Let’s save the house of Georges Bizet in Bougival!


Launch of the Participatory Fundraising campaign at www.dartagnans.fr/Carmen  to save the house of Georges Bizet and create the Space Carmen to be integrated into the future cultural, scientific and tourist centre of Bougival: The European Centre of Music (CEM).

Campaign under the patronage of Europa Nostra, chaired by Plácido Domingo, Initiated by the Association Amis de Georges Bizet and by the CEM, respectively chaired by Teresa Berganza et Jorge Chaminé. Implemented and coordinated by the crowdfunding agency, Dartagnans.

The house of Georges Bizet, the Frênes Domain, the house of Berthe Morisot: A heritage and a cultural treasure

In a natural landscape of exceptional charm, on the banks of the Seine, 20 km west of Paris, the commune of Bougival has a heritage and cultural treasure perched on the Hill of the Impressionnists, unique and little known to the general public.

The house of Georges Bizet

This is where the composer wrote and orchestrated his best known work, Carmen, in 1874. Staged in 1875 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, three months before the composer’s death, Carmen be­came one of the most famous operas performed in the world.

Periodically opened to the public since 2010, Georges Bizet’s house invites visitors to really dive into a timeless atmosphere that gives a precise idea of the places where life and creation took place in the romantic era.

Bizet was also very close to Pauline Viardot, of whom he was a neighbour, both in Paris and Bougival, and who ardently defended Carmen’s score after the composer’s death. Like Brahms, and a few years later, Tchaïkovski, Nietzsche and Mahler, she contributed to the recognition of Carmen as one of the greatest masterpieces of lyric art.

The Frênes Domain

Charmed by the magic of theses places, Jorge Chaminé, baritone and recognized pedagogue, and founder of the Amis de Georges Bizet, has organized, since 2000, a series of public master classes, here, where the houses of Pauline Viardot and Ivan Turgenev stand. In 2008, he created a festival and in that same year invited the great Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza for annual master classes, enabling young singers, at the beginning of their careers, to benefit from the teaching of this immense singer. In the 80’s, Berganza, an unparalleled interpreted of Mozart and Rossini, also played the title role of Carmen in a legendary performance, alongside Plácido Domingo and under the direction of Claudio Abbado.

The Viardot Villa

The villa1 where Pauline Viardot (1821-1910) lived. She was an illustrous singer, interpreter of the operas of Rossini, Berlioz, Meyerbeer and Gounod, sister of La Malibran and a great figure in the cultural life of the time.

A rich and charismatic personality, Pauline Viardot lived through the entire 19th century (she knew both Da Ponte – Mozart’s librettist – and Stravinsky!) and led a prestigious career around the world. A woman of letters and culture, a talented composer, she hosted the most fashionable salons at her home in Paris, Bougival and Baden-Baden, where she entertained artists and intellectuals from all over Europe.

A friend of Liszt, George Sand and Turgenev, among others, she regularly stayed in Bougival, in this folie of the Directoire style, built in 1830.

A heritage and a cultural treasure

The Datcha of Turgenev

This is the datcha that the Russian writer, in love with Pauline Viardot and a friend of the Viardot couple, built in 1874, and where he received Flaubert, Hugo, Maupassant et Zola. He wrote some of his most famous works and died there, in the arms of Pauline Viardot, in 1883.

Transformed into a Turgenev museum in 1983, this intimate place is still furnished as it was during the lifetime of its owner, thanks to the remarkable commitment of Alexandre Zviguilsky, a great expert in Turgenev, a university professor and founder of the Association of Friends of Ivan Turgenev.

The house of Berthe Morisot

The house where Berthe Morisot dwelled and lived in the 1880s. There she painted several major paintings: la Fable, Eugène Manet and her daughter in the garden, In the Veranda, Garden in Bougival, immortalizing the commune of Bougival, one of the emblematic places in Impressionism, represented in many paintings.

Threatened for many years, the site is today at the heart of an ambitious and multidisciplinary cultural project designed by Jorge Chaminé: the European Centre of Music (CEM) in Bougival, project that the baritone campaigns for and has passionately carried out for ten years and which is scheduled to open in 2022.

A crowdfunding campaign of 3 million Euros to save the house of Georges Bizet and create the Space Carmen

To save Georges Bizet’s house and integrate it into the project of the futur CEM, a fundraising campaign is organized from June 21 to October 25, 2017. Only thanks to the donors can the project be carried out.

The first aim of this campaign is to collect 900,000 Euros for the purchase of the house itself, then 560,000 Euros for its restoration.

The investment includes the interior as well as the exterior restoration of the building, the creation of a museum space dedicated to Bizet, an artists’ residence for writers and musicians and the acquisition of collections.

The second aim of this campaign is to create the Space Carmen in front of the house of Georges Bizet, in the buildings called “The Farm”, now owned by Bougival. It will be a visitor reception area, which includes an exhibition space around Bizet masterpiece, a recording studio and a multifunctional concert hall where the CEM will organize concerts, master classes, lectures and screenings. Its cost is estimated at 1,540,000 Euros.

The platform of donations online www.dartagnans.fr/Carmen

The participative financing campaign is initiated and coordinated by Dartagnans, a participative financing agency specializing in fundraising, communication, creation and dissemination of content for all types of cultural, heritage and tourism projects.

This campaign will allow everyone to contribute to the implementation of this extraordinary project.

In return, privileges, surprises and gifts will be offered to the donors, who will see their name engraved on one of the walls of the Space Carmen.

The participation in this fundraising is open to everyone and from one Euro, on the platform Dartagnans.fr.

Dartagnans, participative financing agency

Co-founders: Bastien Goullard and Romain Delaume

Dartagnans is a participative financing agency specializing in fundraising, communication, creation and dissemination of content for all types of cultural, heritage and tourism projects.

Created in September 2015, Dartagnans has already accompanied 120 project promoters around its three main activities: the digital agency, the crowdfunding platform dedicated to the collecting of donations online and the social network of influence.

CEM project (European Centre of Music)

Integrated into a landscaped park specially remodeled for the purpose, the houses of Bizet, Pauline Viardot, Turgenev and Berthe Morisot will be the pillars of the new cultural area of Bougival: The European Centre of Music (CEM), a living, modern, forward-looking place that embodies the humanist values that symbolize European culture.

Anchored to one of the most productive artistic periods in art history, the CEM will be both a heritage site celebrating artists of the romantic era and a musical academy welcoming young artists in education period.

It will open its doors to the public, by means of a quality program (concerts, conference, public master classes…).

Another purpose is for the CEM to become, from the very day of its inauguration, a reference point of transdisciplinary study on 19th century music, thus open to other academic fields (literature, visual arts, history, philosophy, theater…).

As a place of passing on knowledge, residence and exchange, the CEM has also the potential to become a centre of research on neurosciences and more specifically on the links between music and brain. Regular residencies are thus foreseen so that neuroscientists might work especially on the particularly powerful driving role that music can play in the assimilation of general knowledge and in the treatment of certain pathologies, autism in particular.

The people behind the project

The Town of Bougival

Luc Wattelle, Mayor of Bougival, is committed to defending and developing this European project with a cultural, heritage and tourist vocation, through which Bougival can become one of the emblems of the European consciousness.

The town hall of Bougival, conscious of the treasure it owns, has already begun to carry out operations essential to the success of the project, such as the acquisition of the house of Berthe Morisot and the grounds known as “Mercedes.”

Les Amis de Georges Bizet

President: Teresa Berganza

Vice-President: Jorge Chaminé

Association founded in 2000 by the baritone and pedagogue, a man of combat and culture, Jorge Chaminé, Amis de Georges Bizet, whose presidency was for a long time entrusted to the writer and journalist passionate about opera Jean Lacouture, is today led by the great Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza. Its objective is to preserve the memory of Georges Bizet, to contribute to the promotion of the little-known works of the composer and to organize exhibitions and cultural events related to the 19th century.

The association also helps to promote the Bougival site including Bizet’s house, Pauline Viardot’s Villa, Ivan Turgenev’s Datcha and Impressionist Hill.

Association CEM (European Centre of Music)

President: Jorge Chaminé

The association founded in 2014, has become the bearer of the great project designed by its president, Jorge Chaminé. Now supported by the town of Bougival and by Bénita Carteron, its general secretary, the objective of the CEM is to bring together on the banks of the Seine, the Golden triangle – Villa Viardot, Turgenev’s Datcha and the house of Bizet/Space Carmen – and the Hill of the Impressionists including the house of Berthe Morisot and the Machine of Marly, for a vast cultural, educational, scientific and tourist project.

Europa Nostra

President: Plácido Domingo

Chief Executive Officer: Denis de Kergorlay

General Secretary: Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic

European Federation of Cultural Heritage, Europa Nostra is a citizen movement created to safeguard Europe’s cultural and natural heritage. It brings together over 450 associations and regularly collaborates with international organizations, in particular the European Union, the Council of Europe and UNESCO, which has recognized it as an NGO partner with an advisory role.


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