Baroque melodies, Gershwin classics, Latin American rhythms and chamber music treasures at Paris' sumptuous Palais Garnier; the legendary tenor Rolando Villazón and violin virtuoso Renaud Capuçon presented a spellbinding and wide-ranging journey for the third and final concert of the Rolex Perpetual Music series.
The performances have been in support of the world of music that's been so affected by the pandemic.
Renaud says it's been an essential series in that regard` - and in many other ways:
"All these young artists have been deprived of playing concerts and now they get the opportunity to play on this sublime stage surrounded by musicians more well known, like me or Rolando.
"They are at a stage where they're taking off and I think that now is the that we should support them."
Rolando says the response from those artists has been fantastic:
"It was very touching, the response. But above all, (there was) huge enthusiasm: 'Yes, let's do music together. This is fantastic'.
“One of them almost burst into tears and said 'you just saved me from trying to find another job because that's it, I need to start bringing food on the table'.
Among the artists Rolando Villazón selected for the concert are the members of the early music ensemble L'Arpeggiata, performing some baroque gems, including Monteverdi's ancient story of "Orpheus".
Rolando is passionate about Monteverdi:
"When I encountered Monteverdi, it literally changed my life, just like Mozart. When you sing Monteverdi, you cannot only sing - you have to be an artist.
"You have to tell a story. You have to say the words - and give meaning to the words.
"I love Palais Garnier. It's a magical place, to see the Chagall painting up there (on the ceiling) and to be part of the tradition, the history of this extraordinary, gorgeous, historic place is very special.“
Renaud Capuçon is similarly passionate about the Richard Strauss inclusion:
"I'm madly in love with the music of Richard Strauss. 'Morgen' ('Tomorrow') is a completely luminous piece that seems to fly. It feels like when you play it, as if you are sailing over water.“
Both of these celebrated artists have a strong message of hope - Renaud says, in that sense, Perpetual Music has been vital:
"Everybody has been impacted during this period. We have to draw inspiration from what we have been through and look to the future.
"We have to stick together and show solidarity. I think that's important, but I would like to say to all musicians: 'smile!' The stage will be ours again soon.“
"Perpetual Music is a huge project because it is a sign towards the world to say: 'people, this is extremely important and it needs help'.
'Art and music and classical music is not an accessory, it's not something about which we say: 'well, this is not important'.
"No: classical music, art: it's really essential.”
You can watch the whole concert on Medici.TV