Saison 2014

9th edition of Musical Evenings at la Ballue..
6th edition of the “Topiary, Art and Mannerism” weekend.
3rd edition of the “Extension Sauvage” Dance Festival.Music, dance and good times in the Garden throughout the 2014 season


> Saturday March 8 at 3:00 PM.

A lecture presented by Nicole Kuster, a music historian and soprano: ‘Franz LISZTa famous unknown.’ As we did last season with Verdi, Musical Evenings at la Ballue is offering a special package, a lecture and concert with the same theme. In 2014, we honor Franz Liszt, opening the 2014 musical season with this lecture which will include several musical excerpts. The lecture is also the lead-in to the concert, Rendezvous with Franz Liszt on Sunday April 13.

Admission to the lecture is 12€ (reduced price 7,50 €)



> Sunday March 23 at 3:30 PM.

By the Ensemble A 2 VIOLES EGALES
In the salons of the 17th century Château de la Ballue.
A soirée at the Palais Royal is a production created by the Ensemble A 2 VIOLES EGALES, combining poetry, music and the gastronomy of the “Grand siècle.”

Isabelle Desrochers, soprano and speaker
Thomas Dunford, lute and theorbo
Sylvia Abramowicz, viola da gamba
Jonathan Dunford, viola da gamba

In the middle of the 17th century, the poet Paul Scarron had a salon in Paris. In attendance were poets, musicians … and a lot of good wine was served! The Ensemble A 2 VIOLES EGALES offers an afternoon of pleasure, including poetry, music and gastronomy in the manner of those long-ago Parisian salons. Includes music by Sainte Colombe, Marais, Dubuisson. Vocal works by Lambert, Bacilly and Couperin. Texts by Scarron, La Fontaine and Molière.

Web site: Click here !

Tickets 30 € (15 € reduced price).
The concert will take place in the exceptional acoustic spaces of the salons of the château. A tasting will follow. Seating is limited and reservations are required.


– A WHITE GARDEN IN APRIL : a blanket of white blossoms in the gardens beginning in March and April. 25,000 crocus bulbs, narcissus and tulips, a collection of magnolias and clematis … illuminating the entire garden.

– THE BLUE OF MAY : the dazzling colours and the heavenly scents of the sculptured wisteria walk. (from April 20).

Regular admission fees.
Spring is a magical, unique moment to discover the gardens as they awaken and begin to bloom, with the wafting freshness of the gardens’ wide range of greens, punctuated with masses of flowers.


■ April – CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERT “Rendezvous with Liszt”

> Sunday April 13 at 3:00 PM.

By the Ensemble Lyric Armor
Following the lecture on March 8, we present this concert, an opportunity to hear this magnificent composer.
A rare recital, combining piano, voice and a speaker, in a presentation offering originality and quality.
Liszt, a giant among composers, has been sorely overlooked of late. Some of his works are almost never performed although they are beautiful and emotionally intense: his lieder. This recital consists of ten of Liszt’s lieder, among his most powerful, using texts by three of the great German poets, Goethe, Schiller and Heine.
And between the pieces, Franz Liszt, as performed by Gil Kether, will speak about himself and his era, presenting the pieces with an anecdote or a few verses … Many personal quotes of Liszt’s have been inserted in the text.

This exceptional programme will be performed by:
– Nicole Kuster, soprano (
– Thibaut Guillois, piano (
– Gil Kether, récitant (

YouTube excerpt of the concert: : Click here !

Reservations are strongly suggested for this concert, which will take place on Sunday April 13, 2014 at 3:00 PM in the salons of the Château de la Ballue.
Tickets 30 € (reduced price 15 €).



■ April – EASTER at La Ballue

> Sunday April 20 and Monday April 21.

Welcome to Easter in Alice’s Wonderland, with a real Easter Egg hunt for visitors young and old, a croquet game following in Alice’s footsteps and those of the White Rabbit, through the thirteen marvelous surprises of the garden- maze. A delightful event, and of course there will be chocolate for the children!

The children will receive an illustrated guide created specially for them. We also invite all children to come in disguise.

Regular admission fees.
Events running nonstop throughout the two days.
Free for children under 12.




> Saturday May 3 and Sunday May 4.

An exceptional series of events, timed to coincide with the full flowering of the gardens – and it’s all for a great cause! Each paid admission to the garden includes a 2€ contribution to the FRC, to help with research on diseases affecting the brain.
This event features a magnificent time during the annual cycle of these gardens, its high point being the wisteria in full bloom, the glorious greens of the topiary and the lushness of the arbours and groves.

Special hours: from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM over the two days.

Special ticket prices including the charitable contribution: 10,50 € for adults, 8,50 € reduced price tickets, and admission is free for children under 10.



■ May – ”Topiary, Art and Mannerism” Weekend

> Saturday May 24 and Sunday May 25.

The gardening event of La Ballue!
For its sixth edition, this unique event allows visitors to observe demonstrations of pruning and the creation of topiaries in the gardens of La Ballue.
Three of our gardeners will demonstrate their considerable skill, showing some of the techniques they use to prune and sculpt our many bushes, shrubs and trees. A range of these tools, along with an explanation of their use and maintenance will be available for viewing in the “tool” workshop.
Hubert Puzenat, the architect of the gardens and a topiary specialist, will create topiary sculptures in person. He will also be signing copies of his book, The Art of Topiary, published by Editions Rustica.
A lecture on topiary art will be given at 3:00 PM on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. And the topiaries themselves will be available for purchase!
There will also be a presentation and signing of the book on the Gardens of La Ballue: ‘Variations on a garden,’ published by Editions P.H. Verlhac, with the photographs of Yann Monel and texts by Marianne Niermans.
And the presentation of the detailed maquette of the gardens and topiaries created by Jacques Hennequin.

Regular admission fees. Events all day long./span>




> Saturday May 31 and Sunday May 1

With the theme, “The child in the garden.”
National days of celebration proposed by the French Ministry of Culture, for grand festivities in all French gardens. For these two days, the gardens will be open from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
The playful yet labyrinthine guided visit of the Gardens of La Ballue, inspired by the baroque Italian gardens of the 17th century, is particularly appealing to children. In fact, we offer a special brochure just for them. This booklet, both fun and educational, allows them to discover the gardens and their architecture, botany and topiary, and the environmental management of the entire estate. There is one booklet for children under 9 and another one for older children. All those who read and fill out their brochures will be rewarded.

And also :
– A presentation and signing of the new book on the gardens of La Ballue, published in April 2012: Variations on a garden, published by Editions P.H. Verlhac, with photographs by Yann Monel and texts by Marianne Niermans.
– A presentation of the detailed maquette of the gardens created by Jacques Hennequin: we will also speak about the creators of the gardens of La Ballue, the avant-garde architects Paul Maymont and François-Hébert Stevens.
– Special opening for school groups, Friday May 30. Schools may contact the proprietors of La Ballue for group educational visits, which must be reserved in advance..

For the entire weekend, regular admission fees.
Free for children under 12.




> Sunday June 15 at 3:00 PM.

With the Duo Emilie Gastaud and Matteo Cesari.
We are thrilled to present this exceptional concert featuring the young and talented harpist Emilie Gastaud, nominated for the 2013 Classical Victoires de la Musique (French music awards). She is a co-soloist in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio-France and was recently also named a super soloist in the National Orchestra of France.
She will be playing with the flute soloist Matteo Cesari, the winner of many international competitions.

– Web site : et
– Facebook :

Tickets full price 30 € (15 € reduced price).
The concert will take place in the exceptional acoustic spaces of the salons of the château Seating is limited and reservations are required.




> 3rd edition, Saturday June 28 and Sunday June 29.

The extraordinary choreographic adventure Extension sauvage continues its third edition in 2014 in the gardens of La Ballue.
The first edition of the Extension Sauvage Festival in 2012 at La Ballue, and the second edition in 2013, were nationally publicised events and were a great success. The idea was to place contemporary dance into a landscape, into nature. The Figure Project, an association created by the dancer and choreographer Latifa Lâabissi, offered the “Extension sauvage” programme, a choreographic adventure in a rural setting, planned for three years in the villages of Combourg, Bonnemain, Hédé and Bazouges-la-Pérouse. During the year, workshops for adults and children are organised to introduce different choreographic practices, in and outside of a school setting.
June 28 and 29, 2014, in its third edition, the Extension Sauvage Festival returns to theChâteau de la Ballue to present over the two days and on the Saturday night major works from dance history as well as more recent works. Choreographers and dancers from around the world have been invited to attend. Some performances will be given in the Green Theatre, an entirely plant-based theatrical space and a feature of the Gardens of La Ballue. Throughout the day, dance performances will take place in different areas of the garden, and historicaldance films will be screened in the château.

Visit the festival website :
Video of the 2012 Festival :

Special ticket prices (specific to the Festival), to be confirmed:
– Full price: 13 euros
– Reduced price (10-18 years old, students, unemployed): 8 euros
– Free for children under 10
– Group rate (10 or more people): 8 euros per person
(Allows for access to the gardens, to all performances and the festival bar).




> Sunday July 20, 6:30 PM

New HANDEL work: La Servante Maîtresse de Pergolèse et la Querelle des Bouffons.

ARMA initiated the performance of the entire oeuvre of Henry Purcell as part of the Summer Operas in Brittany, beginning in 2002. Frédérique Chauvet and his artists offer audiences vibrant, modern pieces of powerful artistic integrity.
Since then Fairy Queen, A Tempest, King Arthur, the Best of Purcell and Queen Mary have confirmed the expertise of Frédérique Chauvet and his BarokOpera Amsterdam in this exceptional genre of music. Gluck’s L’Ivrogne corrigé and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro were also wonderful pieces, reaching large and enthusiastic audiences.
Four singers and six musicians play, sing and guide the spectator with narrative, dramatic and humourous texts in French. And this year, Arma is offering us Handel’s: La Servante Maîtresse de Pergolèse (The Servant turned Mistress by Pergolesi) and la Querelle des Bouffons (Quarrel of the Comic Actors).

The artistic concept :
The colourful personnage of the composer George Frideric Handel is the theme for this piece which bounces around Europe, allowing us to observe the musical rivalry between the French and Italian styles. It came to a head with the Querelle des Bouffons when a performance of Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona provoked a literary firestorm. Beyond the complete performance of this brilliant, joyous piece, the evening will also feature pieces by Handel, Lully and Rameau.
The success of The Best of Purcell and more recently Queen Mary, gave the company the idea of creating two new programmes in the same vein in 2014 and 2015. This particular kind of creation, opera and musical theatre, has also been extremely popular with audiences and critics alike.
Having traveled through the second half of the 17th century with Best of Purcell and Queen Mary, the 2014 production will deal with the period from 1702 to 1760: little by little music has opened up, it is no longer reserved only for the monarchy. New musical forms emerge to amuse the bourgeoisie in its constant social climbing.
It is Handel himself will be at the eenter of the work. We begin where Queen Mary ended in 1702, with the death of William III, the “placeholder” who became King of England. In a wink to Purcell, the piece begins with one of Purcell’s last odes, the one composed for the presumed successor to the throne of England. Then we are at the Court of Queen Anne, where Handel, who has just composed his first Italian opera, Rinaldo, is adored. The first half of the 18th century was dominated in Europe by the musical rivalry between the French and Italian styles, climaxing with the “Querelle des Bouffons” in Paris from 1750 to 1752. Passionate pamphlets were exchanged between the partisans of the conservative French style of Rameau and Lully, with their affected, elitist Lyric Tragedies, opposed to those espousing the Italian style, whose opera buffa, Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona would be the chosen symbol. The Italian style is defined as a more natural style, close to the people. And the bourgeois were participating more and more in the musical world as either spectators or sponsors, and their young daughters were learning to sing or playing chamber music …
In the first part, the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht will be mentioned, an important European event which marked the end of the wars of Louis XIV. Sections of Handel’s Te Deum and the Grands Motets of Rameau, which were composed for the event, will be played. After that an excerpt of Armide, Lully’s masterpiece, will be played, a piece that was reprised in 1715 in the Hague, one of the only cities in the Netherlands where opera was not prohibited.
The second part will begin with Handel’s Serenade, composed in 1734 to amuse the crowds during the marriage of William IV to Anne of Hanover, Princess of England. And then the complete opera buffa, Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona.

Frédérique CHAUVET, musical direction – Sybrand VAN DER WERF, theatrical direction – Jorine VAN KEEK, costumes and props
– Soloists: Wendy ROOBOL, soprano – Caroline CARTENSGunther VANDEVEN, counter-tenor – Jost VAN VALZEN, tenor – Pieter HENDRIKS, baritone
– Musicians of the ensemble BarokOpéra Amsterdam (baroque instruments) : Frédérique CHAUVET, flute – Will WROTH, baroque trumpet – Jan Pieter VAN COOLWIJK, violin – Beto CASERIO, oboe – Robert SMITH, bass violin – Claude MENEUX POIZAT, harpsichord & organ

Tickets 30 € full price, 15 € students, 10-18 years old, free for children under 10.
Performed OUTSIDE, weather permitting, in the great courtyard of the Château de la Ballue.




> August 5 at 6:00 PM

by the Jazz Opéra Quartet… or when the soloists from the Paris Opera take on the great jazz classics!!
A concert to remember …
With Françoise Auvity on piano, Pierre Martel on the violin, Guy-Joël Cipriani on percussion and Axel Salles on bass.
They will be performing the Suite for violin, piano, percussion and bass by Claude Bolling, excerpts of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a percussion improv by Guy-Joël Cipriani, and other surprises …

Tickets:30 € full price, 15 € for students and those 10-18, free for children under 10.
Performed OUTSIDE, weather permitting, in the great courtyard of the Château de la Ballue.




> September 20 and 21

The theme of this 31st edition will be: Cultural Patrimony, natural patrimony.
On September 20 and 21, the Gardens and the Château de la Ballue, a 17th Century Historical Monument, will participate in this celebration of national patrimony. This medieval site in the zone called Les Marches de Bretagne has received the protection and label of Historical Monument, including the entire 17th century château, its interior and its gardens.
In addition to a tour of the gardens and the grounds of the château, the owners of the château will personally conduct guided tours of the interior.
We will also be presenting the troubadours and musicians of the LA MÉNESTRAUDIE ensemble, an early music group from the Music School of Betton, accompanied by the dancers of the company Les Fous gèrent.« Les Fous gèrent ».
Special hours for this event: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM without interruption.

Regular admission fees.



■ December – CHRISTMAS CONCERT : «DVORAK or Czech romanticism»

> December 7

featuring soloists from the Paris Opera.
This December concert is the success of the season
This chamber music concert features talented musicians, notably Pierre Martel, a violin soloist and viola soloist in the Paris Opera orchestra, Lise and Sophie Martel on violin and cello and Françoise Auvity on the piano.