1. A very private concert
In Normandy, 87-year-old opera lover André Junement received a home visit to remember when his beloved Rouen Symphony Orchestra played an exclusive concert at his retirement home.
The idea for the concert came from violinist Héléna Chesneau who, after noticing that André did not attend the orchestra’s January performances, decided to organise a special show for the loyal fan and his companions at the Les roses des sables retirement home.
Mr Junement has been a member of Rouen Opera House since he was seven years old, and called the theatre his “second home”.
2. Eco story takes first prize
The inaugural Ecology Novel Prize, awarded to a French-language novel that, through its story, contributes to raising awareness of ecological issues, has been won by Emmanuelle Pagano for her book Saufs riverains about man’s relationship with water.
The book, second in a trilogy, describes the flooding of the Salagou valley in the Hérault, where the author’s grandfather owned two small vineyards that are now totally under water.
“By creating this apolitical and transgenerational prize, our aim was to highlight a rich literary genre and a new way of approaching ecological issues,” said Lucile Schmid, co-founder of the Association behind the literary prize.
3. First female winner of The Voice
17-year-old singer Maëlle has become the first female winner of TF1’s primetime singing talent show The Voice. She is also the youngest ever winner.
The schoolgirl from Tournus, Saône-et-Loire (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté), was the only girl remaining in the competition and despite suffering from a sore throat, she reduced the programme’s ‘coaches’ to tears with her rendition of Harry Styles’ hit Sign of the Times.
The student was meant to be at school during the final week of the competition but told Télé-Loisirs that her friends brought notes for her instead. “They came to the semi-final,” she said, “and brought all of my school work. I am lucky to have them!”
4. East is best
East Asian films were the toast of Cannes film festival this year, with Japanese drama Shoplifters the surprise winner of the Palme d’Or for best feature.
However, two other films were the talk of the Croisette. South Korean drama Burning, which topped Cannes 2018’s magazine, Screen’s jury grid with an all-time record score of 3.8 out of 4, while Franco-Argentine bad-boy Gaspar Noe’s Climax had critics at once marvelling and recoiling at his deranged depiction of drug-fuelled dancing.
5. Sardou exits the stage
French singing stalwart Michel Sardou signed off in tears at the end of his last ever concert, held at La Seine Musicale (Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris) to round off an 81-date farewell tour.
Clearly overcome with emotion, the singer’s farewell did not go exactly according to plan. When singing curtain-closer Les lacs du Connemara, he forgot the words, before stopping his band and apologising to the crowd: “Can you believe it? I’ve sung that song a thousand times and I forget the words in my last concert.”