ABS is pleased to announce an upcoming partnership with the Alliance Française de San Francisco during the weeks leading up the ABS Festival & Academy, August 7-16. To celebrate and further explore the Festival theme of “Versailles & The Parisian Baroque,” the partnership will feature a film series and a pre-Festival lecture by ABS violinist Robert Mealy.
The Alliance Française de San Francisco is an educational institution that is dedicated to the promotion of French culture and language. They offer language courses, exhibitions, library services, and education resources to the French speaking community and students of the language within San Francisco. One of their most popular programs is French cinema night, held every Tuesday evening in their theater at 1345 Bush Street. As part of the collaboration with ABS, the films schedule in mid-late July will explore the theme of the French Baroque with two films set during the period when France was the seat of European glamor, splendor, invention, and political might. Through the creations of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marin Marais, and Jean-Philippe Rameau it was clearly an extraordinary center of music, opera, and theater, as well.
Free Film Series
On July 21 at 7:00 p.m., the Alliance Française will screen Laurent Tirard’s 2007 film, Molière. Profiling Lully’s favored librettist for the comédie-ballet performed for (and occasionally featuring the dancing of) King Louis XIV, the film is a visual feast of period detail and French wit. Set during the 1660s before Molière became the country’s leading (and most controversial) comedian and playwright, the film follows Molière, played by Romain Duris, through a series of amusing and romantic adventures to his inspiration. In the tradition of the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, this French film is a delightful portrait of a man as a artist, lover, and lovable rascal.
On July 28 at 7:00 p.m., Patrice Leconte’s Ridicule will be shown. The wit and naughtiness of the French court of Louis XVI are the focus in this film. The stunning cinematography and, again, exquisite period detail of Ridicule provide a gorgeous backdrop for the lively banter and clever take-downs of a group of privileged aristocrats. The extravagance that took root a century earlier during the reign of the Louis XIV reaches its decadent extreme in the Versailles of the 1780s. Fatally removed from the lives of average French men and women of Paris and the surrounding country, the cruel games of the privileged classes end abruptly when a new social order topples the French aristocracy in revolution.
Providing excellent bookends for the music, lectures, and colloquia that will be featured during the ABS Festival & Academy, Molière and Ridicule span the emergence of France as the dominant power in Europe until its inevitable fall; together they provide a perfect double-feature for getting into the spirit of the era!
Free Pre-Festival Lecture on the Parisian Baroque
As a special treat for Alliance Française members and fans of ABS, violinist Robert Mealy will present a pre-Festival lecture at the Alliance Française on Friday, July 31 at 7:00 p.m. A renowned authority on the music of the period, Mealy is well-known to ABS concertgoers from his engaging pre-concert lectures and stellar performances with the ensemble. Mealy is the Director of Juilliard’s Historical Performance Program, a member of the ABS Academy Faculty, and an accomplished musician who appears on more than 80 recordings. Save the date for Mr. Mealy’s lecture which will surely be an ideal preparation for the ABS Festival & Academy, opening a week later on August 7 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Both films and the lecture are free and open to the public, though donations to the Alliance Française are appreciated.
Single tickets and Festival passes for the 2015 ABS Festival & Academy, along with a full schedule, are available at sfbachfestival.org. If you would like to receive a free Festival brochure, you may request one from our website or call the ABS Office at (415) 621-7900.