Official godmother, the mezzo-soprano talks about her role, her ties with Montpellier, her European ideal.
Nice chose the former Minister of Culture Jean-Jacques Aillagon, Bourges the Goncourt Hervé le Tellier award, Rouen the actor Philippe Torreton… For its candidacy for European Capital of Culture 2028, Montpellier became bolder by focusing on the youth of Adèle Charvet , born in this city in 1993, a rising star on the French opera scene.
“I was extremely surprised, honored and almost intimidated” Trust this very natural mezzo-soprano. “I am the face of this wonderful adventure but the artistic coordination is in the hands of Nicolas Dubourg. My role of representation suits me perfectly” adds Adèle, who embodies a new creative generation, heading Montpellier’s bid.
“Everything is still to be written because the file will not be delivered until December. Everyone can express themselves, we are in the phase of collecting proposals. This application can transform urban space, especially in neighborhoods where culture is still lacking.” Adèle Charvet sees herself as a “mediator between young people and cultural decision-makers”.
Access to his universe, classical music, is not always easy. “Young people do not easily identify with it because they are not sensitized early enough. It is necessary to offer keys of understanding from an early age to, at least, awaken interest in vocations in the best of cases” he says, citing the tremendous work of Opéra Junior at the Montpellier Opera. He also mentions the free concerts at the Radio France Festival where he used to “overdose” of music.
Childhood in New York
His adopted and adored grandfather, the writer Frédéric-Jacques Temple, who took him to concerts and gave him records, introduced him to French melody and lied. “I grew up with his poems. He was an exceptional man, we miss him very much” she confesses, still shaken. Tutelary figure of the cultural life of Montpellier, Frédéric-Jacques Temple, who died at the age of 98 in 2020, would have been proud of this new role of Adèle.
Another asset of the ambassador of Montpellier European Capital of Culture: its openness to the world. She likes to remember her identity. “melting pot” : a Cameroonian grandfather, distant origins in Algeria, others in Catalonia. He spent his early childhood in New York, where his father, composer Pierre Charvet, taught at the Manhattan School. He steeped himself in French-English bilingualism long before he sang operas in Italian, German, and Spanish. “My work takes me to the stages of Europe and I am very attached to the European ideal”.
She could have become an athlete like her mother, Nadine, and her aunts, Marie and Monique Ewanjée-Epée, elite athletes. “I had sports facilities but very soon I dedicated myself to singing, which made me happy. My parents understood it, putting everything in motion so that this passion was born without forcing anything”. The National Conservatory of Paris dedicates its training to him. There he founded with friends the vocal quartet L’Archipel.
She saves the concert
In 2019, he recorded a first album with pianist Susan Manoff, “Long time ago” where he performed English scores by Copland, Britten, Barber… The same year, his career accelerated when he replaced David DQ Lee on short notice in “The Messiah” by Handel at the Radio France Auditorium in Paris. The long-suffering countertenor had to throw in the towel at intermission. Adèle spontaneously offers her voice to chef Valentin Tournet, who is her friend. The young mezzo-soprano saves the concert to the cheers of the audience. And she attracts the attention of the profession.
In 2021, he did two main lead roles in “Pelleas and Melisande” in Rouen and “Carmen” in Bordeaux. she is currently rehearsing “The Barber of Seville” at the Capitole in Toulouse, the role of Rosine, which she has already performed at the Montpellier Opera. In June she sings baroque with the Concert de la Loge for a mini tour that goes through the Festival of Saint-Denis and Saint Michel in Thiérache, then a recital in London around Carmen.
But soon you will have to slow down because you are waiting for a happy event. Which is not incompatible with her role as ambassador. She currently listens to music from the Sahara, “relaxing for baby”. Also on his playlist are the “I was Mater” of Scarlatti, of American hip-hop, and of the Beatles that he likes a lot. A crucible hell!
The candidature project
Montpellier officially launched its candidacy on March 31 to be the city that will represent France as European Capital of Culture in 2028. The urban area of Sète and several communities of the Hérault municipalities (Lunel, Agde/Pézenas, Pic Saint-Loup , Gignac ) are associated with this candidacy that aims to unite the living forces of culture based on two elements: youth and creativity. Mezzo-soprano Adèle Charvet was chosen as godmother. Nicolas Dubourg, director of the Théâtre de La Vignette, is the artistic director in charge of coordination. At the beginning of June, the publication of a call for projects will allow cultural associations and operators to be actors in this candidature by proposing events. The pre-file must be completed in December. Four candidate cities, selected during the first half of 2023, will continue to enrich their project. The winning city will be designated in 2024. It will have four years to become the European Capital of Culture in 2028.