At the Lied Drive-in Festival, performers are applauded by horns. Unusual atmosphere at the concert of Marina Viotti and Christian Chamorel.

Since July 25, the car park of the Charmey mechanical installations has been welcoming pedestrians and motorists for amplified chamber music concerts.

KEYSTONE/Anthony Anex

The Charmey gondola car park has become an auditorium of a very special kind, as the first classical music drive-in takes place there. A stage and a giant screen have been installed in front of the reception building. Every evening until July 31, volunteers, in traditional Gruyérien dress, welcome and place the cars in a fan pattern in the slightly sloping parking lot. The first “rows” are reserved for spectators coming on foot or by public transport: four chairs are provided for each virtual car location – this is the requirement set by the municipality of Val-de-Charmey for this initiative which must not nothing to a veneration of the automobile, but everything to a die-hard resistance to save the disaster cultural summer.

Save the cultural summer

“I have the impression of being in a village of irreducible Gauls!” laughs Marie-Claude Chappuis, at the origin of the project. The mezzo-soprano has found in Charmey the enchanting place to relocate her Lied Festival in Friborg, which should have been held in 2021 in the capital of the canton. But the pandemic having canceled all her commitments, the soloist felt the absolute need to offer musicians the opportunity to perform as quickly as possible in public. By inventing from scratch this offbeat concept of musical drive-in.

“I have the impression of being in a village of irreducible Gauls!”

Marie-Claude Chappuis, mezzo-soprano and initiator of the Drive-in Festival

Going up to Charmey on a clear summer evening is already a pleasure in itself. To find, as was the case on Monday, the pianist Christian Chamorel and the mezzo-soprano Marina Viotti on stage is another, enriched moreover by the danced solos of Nicole Morel on some “Romances without words”, but not without emotions. , by Félix Mendelssohn at the opening. The vocal program also mixed genres. Despite the excessive space, the singer manages to create a warm intimacy with the public, an intensity of expression also in three sublime melodies by Henri Duparc – “luxury, calm and pleasure”, everything was there. A blossoming detour by Rossini closes the classical part, the singing turn then taking a resolutely jazzy turn with Britten, Bolcolm and a stunning “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone. The parked vehicles stamp their horns and headlights to greet the unexpected return on stage of artists filled with this demonstrative sharing!