Seeking out new audiences and fresh talent, the Paris Opera is launching a three-year outreach programme in French Guiana that aims to make it easier for people in the overseas department to pursue careers in opera and ballet.
"Geographic distance must not be an insurmountable obstacle to see performances, or to imagine embarking on a career as a dancer, opera signer or musician," says Alexander Neef, director of the company based at the historic Palais Garnier in Paris.
Launched at the end of November, "L'Opéra en Guyane" (Opera in Guiana) aims to bridge some of that distance between the French capital and French Guiana, some 7,000 km across the Atlantic from mainland France on the coast of South America.
Over the next three years, the programme will see the Paris Opera put on performances and workshops in French Guiana in the hope of expanding its reach – and recruiting new talent.
The overseas department has a rich culture and a strong dance tradition, says Myriam Mazouzi, director of the Paris Opera's Academy, which delivers training in ballet, opera and stagecraft.
France's most famous opera will therefore take its performers onto stages and into schools in French Guiana, Mazouzi explains.
The core of the programme will consist of offering training for those seeking a career in culture.
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