything perfect, just get it down. After all your ideas are down, then you can start to refine it.

Finally, what do you like so much about Nice and the French Riviera?

I like that Nice is big enough to have lots of activities going on all the time, but small enough to walk wherever you need to go. Being by the sea is a big bonus – even though I don’t swim, it’s still beautiful and calming to look at. I also find that most of the people here are very friendly and helpful and no one gets in much of a hurry about anything.

Many thanks to Margo for taking the time to talk to us. We are already looking forward to read her upcoming book! To find out more about Margo’s work, you can visit her website, The Curious Rambler.

All images courtesy Margo Lestz

 

GRACE KELLY – THE MAGICAL YEARS

Quelques mois après son expo consacrée à Jackie Kennedy, la Galerie Ferrero à Nice salut la mémoire de Grace Kelly. A few months after his exhibit dedicated to Jackie Kennedy, the Galerie Ferrero in Nice pays tribute to Grace Kelly.

The wedding of Oscar winning-actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco remains a fairy tale story that still fascinates people the world over.

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When it comes to iconic figures, few women can compare with Grace Kelly. Just a few months after celebrating another fascinating personality, Jackie Kennedy, Galerie Ferrero in Nice has decided to relive the timeless magic of this love story, as well as the following decade that saw the movie queen blossoming into a real European princess.

Not surprisingly, the exhibit ‘Grace Princesse de Monaco’ starts with pictures of the actress on the set of “To Catch a Thief”, the Alfred Hitchcock movie that brought her to the French Riviera for the first time.

It follows on with the photo shoot for an editorial feature organized by Paris Match in 1955 between the American beauty and the Prince of Monaco. Grace, who was only 26 years old at the time, was attending the Cannes Film Festival while the Monegasque royal, at nearly 32, was one of Europe’s most eligible bachelors. Dressed in a beautiful floral dress, we see her wandering through the palace’s gardens and small zoo as she is falling in love with her prince.

Less than a year later, the whirlwind romance led to a beautiful religious ceremony, held at the cathedral in Monaco on the 18th of April, 1956. In front of 600 guests, the American actress became Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco, and that was the beginning of what seemed to be for most onlookers an enchanted life on a little hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

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Through more photographs and official portraits, as well as a few personal artefacts, family memorabilia and movie posters, the exhibit goes on to explore both Grace’s public and private lives. It immerses the visitor in the years that followed the exchange of vows, the birth of their three children, and the new royals first steps into high society. The exhibition ends in the late 1960’s, with the movie star-turned-princess just celebrating her 40th birthday, having achieved the status of beacon of beauty, style and sophistication, a status that she still holds today, more than 30 years after her death.

Grace Princesse de Monaco’ runs until the 31st of August at Galerie Ferrero in Nice, and admission is €5 (€2 for students). Opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 2pm to 7pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 7pm.

CONTACT DETAILS
Galerie Ferrero
6, rue du Congrès
06000 Nice

Tel: + 33 4 93 88 34 44

 

THE TROOPS OF SAINT TROPEZ GET THEIR OWN MUSEUM

Louis de Funès et ses gendarmes ont enfin leur musée à Saint-Tropez. Louis de Funès and his gendarmes finally have their museum in Saint-Tropez.

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Saint Tropez’s Gendarmerie Nationale has been transformed into a museum dedicated to the gendarme Cruchot and his henchmen, as well as to French cinema.

With one of the most photographed facades in Saint Tropez, and made famous by the highly popular French comedy “Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez” (The Troops of Saint Tropez), the old Gendarmerie Nationale has been given a new lease on life as a museum.

After an 18 month reconstruction and renovation, the two storey building located on Place Blanqui not only pays tribute to the national police force and the famous troop starring the much beloved actors Louis de Funès (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob) and Michel Galabru (La Cage aux Folles), but also to the history of the septième art in France’s most famous little fishing village.

Since the 1950’s, Saint Tropez has attracted some of the world’s most famous filmmakers, as well as many iconic actors. Everybody, of course, remembers “Et Dieu créa la femme”, which turned the then relatively unknown Brigitte Bardot into the ultimate sex-symbol. Shot in 1955 by Bardot’s first husband, director Roger Vadim, the film definitely put the sleepy enclave on the map, as it followed an out-of-control 18-year old orphan who shakes up Saint Tropez.

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There is another glamourous celebrity couple closely linked with the village, Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. The pair starred in the 1969 classic “La Piscine”, a beautifully-shot drama of sexual jealousy and possessiveness that takes place entirely in a villa overlooking the gulf of Saint Tropez.

As for the gendarmes, there are no less than six movies that follow their adventures as they deal with issues like skinny dipping, reckless driving, and even extra-terrestrials!

The museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, except on the following days: the 1st of January, from the 15th of January to the 1st of February, the 1st of May, the 17th of May, and the 25th of December. Tickets cost €4 (free for children under 12 and only €2 for students under 26, gendarmes and jobseekers).

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CONTACT DETAILS
Musée de la gendarmerie et du cinéma
2, Place Blanqui
83990 Saint-Tropez

Tel : + 33 4 94 55 90 20

Images courtesy Musée de la gendarmerie et du cinéma

MATISSE OR WHEN EVERYDAY OBJECTS BECOME WORKS OF ART

Une autre semaine…Une autre expo à ne pas rater sur la Côte d’Azur. Another week…Another not-to-be missed exhibit on the French Riviera.

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In his book ‘Henri Matisse, Roman’, poet Louis Aragon compared Matisse’s collection of objects to a vocabulary.

Aragon, famed poet and close friend of the painter, goes on to point out that just like a writer needed words to nourish his art, Matisse found his inspiration in the objects surrounding him in his everyday life.

These objects, so important to the French painter, are now the subject of an exhibition that opened recently and runs throughout the summer at the Musée Matisse in Nice. Entitled ‘Henri Matisse: Une palette d’objets’,  the exciting event features fabrics, curtains, vases and furniture of various origins that all belonged to the artist alongside paintings, lithographs, and drawings containing these objects.

Collected over the years and covering different periods of the painter’s life, this vast palette allows visitors to better understand Matisse’s work, as well as his interests and sources of inspiration.

The exhibit also honours the wishes of his wife and children, when they donated more than a hundred objects and books to the city of Nice in order to help set up the museum, which opened in 1963. They wanted to create “a harmonious and coherent collection, permitting to follow the process and the different researches of the Master”.

Since then, this unique collection of objects, the main elements of which are already on display in the museum, has gradually been enriched by various acquisitions. This is the first time, however, that they have been shown side by side with the works of art representing them, thanks to prestigious loans from museums throughout the world.

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Matisse once said that “environment does create an object. Thus I have worked all my life with the same objects, which gave me the strength of reality, engaging my mind to all what these objects had been through for me, and with me”. The exhibit definitely shows that even the smallest source of inspiration can lead to the creation of great works of art.

Henri Matisse: Une palette d’objets’ runs until the 24th, September 2016 at the Musée Matisse in Nice. The museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission is free.

CONTACT DETAILS
Musée Matisse
164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez
06000 Nice

Tel: + 33 4 93 81 08 08

Second image © RIVIERA BUZZ