What happens if you bring a grand piano to a lake? Well, you get the utterly poetic concert tour of ‘Le PianO du Lac’. Created in 2015, this open-air piano concert chooses the most impressive water sites in France and Spain as the setting for its performances. Lakes, rivers, canals, harbours all become outdoor theatres, turning the water’s surface into a natural stage for a floating piano. Or two floating pianos, in the case of the 2019 edition.
Le PianO du Lac settles down like a travelling circus in this region every year, during the summer months. Although the project is self-sufficient, it cannot exist without the participation of its audience. You can buy a ticket beforehand and pay as much as you like. The suggested price is 10 euros per person, which I think is more than reasonable for such an imaginative and beautiful piano concert. To date, they have played 310 performances for over 90,000 spectators in some of the most extraordinary scenographic sites. You could say it is a big success!
Chéri and I went to the concert at the Barrage des Olivettes just outside the village of Vailhan in the Hérault department. It was already so fun to see everybody walking to the beach, where the concert would take place. Some of the spectators were very well prepared and had packed folding chairs, picnics and bottles of wine. In the meantime, we could admire the piano-turned-catamaran from closeup. Quite an ingenious construction to make a grand piano float!
The concert started at 19h00, just before sunset so we could still clearly see the artists. Alice Rosset and Jean-Cristophe Kotsiras of the floating piano’s duo ‘Hasinakis’ treated us with to the enchanting sounds of well-known composers, as well as their own compositions. Their final piece of music was Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, played on their romantically lit pianos, which magically blended into the fallen darkness. After a bit more than an hour, the concert was over, but the entertainment continued. It has become a PianO du Lac tradition to invite the audience to mount the floating pianos themselves and give it a go. I could only remember how to play ‘Für Elise’ so I didn’t dare, but some beautiful sounds rose up from the lake. If you get the chance to see a concert, I highly recommend going!